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Tag: artwork

RHYMES WITH SCHOOL!

05.07.14

Things have been crazy busy: I’m working on illustrations for a Mem Fox book called A Cat Called Kite (Beach Lane Books), I’m working on text revises for a book I’m writing and illustrating called Big Choo (Scholastic), Trisha Speed Shaskan (my awesome and fabulous wife) and I sold a book to Harper Collins called Punk Skunks, we have been teaching classes together at local libraries on how to create comic characters, and we have both been doing school visits: sometimes together!

This post is going to focus on all the fantastic school visits I’ve done since February.

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EARLE BROWN ELEMENTARY

In early February, I went to Earle Brown Elementary. They asked me to create a presentation for nine classes of Kindergarteners (three 30 minute presentations) about illustrating. This sparked panic and inspiration. I had to really think about how I approach illustration, how that approach relates globally, and how I can teach this to Kindergarteners in 30 minutes. I decided to focus on the combination of words and pictures, and how they relate to each other in picture books. The words telling part of the story and the pictures telling another part. I gave examples of the text in my own work and then showed the pictures that went with the text. By having kids answer the questions of who, what, where, and when we were able figure out what parts of the story were being told by just the pictures.

I continue to use this presentation at different schools.

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Presenting at Earle Brown Elementary. Reading the beginning of THE THREE TRICERATOPS TUFF without showing the picture.

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Creating an illustration for “a dog sitting on a log.” Who? The dog. What? Sitting on a log. Where? The forest. When? Fall during the day.

SPRING HILL ELEMENTARY

While visiting my parents in Weeki Wachee, Florida, Trisha and I did a school visit at Spring Hill Elementary. My mom volunteers at the school as a Reading Buddy. We received a warm welcome from Media Specialist, Sue Timberlake, and the kids were super excited!

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A BIG Spring Hill Elementary Welcome!

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Trisha presenting to the 4th and 5th graders!

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Getting the K and 1st graders up and moving!

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Me, the Vice-principal, Sue Timberlake (Media Specialist), Trisha Speed Shaskan.

PARKVIEW CENTER SCHOOL

Media Specialist extraordinaire, Laura Given, invited me to her school to do a couple of Kindergarten presentations. You can follow Laura on Twitter at @LibLaura5

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A DOG IS A DOG coloring sheets decorated the media center at Parkview Center!

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Everyone shout, “HOORAY!”

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The kids were all wearing Triceratops headbands!

HIGHLANDS ELEMENTARY

Trisha and I presented together at Highlands Elementary and later we did a Book Fair at Barnes & Noble. It was so great to meet enthusiastic Media Specialist, Lisa Dooley and all the fabulous students and teachers.

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Illustrating a fish saying, “ish.”

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Who? The fish. What? Saying, “ish” to all the pollution. Where? in the ocean. When? 1999 (illustrated by the 1998 calendar that was thrown in the water)

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Singing “Down By the Bay” with the new rhyme!

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Trisha, Lisa Dooley, and me at B&N.

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A piece of art for Highlands’ Wall of Fame!

ST. CHARLES BORROMEO SCHOOL

Trisha and I presented to different grades at St. Charles. This was my first time presenting for 7th and 8th graders. I decided to do a Q and A. My favorite question, “Do you like quesadillas?” I also had a blast presenting to Pre-K through 2nd grade, while Trisha was presenting to 3rd through 6th grade.

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Terry MacDonald and me!

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Q and A with the 7th and 8th graders!

CORNELIA ELEMENTARY

I was asked to do seven presentations for Cornelia Elementary by my friend and fellow children’s book author Megan Maynor. Megan heads up her kid’s school author presentations and has had wonderful speakers like John Coy, David LaRochelle, and Lauren Stringer. Megan teams up with the super fun and supportive Media Specialist, Sherron Gaughan. Two weeks after, I was invited back for a Family Night Presentation at Cornelia. I even design a T-shirt for the occasion! Thanks for all the great photos, Megan Maynor!

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Me and Sherron Gaughan.

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Megan Maynor and me.

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Presenting at Cornelia!

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Have you ever seen a goose kissing a moose?

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Illustrating a “Lizard eating a Blizzard.”

