Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Vacation!

Sorry about the break from the Friday Studio Tours this summer. I guess that's what happens when you're on summer vacation! Please look for the tours to begin when school starts in the fall. Yes, I said fall. I'm going old school here and will be back to posting tours after Labor Day. So look for the next Friday Studio Link post on Friday September 5th. Before then, I might even get a chance to do a post about how I spent my summer vacation!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Studio Links Featuring...

The Studio of Molly Idle

It's a privilege for me to take you on a tour today of the studio of Caldecott Honor winning author/illustrator Molly Idle. (Yes! I said Caldecott Honor!) Molly has illustrated over 16 picture books, and has created (written and illustrated) two characters destined to become classics - Rex (from Tea Rex and Camp Rex) and Flora (from Flora and the Flamingo and the soon to be released Flora and the Penguin.) Click on the book covers below to see more about each book.

Hot Off the Press

 2014 Caldecott Honor Book

I've had the pleasure of knowing Molly for more than eight years. We have a bit in common. We both live in Arizona. We both work in Color Pencil. And her backyard is home to her very own studio too!

Molly is just as fun and down to earth as her books are. Plus, she likes to share! Back in 2007 she offered her studio up for a workshop with art director Tim Gillner and more than a dozen other illustrators. Yes, her studio is big enough to host workshops!


Before heading over to her studio for a close-up tour, how about a few questions for Molly?

Whats your favorite color? (It’s okay, if you don't say pink!)
My favorite color changes all the time, depending on what I’m working on. Right now I’m deeply enamored of a lovely retro shade of sea-foam green. 

How many pencils did it take to complete Camp Rex? (It’s okay if you guess!) 
No comment. (I’ll be hosting a book giveaway soon that will address this very question…)

More numbers. 
I notice you have quite a collection of picture books! 
How many do you own? 
(You don't really have to count. An estimate will do.)
Judging by shelf space: Far too many.
Judging by how many wonderful books there are out in the world: Not nearly enough! 

If you had to use something other than color pencil, what medium would you choose?

What’s the favorite thing about your studio?
The people I share it with.

My whole family utilizes the workshop: My Dad, an inventor, can be found building prototypes here. My Mom, an actress,  holds improv workshops here. My husband, Steve, builds ship models here. And our boys come here to do their homework and help me make messes. It’s very much a family affair in the Idle workshop! But for now, I’ll just show you my part…
My prized rubber chicken.

A few books, books, books…

 You can see, I like to keep up to date- 
using the very latest in technology…

 A few things you can never have enough of: 
celebratory drinks, printer ink, and storage space.

Can you ever have too many pencils? I submit that you cannot.


  My desk...

Thank you Molly for being so good at sharing!

Want to learn more about Molly?
You'll find some more fun interviews at the following links.
Teen Penguin
Nerdy Book Club

You can see a great trailer for Camp Rex at this link.
Watch. Connect. Read.

Check back on the first Friday of each month for a new Studio Tour. 

Follow this link to see previous Studio Tours.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Studio Links - BiG News


Last week my art "Time to Wish" that went to Italy won an honorable mention at the Bologna Children's Book Fair! The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators proudly presented a gallery of images from 34 of it's members as part of the 2014 SCBWI Bologna Showcase. At the fair one winner and 4 honorable mentions were announced for this BiG (Bologna Illustrators Gallery) award.

Time to Wish

I was in great company along with the winner Dorothea Rohner, and three other honorable mentions - Kris Sexton, Ingrid Kallick, and Tanja Wooten. Can you imagine having your artwork show up on the BiG screen at such an enormous event? It would have been amazing to be there, but since I wasn't, here's the next best thing. Check out the links and you can virtually be there too. Thank you everyone for the photos and videos!

In this link from an article in Publisher's Weekly, you can get an idea of just how big and exciting this event is!

The SCBWI Booth with Dueling Illustrators

The SCBWI Booth with the BiG Posters

And in case you haven't seen enough, here's a link to the Bologna Book Fair Photogallery with tons of very cool images.

And a fun video that shows the scope of how BiG the fair really was.

