Sunday, February 24, 2008

Authors and Artists, Part II

I promised another blog post on my weekend conference, and even though it is late, I wanted to post some pictures to share. I was privileged to attend 3 sessions by popular authors Marc Tyler Nobleman, Sharon Draper and illustrator Ane Carla Rovetta. I went to two of Marc's sessions and he shared with us tips for writing/creating comics and book-talked some of his non-fiction children's books. Kind of a funny combination, non-fiction and comics, and he has only illustrated only one of his own books, "Vocabulary Cartoon of the Day," which I'd like to purchase! It has humorous anecdotes of not-so-common words, and a caption to go with it. (Of course, I came home with a list as long as my arm of books I want to buy!) Marc was a really nice guy, and I was able to speak with him several times throughout the conference, and he even autographed a copy of one of his books that was donated to the conference by his publishing company. Here's how that conversation went before the first session, before we had really talked much at all (he was preparing his stuff on stage, and I got a front row seat because I was tired of wearing my glasses and I still wanted to see + I was like 15 minutes early): Me looking at the cover of a book I'd pulled out of my bag, and noticing the author on the cover~ "Oh. This is yours. Would you like to sign your book for me?" Marc~ "Um, I don't know. Would you like me to sign it for you?" How dumb and rude of me was that? It just kind of popped out, and I certainly didn't mean for it to come out that way! So I rephrased my question with a please in it, and then we started talking about all of his books, and how to get published (he told me to just e-mail the publishing companies and tell them I have a non-fiction book on ... I'd like them to read, and they will a lot of times ask to see a manuscript. Pretty cool, huh?

I also got to meet Sharon Draper who has won the Coretta Scott King Award five times for her young adult novels. She is a very enthusiastic speaker, full of confidence and pride in teaching and writing. Her presentation made me want to read all of her books, and order her Ziggy series for the South Valleys Library. They are about a Jamaican boy and his friends as they get into all kinds of trouble and mysterious adventures- and each chapter leaves you hanging so you just have to go immediately to the next one! Those were they types of books that kept me up late reading with a flashlight under the covers (yes, I did actually do that as a kid!). Goosebumps books are like that too, which is why kids like them so much. Here she is, showering her crowd with inspiration:

Ane Carla Rovetta was an AMAZING storyteller, and is quite the naturalist- she told several American Indian tales, but also drew beautiful chalk illustrations while she spoke! I've seen many storytellers, but none of them created anything visible to go with their tapestry of words. I would like to mention here that she is an illustrator for the National Audubon Society, where she illustrates different species of birds in books they publish, and we buy in our libraries! The session I was able to attend with her (after her keynote speech) was on drawing frogs and toads, and telling the differences between the members of the amphibian family. I have always loved color and art, but I never took any art classes in school because I took all the music classes I could fit into my schedule. My grandmother paints, and has sold many many paintings over the years, but I did not inherit her steady hand or her ease of drawing things as they really look. Whenever I create something, it tends to be more abstract, and very colorful. In Ane's class, she gave us step by step instructions on how to draw a frog, and then a toad in colored chalk- draw a rainbow here, a 7 there, and connect it with a C in between and smudge with your finger or the side of your hand, as if she were teaching an elementary class learning their shapes. Then it's EASY to make something look real, when you're given step by step instructions! Here is the frog I drew (I got the mixing colors thing down):
Notice how it is tilted up, like it is preparing to jump? Frogs are much more mobile than toads, and can leap quite far, while their relative can only jump and splat short distances- their legs are more for pushing and crawling than for leaping. My toad isn't quite tilted so far up, and see the circles behind his eye? That's a poison pouch since they aren't so mobile as their close friend the frog:
I want to frame and hang these in the boys' bedroom, but I'm not sure where I can get a frame (for cheap) the size of a large piece of construction paper...

I have more to post, but I think this is going to be all for tonight. Thanks for reading!

3 comments:

Turi said...

Excellent frogs! Definitely frame them.

SnowLeopard said...

Excellent frog and toad you mean? :) Hee hee! Maybe I'll laminate them! That would definitely make framing (and not smudging the chalk) easier...

Corinne said...

Frame them behind glass! You can always spray hairspray on the chalk to keep it from smudging--we did that when we used chalk on greeting cards. Your frog looks so happy, and your toad is toady, it's fabulous! I'm glad you had fun!