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Who? The lizard. What? Eating a Blizzard. Where? DQ. When? At night.

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Who? A dog. What? Playing with a log. Where? In the forest. When? Springtime during the day.

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I needed some help with the alpaca. Luckily there was an alpaca expert in the audience.

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Who? An alpaca. What? eating a cracka. Where? Some place with a rainbow. When? 1999 (illustrated by the discman playing a prince CD.

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Signing books at the Family Night!

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T-shirts for Cornelia SPRING INTO READING Read-a-thon!






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MERRY SQUIDMAS!

12.18.13

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MERRY SQUIDMAS COLORING SHEET!

12.18.13

CLick on the image below, print, and color!

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MY BIG LIST OF FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: PART 5

10.07.13

This is the fifth installment of MY BIG LIST OF FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS. I orginally thought I would only have five parts, but my list has grown and I will continue this list for a sixth part, and keep it open for additional posts in the future. Click here to check out PART 1, here for PART 2, here for PART 3, and here for PART 4.

Delphine Duran

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Clement Hurd

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Tiphanie Beeke

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Joung Un Kim

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P.D. Eastman

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Lois Ehlert

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Tibor Gergely

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Leo and Diane Dillon

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Melanie Watt

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Roy McKie

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David Catrow

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Jan Thomas

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MY BIG LIST OF FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: PART 4

09.27.13

Here’s the fourth installment of my favorite picture book illustrators. Click here for Part 1, here for Part 2, and here for Part 3.

Taro Gomi

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Lydia Monks

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Gaetan Doremus

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Oliver Jeffers

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Roger Duvoisin

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Arnold Lobel

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Jeanne Bendick

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Art Seiden

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Marc Boutavant

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James Marshall

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MY BIG LIST OF FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: PART 3

09.13.13

Here’s the third installment of my favorite picture book illustrators. Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Marla Frazee

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Ezra Jack Keats

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James Flora

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Jon Klassen

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Hyewon Yum

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Bill Peet

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David Small

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Dan Yaccarino

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Valeria Petrone

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Mo Willems

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Mercer Mayer

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Dr.Seuss

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MY BIG LIST OF FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: PART 2

09.07.13

Here is the second installment of my favorite picture book illustrators. Click on the link to check out PART 1.

Emma Dodd

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Richard Scarry

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Tove Jansson

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Maurice Sendak

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Gustaf Tengren

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Peggy Rathmann

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Bob Shea

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Stephen Savage

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Istvan Banyai

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Aurelius Battaglia

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Jeff Newman

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MY BIG LIST OF FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: PART 1

08.17.13

I love children’s book art and have a large collection of picture books from my favorite artists. I keep them in my studio and look through them often. I was recently asked what my favorite children’s book artists were, and like most times when I’m put on the spot, I froze. My mind went blank. So, I created a list of over fifty children’s book artists that I love, and this is the first part of a five part blog post.

Mary Blair

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Yara Kono

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Bob Staake

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Dan Krall

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Crockett Johnson

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Bernard Most

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Valeri Gorbachev

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Leo Timmers

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Neal Layton

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Antoinette Portis

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Who are your favorite children’s book artists?

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SUMMERTIME PHOTO FUN! Libraries, Bookstores, and Trolleys! Oh, My! SLIDESHOW!

07.30.13

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Early in the Summer I had a wonderful time visiting Shoreview Public Library. I just received this fabulous Thank You card from Librarian extraodinaire, Angela Miller

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Here are some photos of the event!

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WOW!

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There were even dinosaur lollipops!

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I went down to Virginia to see my niece graduate from high school and did an event at the crazy-awesome Givens Books. This is me and my brother outside Givens Books. He was super helpful in getting in contact with Mr. Givens.

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Here’s the check-out counter at Givens Books!

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The Three Triceratops felt right at home!

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Awesome Jack and the Beanstalk!

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Kazoo along!

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Signing books with two awesome kids!

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Passing out bookmarks and stickers.

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Signing.

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Me and my fabulous wife Trisha Speed Shaskan, who is responsible for all these great photos at Givens Books. We both fell in love with the store.

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Me, Mr. Givens, and his daughter.

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I visited Chapter 2 Books in Hudson WI.