Friday, March 7, 2014

BIG Opportunity and Perseverance

I have something BIG going on! Looks like I'm going to Italy. My art that is! I've been selected to be featured in the SCBWI 2014 "Bologna Illustrators’ Gallery." My piece "Time to Wish" will be displayed on the showcase booth walls at The Bologna book Fair.

This leads me to thinking about perseverance in this business and the art of never giving up. That's a hard thing to do when you've spent years chasing a dream. Sometimes receiving encouragement, other times rejection. Then more rejection. Then the rejection turns into a no response, because the business practices have changed, and a no response means rejection. (But in the back of your mind you think there still might be hope - maybe they just haven't gotten back to you yet?) Then you get a good critique, a featured spot, or even a rejection letter with a positive note. And you think just maybe you can make this dream happen.

Someone recently gave me some very sound advice. We were discussing the need to look for a paying job or to continue putting everything you've got into following this dream. She asked me "Which one would leave you with regrets?" Years from now would I regret most not taking a menial job or giving up on publishing?

And that leads me to Bologna. I'm not going to give up. I just got a kick in the butt to remind me of what I want and what this particular piece means to me. This piece is from my heart. It's from a story I started a long time ago and "cut my teeth on" in this business. It not the same story it was when I first wrote it (or for that matter first illustrated it.) It has grown along with me. It's been written many times, revised many times, and sent out many times. Then shelved.

I've worked on other things since then. I started new picture book projects, I've illustrated books for other writers, I even started writing a novel of my own. Recently an Art Directer reviewed my portfolio and told me this piece showed how much I loved working on it. So I pulled it out from the dark drawer again, made more revisions and decided it's good. The writing is good. The concept is good. I think I got this. I think it's time to start shopping this story...again.

Please Note: This month's Friday Studio Links has been delayed. Check back next Friday for more information.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Studio Links

By now you all know who the big ALSC winners were this week at the ALA conference, but have you seen where they work? In honor of the Caldecott winning illustrators, this month's Friday Studio Tours take you inside the studios of the 2014 winners.

2014 Caldecott Medal Winner
Locomotive, illustrated by Brian Floca

2014 Caldecott Honor Books
Journey, written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
Flora and the Flamingo, written and illustrated by Molly Idle
Mr. Wuffles! written and illustrated by David Wiesner

Follow the links to learn more!

The titles above will take you to a review of the book, the illustrator names above will lead you to their website, and - of course - below each photo you will find a link to more cool details on their workspace, with interviews. Enjoy! And a big congratulations to all of the winners.

Brian Floca


  Studio and Interview

 Aaron Becker


Molly Idle


  Studio and Interview


David Wiesner

 Studio and Interview

Update: Just came across this great blog post with lots more links to videos, photos, and interviews from the Caldecott winners.Check it out. It's a must read! Watch. Connect. Read.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Studio Links- Building My Studio

Starting off the New Year with an old tour. Since I claim to be a Jack-of-All-Trades I thought I'd show one of them. You probably wouldn't guess, but I secretly always wanted to be an architect. Since I didn't become one, I fulfill this need with architectural projects. Here is the biggest one so far. I drew the plans and worked with the city. My husband built it and I helped where I could. Check out some construction shots from when we built my studio.


Later, I will have a post of what it looks like today, but I'll need to do some cleaning first! Until then here is a sneak peek of my bookshelf.

Links? Well, follow this, which will lead you to a few other posts that show the studio.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

I don't have a lot of art from when I was a kid. There's no "here is the first book I wrote and illustrated." Not too many drawings or paintings. But I do have a few "project" pieces that I treasure. One of those projects came from when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Christmas ornaments!

They still hang on my tree. (So do the ones my sister made. As I got older I always pointed out how much nicer mine were than hers. But then again, she was only 5 when we made them. And hers are still displayed along side of mine, on my tree.)

I marvel at the fact they have held up over all these years. You see, they were made out of Elmer's Glue with food coloring, and navy beans, and other embellishments. And we live in Phoenix. (We can melt candles in the summer without lighting them. Just leave them in the garage or outside.)

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is decorating the tree. Each ornament bringing along a memory or story from the past.

Merry Christmas!