Sunday, 3 January 2010

That's my baby!

As I've told a few friends, it was a surprise bordering on stage-fright.
In London I picked off the shelf of Foyles,  this new, unusual-looking book:
Illustrating Children's Picture Books by Steven & Lesley Breen Withrow.
Turn to the title page.
Hey - that's my baby!

A quick sketch of a cover idea for my 2007 Harper US picture book,   How do you make a baby smile? by Philemon Sturges.
I wanted a glum baby all alone on the cover.   The title called for it.  Besides, there are far too many smiles in children's books.
Sadly,  glum was not on the marketing menu then.
Now, who'd have guessed?  Baby Glum has gone public,  ballooning the title at the opening of this new book. 

I had received an email from Steven Withrow not long after my piece in the 2007 Original art show at the Society of Illustrators in NY.  He interviewed me and asked for some sketches and for my take on picture book form.  Answer on page 15.  

And here I am in print with 4 pages of  'Artist's Profile'  among some illustrious company -  Shaun Tan,  Polly Dunbar,  Bob Staake among them.  And there are good words from wonderful writers,  Leonard Marcus and Jack Gantos and editors Tessa Strickland and Susan Sherman.

As I'm so colour-obsessed,  it's odd there are no finished colour spreads for How do you make a baby smile?  - just  a big bunch of black ink sketches. Reproduction rights got held up I guess.   
But some colour is shown in this particularly messy corner of my studio, post Bologna when I was juggling with a Bayard story and a school visit. 

I've not yet had time to read the whole book yet,  but already it stands out for its for its variety of voices and viewpoints,  and an intelligently wide approach to process.    Bravo to Stephen and Leslie  Breen Withrow for putting so many goodies together and to Rotovision for the original design. 

As for me,  I better get over the stage-fright with a better-than-ever book to come!
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