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Reading A DOG IS A DOG.

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Reading A DOG IS A DOG.

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A lot of family came out to see me. Thanks to the Jacot clan that stormed the bookstore!

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Best action photo! Once again thanks to Trisha for taking great photos!

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Check out the new slippers! A big thank you to Kari Pearson for taking all these awesome photos. It was 93 degrees out and I was there for over three hours doing three different readings.

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Stomp like a dinosaur!

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Reading THE THREE TRICERATOPS TUFF.

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Singing songs!

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Playing kazoos!

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It’s always great to see friends on board!

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Thanks Monica, Harlo, and Levi!

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Playing some toddler tunes.

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Reading THE THREE TRICERATOPS TUFF.

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Reading THE THREE TRICERATOPS TUFF!

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The fabulous Pamela Klinger-Horn showed up with her mother in-law!







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NEXT BIG THING: BLOG TOUR

04.11.13

Last week I was tagged by the fantastically funny Erin Soderberg whose latest book THE QUIRKS: Welcome to Normal comes out June 4,2013!

1. What is the working title of your next book?

The Three Triceratops Tuff. It’s out now!

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’m an early childhood educator. Kids are always giving me ideas for books. Most of then publishers wouldn’t touch. Kids would love them, but not parents. The Three Triceratops Tuff was an exception.

Three four year-old boys in my class loved hearing the story of the The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We had been reading the Paul Galdone picture book in class a lot. These same three kids loved dinosaurs. Put two and two together. The kids started pretending to be different dinosaurs while playing out the story of the three goats. I thought that was pure genius!

I quickly figured out how that idea could work as a picture book. A triceratops would make a great goat because of its horns, a T-rex would make a great troll, and a valley would replace the bridge. The first draft of the story was a very close retelling of the original tale but with dinosaurs. Several drafts and dummies later, with the help of my fabulous editor, Andrea Welch, I was able push the personalities of the individual dinosaurs and shape the story to have a different meaning.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

The Three Triceratops Tuff is a picture book for 3 – 8 year-olds. It is also a retelling of a classic folk tale. Most importantly it falls under the “dinosaur” genre.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Stanley Tuff (the youngest Tuff brother) would be played by Eddie Deezen. Rufus Tuff (the middle Tuff brother) would be played by Bradley Bolke, the voice of Chumley on Tennessee Tuxedo. Bob Tuff (the largest Tuff brother) would be played by Clint Eastwood (before the empty chair incident). And the T-rex would be played by John Waters. I actually had John Waters in mind the entire time I was writing The Three Triceratops Tuff. I almost gave the T-rex a little mustache.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The Three Triceratops Tuff is a cretaceous retelling of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

6. Who is publishing your book?

The wonderfully fabulous Beach Lane Books!

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I had this idea mulling around for at least 5 years before I sat down to write the story. The first draft only took me a couple of weeks to actually write.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Of course there are the numerous retellings of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Paul Galdone’s version is one of my favorites. There are also several dinosaur retellings of fairytales like Dinorella by Pamela Duncan Edwards and more recently Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Those three four year-olds.

10. What else about the book might piqué the reader’s interest?

As I started revisions of the story a new story popped up. This was the story of the dinosaurs in the background. The story became more global and less focused purely on the brother Tuff’s problem with the T-rex. I started to think of the T-rex as a horrible dictator who was starving the people and killing them. The herbivores (all the dinosaurs in the background are herbivores) became the oppressed 99% and the T-rex was the cruel 1% hoarding all the food/wealth. The whole time I was working on these revisions the Arab Spring was happening, Occupy had begun, and there were protests in Wisconsin. These events played heavily into the development of the final story.

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Now I’ll tag a couple of my favorite authors (and friends) who have books coming out soon — check their blogs next week for their answers!:

Trisha Speed Shaskan’s Truly, We Both Loved Beauty Dearly! The Story of Sleeping Beauty as Told By the Good and Bad Fairies illustrated by Amit Tayal, published by Picture Window Books comes out this Fall!

No Lie, I Acted Like a Beast!: The Story of Beauty and the Beast

Jamie A Swenson’s BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! illustrated by David Walker, publish by Farrar, Straus & Giroux comes out May 28th, 2013!
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