Monday, November 26, 2007

Flattered or furious?

I noticed an huge increase in traffic to my website over the weekend. I've been getting a steady amount of hits since the featured artist gig at SCBWI. I do notice a jump when I have a hot post here on my blog, but nothing like this. So at first I'm thinking someone linked my website on theirs, but the stat counter wasn't showing a referring link. Then I thought I'd just keep my eyes open, I'd come across the reason eventually.

But my continuing curiosity got the better of me and I decided to do a Google search. Look at what I came up with! I don't know if I should be flattered or furious! Ok, I leaning toward furious. I clearly have the copyright notice and "These images may not be used without permission." on my website, my blog, and my online portfolio. I was not contacted at any time by this artist (yeah, artist...shouldn't an artist know better?) My name is listed on the index page (with the wrong title for the piece) but it is not to be found anywhere on this page! Look familiar?

What do you think I need to do? Any other artists out there having to deal with this? How did you handle it? Did anyone from Redwood City see this at the festival?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Remember the Cybils

Have you voted for your favorite children's book yet? There's still time! Go to he Cybils blog and be heard! The Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards give the public the chance to nominate their favorite children's books from 2007.

Nominations close at midnight Chicago time on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Monday, November 19, 2007

And the winners are...

Drum roll please!

Annie Bailey for

Karen Lee for


Remember auction one of Robert’s Snow: for Cancer's Cure starts today. You'll find both Chris and Jennifer's snowflake there. Happy bidding!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Contest Countdown

What a great time it's been reading all about the illustrators who donated their time and talent to creating the wonderful snowflakes for Robert’s Snow: for Cancer's Cure. If you want to catch up on any artists you may have missed you can view the complete list of features here. Thanks so much to Jules and Eisha fron 7-imp for organizing this effort.

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a free copy of the following books!

Sam Bennett's New Shoes, ©2006 Jennifer Thermes

© 2004 - 2007 Chris Gall.

To enter the contest just leave a comment on the post featuring that illustrator by Monday morning. I will have the drawing at noon on Monday, the first day of the Robert's Snow Auction.

Jennifer Thermes
Chris Gall

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Behind the Snowflakes-Up Close and Personal

It's been fun following, Blogging for a Cure 2007 with over 70 bloggers highlighting many of the beautiful snowflakes created by children’s book illustrators as part of Robert’s Snow: for Cancer's Cure. You can still visit the handful of artists featured each day, and get to know each one of them up close and personal. Remember you can bid on your own original art snowflake while helping to fight cancer.

Today I have the privilege of featuring another author and illustrator and snowflake creator Chris Gall! (You can read about the first artist I featured here.) This is a special privilege for me since Chris is one of the illustrators I find my inspiration in. He is one creative guy with a keen eye for detail. Chris Gall is a direct descendant of Katharine Lee Bates author of America the Beautiful, the classic poem and anthem. He has worked with clients all over the world including Time, Newsweek, Money, and National Lampoon, to name just a few. Be sure to visit his website!

Interview with Chris Gall

First let me congratulate you for being selected in this year's Original Art Show at the New York Society of Illustrators. How many times before have you made it into the show?

I was just in New York for the show. It was great fun! My publisher, Little Brown, threw a party. They don’t usually do that. New York is the place to be if you are in illustration or publishing. All three of my books have been in the show. Although only one illustration is displayed, the jury makes their decision on the book as a whole.

How did you become involved in Robert’s Snow and what was your inspiration for your snowflake, “Dinoflake”?

I got a call from Grace Lin. I knew it was for a good cause but at the time I didn’t know a lot about the project, after some checking I found it was a great conglomeration of illustrators. For my snowflake I wanted to do something different, that’s the way I approach all of my art. So I went with something in contrast to the expected imagery, yet not too random, Santa Dino!

Who had the most influence on your work?

As a kid, no question, Maurice Sendak. My grandmother was friends with him. She owned a small bookstore and he would visit. I would get gifts and signed books from him. As an adult I would have to say my influences come form Chris Van Allsburg and David Wiesner.

What is your all-time favorite picture book?

Where the Wild Things are.

How did the project for your first book, America the Beautiful, come about?

