Monthly Archives: May 2012

Icons and Legends-Leo and Diane Dillon

I am sad to have to offer my condolences as I post this Icons and Legends article. Leo and Diane Dillon easily made my list of Icons and Legends. I was saddened to learn that Leo Dillon passed away on May 26th. So I’m posting this as a tribute to him, his wife and their numerous contributions to the art world. He will be missed.

I first became familiar with the Dillon’s through their magical Caldecott award winning book, “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.” Their artwork was African inspired and perfectly captured the tone and content of the book. I only wanted to learn more about them. I got the chance in college when they were the subject of Illustration History.


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Essential Reads-Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books-Harold Underdown

Essential Reads will cover the books or periodicals we feel are integral to begin your education about the Children’s Market and the varied skills needed to prosper within it. So without further adieu!

Book #1-The Complete  Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books by Harold Underdown

I have checked this book out so many times from the local library that they should have just given it to me. Instead I got tired of extending my check out time and broke down and bought my own copy. This book is essential for beginners and intermediate Illustrators and Writer’s wanting to break into the Children’s Book Market.

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Icons and Legends-Gyo Fujikawa

Our first Legend is Miss Gyo Fujikawa, a prolific and ground breaking author/illustrator of Children’s Books.  In her career she produced over 50 books which in turn cumulatively sold well over a million copies and continue to be in print to this day.

She was noteworthy in two distinct ways.  She was one of the first Illustrators to prominently feature multi-ethnic characters in her published work. Which was groundbreaking at the time of their publication in the 1950’s.

She was  also one of  the first Author/Illustrators to set the precedence for receiving royalties from sales of her published works rather than a flat fee.  A tradition that she helped establish and we continue to enjoy to this day.  ( I’m sure J.K. Rowling is very grateful!)

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Breaking In: Interview with Children’s Book Illustrator Elizabeth Sayles

Our Breaking In posts will focus on Interviews, Articles and Resources we find that give good information and wisdom in regards to “breaking in” to certain aspects of the Children’s Market.

Our first post features an interview with Children’s book Illustrator,Elizabeth Sayles.

The first featured interview is given by Patti Simone of Flip Report.  Elizabeth gives tips for illustrators on how to work with publishers and how she managed to break in and maintain a career in the Children’s Market. She also talks about how integral social media is to promoting her children’s books.


Listen, Learn and Apply!


Be sure to check out Elizabeth’s website at this link.
Elizabeth Sayles on LinkedIn
Elizabeth Sayles on Twitter


Sites mentioned by Elizabeth;
Children’s Book Council-CBC

SCBWI-Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Arthur A. Levine Books accepting queries online


To all the Writer/Illustrators that follow us, you are well aware that Publishers are not always accepting manuscripts or submissions at varied times in their publishing schedules.

We are happy to inform you that Arthur A. Levine Books has cracked open their doors to receiving queries online. Click here for submission guidelines.

Many thanks to Linda Bernfeld for informing us via Facebook.

For those of you curious as to what a “query” is versus a submission.  A query is a letter to an editor (or agent) that basically tries to gain their interest based on a short summary of what you have written or intend to write. It’s not an actual submission where you would send a larger portion of your actual manuscript. (We’ll cover this in a future”Terms and Terminology” Post!)



Children’s Market Terms and Terminology 1

One of our ongoing initiatives will be to provide meaning for terms and phrases that are local to the Children’s Market. So from this point forward we will go into some of those terms and what they mean. If you have specific requests feel free to e-mail them to us!

One of the first set of terms that confused me was the varied Book Market classifications. Many publishers listed the markets of books they published and I wasn’t sure what the words meant exactly. Trade and Mass Market most notably. So they will be first.

Above is cover to Hardback Trade Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.


Trade Books– Books released to the Traditional (trade) Markets are generally directed almost exclusively to Bookstores and Online markets for sale. In most instances this is a books initial public release and would be a precursor to being released to the larger Mass Market depending on sales numbers of the book within the Trade Market.

Trade Books are often printed in smaller runs, on higher quality paper and binding in a larger format. While it is frequent that you will have a hard cover with a slip cover for a Trade Book, this is not always the case. First run Prints of Trade books can also be softcover but the quality of these books is still generally at a higher grade than what is used in Mass Market Books.

Because of the better quality the book is also generally more expensive, which also contribute to its smaller customer base. They are usually sold on shelves with either their covers out or their spines showing.

Trade Books are also the version of a book that you will most often find being used by Libraries for their patrons. This is due in large part to the sturdier format that makes the books more able to stand up to many uses and reads by multiple Library patrons.

Above is cover to Softback Mass Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Mass Market Books– As the name implies these books are directed at a larger (Mass) audience and consumer base. This is accomplished by making it available in more outlets to consumers, as well as making the books smaller and cheaper for purchase and personal convenience.

While trade books are available in bookstores and online. Mass Market books are more commonly found at the checkout counter of your grocery store, drug stores, gift shops, airports and newspaper stands. They are priced cheaper to attract more impulse buys and purchases. Think small child begging at Mommy or Daddy’s feet for that Zora the Explorer Activity Book!

