Henri’s Walk To Paris, by Leonore Klein and illustrated by Saul Bass. I first mentioned this here several months back, and it’s now available. First published in 1962, this was Bass’s only children’s book that he illustrated. I’ve written up a review on my blog, if you’re curious.
The colors and spreads look amazing. Universe has done a great job in ensuring that the printing match the original edition, which, if you can believe it, was released exactly 50 years ago. (Universe also reissue M. Sasek’s This Is… Series.) Well worth the wait.
For anyone interested in children’s book illustration, this month is a milestone because Picturing Canada: A History of Children’s Illustrated Books and Publishing has finally been released by the University of Toronto Press.
It’s the fruit of 11 years of research by Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman, plus their hordes of graduate students from the University of British Columbia. While there are about 60 reproductions of illustrations in this book, it is a scholarly study rather than a coffee-table book – but it is very readable and not boring in the least if you’re at all interested in the topic. They use extensive quotes from interviews with well over 100 people – illustrators, authors, publishers, librarians, critics – about all aspects of the production, selling, politics and reception of kids’ books. It is truly mandatory reading for anyone whose work is intended for Canadian children, whether you work in books, animation, toys, or theatre.
In the course of this research, the team at UBC in Vancouver have also put together excellent online resources like this bibliography, and guide; and there is also an exhibition of children’s book illustration.
The official launch is today, Thursday May 27, at 5 p.m. at Ben McNally Books in Toronto.
This week’s discussion of Pixish has reminded me of a tip I’ve been meaning to share. Are you ever faced with the awkward situation of a friend (or friend of a friend) wanting you to work on their idea for a children’s book, with the promise of “exposure” or some sort of profit-sharing in the future? How do you say no (and you should) without ruining your relationship?
I have a solution, and it comes in book form. Whenever I’m faced with this scenario (which is at least twice a year), I first stipulate that they will need to read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books* first. It breaks down the realities of the industry on several levels: how to submit manuscripts (publishers never want to see unsolicited manuscripts with art**), how artists are chosen for books slated to be published (artists are rarely chosen by the author), and, if your friend is tenacious, what to expect if you want to self publish your book, including the revolutionary idea of paying an artist a competitive rate for their time and effort.
In my experience, recommending this book has two results: they pursue another route, not to be bothered by reading a book about the industry they supposedly want to break into, or they actually read it and learn the realities of their goal.
What do you do in this situation? Feel free to post your tips in the comments.
* Though I really hate that title. No one wants to be told to read a book for idiots.
** It’s also a great resource for writers who want to illustrate their own stories.
The previously blogged Jon Klassen passed these clips along to me, and I highly recommend watching all seven segments (this is the sixth, the rest are on youtube). They are from a 1994 interview hosted by the AIGA in St. Paul, Minnesota.
If you are unfamiliar with Paul Rand (who passed away in 1996), stop what you’re doing and delve into the new website dedicated to his work.
Previously on Drawn!: Paul and Ann Rand’s children’s books.
If you are in or around Austin, Texas this weekend, head over to the State Capitol building and check out the annual Texas Book Festival. Authors from all over the country will be pouring into town to sign books, talk to fans, and celebrate books in general. There’s even a Children’s Chapter featuring Drawn favorites Mo Willems and Adam Rex! Visit the Festival website to view the full schedule. I plan on attending, so if you see me around, say hi.
Montreal illustrator Isabelle Arsenault studied graphic design before plunging herself into the world of illustration, and it definitely shows in her composition and ideas. I especially like her recurring palette of muted blues and reds. The link to her childrens’ illustration makes me pine for a whole collection of kids books illustrated by her.