After spending a long time as a commercial illustrator, doing magazine and editorial work it became dry, not so rewarding. I decided I wanted to do children’s books. Even with success as an illustrator elsewhere, it’s hard to break into publishing, so I was looking for a pitch. Something that would interest a publisher. My family kept asking me to illustrate America the Beautiful-I am the great grand-nephew of Katharine Lee Bates—the poem’s author, and after 9-11, I felt the need to do just that. So I put together a proposal and sent it to friends, who sent it to friends, until it ended up in my agents hands. I still have that agent today.

Are the original hand written lyrics on display now?

The family has one of the hand-written copies of the lyrics.

You are the writer and illustrator for your last two books. For you, which comes first, the pictures or the words?

The manuscript first. Always. The industry is biased toward the story not the art. You have to have a strong story. They buy the manuscript. I will include some sample art along with the manuscript when I send it.

You have such a unique style, tell us a little bit about your illustrative process.

I start with thumbnails, sketches, layouts, tracings, and composition. I spend the most time on composition. Then I do a black and white engraving on clay board, kind of like a woodcut. Then it’s scanned and colored in Illustrator. 75-80% of the color is done on the computer. I might then use Photoshop too to move elements or make any changes.

There’s Nothing to do on Mars is due to be released early next year. This book seems like it will help fill the void in picture books for boys, do you have more like it planned for the future?

Yes! I definitely want to fill that void. Early in my career I walked into a bookstore to research the current state of pictures books, and I couldn’t find much that I (with my 7 year old hat on) wanted to actually read. I was determined to create books that I would like if I were a young boy. Of course, girls are always welcome too!

With such a busy schedule, do you still find time to do stand-up comedy? (You curious readers can see what I’m talking about on his bio.)

Oh, I retired from that four years ago. I toured, I was in an improve group, but it was too exhausting. It’s a serious business! But it did give me public speaking experience. If you’re used to dealing with 300 drunk, rowdy, chain-smoking strangers on a late Friday night—all of whom are convinced they are funnier than you are—then entertaining a few 3rd graders is a piece of cake.

Thank you Chris for letting us get to know more about you! His Grandmother was friends with Maurice Sendak, how cool is that! As a special treat I will be giving away a copy of Dear Fish to one lucky reader of this blog. That's right! Just post a reply on this post and your name will go into a drawing. The winner will be selected on the first day of the auction. (You can find the auction details here.)

All images © 2004 - 2007 Chris Gall.

Be sure to check out the other snowflakes being featured today:

Sunday, November 11

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New Look!

Now that I've learned my way around blogger I decided it was time to get a custom look. As a designer I was really having a problem with my masthead not being totally unique. Problem solved! To go along with the new look here, I put together a "sister" blog, studio gmw. It will highlight one style from my portfolio. (Stylized realism.) I'll keep the link to this online portfolio, in my sidebar. Take a look!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Rejection, It's Nothing Personal

They say not to take it personal, it's just business, one person's opinion, a tough market, a slow season, not the right match, not suited to their needs, yet as you read your rejection letter, you realize it is just that. Pure and simple. Whether a form or a personal letter, it's still a rejection.

This is how you are supposed to feel when rejection hits. You are supposed to feel rejected!

Which got me thinking, what does it mean when you don't take it personal, when it doesn't bother you, when you just check them off the list and move on? When your heart doesn't sink while looking at your own SASE in your mailbox. This seems to be where I'm at and I wonder, is this a good thing? Does this mean I'm looking at submission from a professional stand point or does it mean the long, drawn out process of submitting is starting to wear me down?

I'd love to hear from others on this one. How do you get that feeling back where, whenever you send out a submission, you think "This is the one!"

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Snowflakes Abound Week Four

Where to find this week's Illustrators. (Be sure to come back here this Sunday for an Up Close and Personal interview with Chris Gall!)

Monday, November 5

Tuesday, November 6

Wednesday, November 7

Thursday, November 8

Friday, November 9

Saturday, November 10

Sunday, November 11

And remember to stop by 7-imp too! Each day they will be featuring an artist who created a snowflake, but didn't have it finished when Blogging for a Cure started.

Just around the corner: Bidding for the snowflakes in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift and supports an important cause.