Mass Market books are generally paperback books printed on less quality paper and sized to be easy to carry in your pocket or purse. The production of Mass Market books also generally follows the release of the Trade version of the same book title. The Trade versions are usually of a higher quality paper, larger, more expensive, and hardback in nature.

Mass Market Children’s Books are very often tied into more popular books, licenses or characters. If you think about it in most of the outlets listed above for Mass-Market you are much more likely to find products from Licenses like Disney, Warner Bros., or Nickelodeon. However, it is just as likely that you’ll find classic best sellers like The Hungry Caterpillar, Where The Wild Things Are, and Goodnight Moon. Books that are so popular that they demand to be available to more customers.


Drawing apps for iPad part one – Sketchbook pro for iPad

Autodesk brings their amazing desktop drawing software to the iPad with the obviously named Autodesk SketchBook Pro for iPad. Sketchbook Pro is a powerful tool for doing exactly what you think, sketching.

The star of this app is the robust brush tool with all the amenities that most desktop drawing applications have. Tap with three fingers and all your options slide on screen. On the left side is your Brush palette, but if you need more options for your brush, tapping the brush icon in the top center of the screen pulls up the crazy amount of brush options SBP has to offer. With 75 different brush options in all you certainly have a lot to choose from. The only thing that this brush engine is missing is being able to save custom brushes. Really a minor complaint with all the options SBP has to offer.
Most commands in SBP can be done with gestures. Like I said earlier, you can tap with three fingers to pull up your controls, swipe left or right for undo and redo and, of course, the famous pinch to zoom. When you first start up the app it gives you a short tutorial of all the gestures that are supported. Very helpful.


As most drawing applications now support layers so does Sketchbook Pro for iPad. If you’re used to working with layers in Photoshop or Painter you’ll be right at home with using them here. Same with the color picker, it is pretty standard and reminds me a lot of the Painter color picker.

When you’re done with your masterpiece there are plenty of options to get it out of SketchBook Pro. Whether you want to tweet it, post on Facebook, or put it up on Flickr for everyone to see SBP has plenty of options. My personal favorite was exporting a layered PSD to Dropbox which was extraordinarily easy. It works great, the layered PSD came in named “sketch.psd” and the image size was RGB at 1024 x 768 at 72 DPI. Images can also be imported from your favorite sites as well. I didn’t play around too much with this  feature as I normally start from scratch with my sketches. But just like everything else in SBP there are tons of options.

All in all I think this is a wonderful drawing app for the iPad. The iPad is still not the greatest thing for doing your sketches. I’m not sure if anything will ever replace the sketchpad for me but Sketchbook pro for iPad gives it a really good shot. Certainly one of the best drawing apps I’ve used for the iPad. Sketchbook Pro is normally $4.99 on the Apple app store but if you watch carefully you’ll be able to catch it on sale. Happy sketching.

I have more reviews for drawing apps coming in the future.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

Win a Free 15 Minute Skype Portfolio Review with Anna Goodson!!

Anna Goodson Management is a prolific representative of famed Illustrators around the world!

She is offering a free 15 minute Skype portfolio review to a lucky Illustrator every Friday! Follow this link to the blog post that lists the details and requirements.  For more info follow her on twitter @annagoodsonmgmt & #FeedbackFriday.  Good Luck!!!

Find a great article here in which Anna talks about the ins and outs of having a rep and working within the Illustration Industry.

Famed Childrens Book Illustrator Maurice Sendak passes away

Maurice Sendak, the author and illustrator best known for his classic children’s books including Where the Wild Things Are, has died at the age of 83.

Lynn Caponera, longtime friend and caretaker, said she was with Sendak when he died at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, on Tuesday.

She said he suffered a stroke on Friday and never regained consciousness.

When I ask my friends and peers who also Illustrate for children to name some of their strongest influences, inevitably they list “Where The Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. Easily one of the most influential and popular Childrens Book Illustrators/Authors of the Genre.
His work pushed the boundaries of what was deemed appropriate in tone and story for children. A standard many would say that we have backed away from in our current culture.
Though we have lost the man we can feel lucky that there are a multitude of interviews, documentaries and articles that chronicle his wisdom and unique perspectives on children and story creation.
In tribute to him I implore you to visit your library, bookstore or bookshelves and visit the worlds he created and the universes he opened up for many a child and future illustrators and writers.
He will be missed.

Visit his wiki page to learn more about him and his works.


Pixar Masterclass in Miami

Pixar logo

Artists from Pixar are coming to MIAMI this summer for a Masterclass in Animation and storytelling!

VanArts is proud to present an Animation & Story Development Masterclass, with instructors Matthew Luhn (Head of Story) and Andrew Gordon (Animator) — both from Pixar Animation Studios. This exceptional 2-day event takes place in Miami on July 13/14, offering participants a rare and exciting opportunity to learn from the industry’s top talent.

Geared toward animators and storytellers — experienced professionals, students, and enthusiasts alike. This masterclass provides you with the tools needed to help create your own stories and feature-quality animation, plus offers a great opportunity to meet and network with others in the industry.

Follow this link for location, cost and registration information.

Follow this link for an interview with Matthew about the Masterclass and what can be expected!

More about the instructors after the jump!

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