Our very active Chicago area SCBWI Illustrators group participated in the #meettheartist initiative. Here's mine...at first I had more dislikes...but this one topped them all! Treacherous territory!!
I had the recent honor of being the featured speaker at the Youth Services Forum Author Breakfast for the Illinois Library Association convention. The honor is reserved for the creator of their upcoming iREAD poster to promote summer reading, which in 2018, is me! See blog from July 5, 2017. I spoke of my influences, my youth, and the wonderful marriage of being a (part-time) youth services librarian as well as a children’s book illustrator.
I also had the opportunity to create characters from the poster that will make their way on to promo merchandise and to librarians in Illinois, California, and in USA military base libraries in 24 countries for their print and online use.
Afterward, many who heard my talk at the ILA conference breakfast said they loved that I showed my inked illustration technique, which I’ll show once again here via a youtube video:
The nicest surprise for me was the debut of the animated video based on the poster, created by iREAD to announce the theme for 2018, “Reading Takes You Everywhere!”
Thank you for everything, ILA and iREAD!
Currently working on illustrations for feature story in Spider Magazine, Feb 2018 issue....work-in-progress below!
I’m still spinning from the American Library Association debut of the ILA iREAD Summer Reading 2018 posters I created for the theme “Reading Takes You Everywhere.” I signed them and was thrilled to meet so many librarians and educators.
Below is the children’s poster, which is what I imagine happened after the last page of my picture book “One Day I Went Rambling” authored by Kelly Bennett, where a bunch of inventive kids see a bare tree in the distance. The Illinois Library Association wanted the theme to be widely interpreted, and "everywhere" can mean in imagination, time travel, inner and outer space, dystopian scenarios, scientific discoveries, etc. Besides posters, ILA will put out a lot of swag with this image, on t-shirts, postcards, water bottles, pencil cases, etc., and offer it in a catalog to Illinois Libraries. Word is ILA will reissue “Rambling” in mini-paperbacks for libraries to use as promotional give-aways!!
Here is the summer reading poster of the same theme for the military, which will go out to U.S. bases in 24 countries.
Now I’m off to the SCBWI-LA conference, July 5-12 including the pre and post parties/training. I'll be wearing many hats, as an illustrator, as Illustrator Coordinator for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators/Illinois, and for the first time, as a writer! In addition to a portfolio display event on Saturday, I’m showing a picture book dummy….which has been a labor of love these past few months. Who’d guess I’d end up loving a spider? Wicked!
I walked into a huge spider web the other day. Still gross. Or maybe a good sign?
The end of the school year is a time for a little fun. Last month, I was grateful to Drexel School in Cicero, IL, for including me in their Reading Rodeo. Often schools focus on inviting authors to speak, and it may pass their radar that illustrators tell stories visually. Creating a story for an illustrator is akin to making movies, using a limited number of still shots.
I also will confess to having a secret weapon for school visits…the coolest mascot in the world. A light-up chameleon! Just like in the book I illustrated, “One Day I Went Rambling,” the chameleon changes to the color to the kid with the most creative thought. We play creativity games, and viola!, the chameleon shines its stamp of approval!
The best keepsake for me is the surprise thank you cards in the mail….
Summer starts for me with a project of my own…creating a dummy book for one of my picture book manuscripts titled “Stella Can’t Wait” in time for the SCBWI LA conference in July.
Are you ready for a creative summer? So am I !! The chameleon is lighting up all over the place!
A mind tends to wander in the moment of color-mixing and brushstrokes. This thought came to me one day: everyone does the best they can. And much of that is influenced by the circumstances of one’s birth. Geography, economics, special challenges, the family culture are all part of the cards we are dealt.
So, “what if” I thought, I illustrated children that were hyper-aware of their situations and challenges, and had the innocent inherent wisdom to use it to its best advantage? What if they were the agents of change not despite their hardships but because of them? Certain phrases have stuck with me all my life, such as “to see beyond the bend of midnight trees” or “do not forget why you came here.” More recently a dream about tornadoes informed my choice. Frantic people were running for safety, but children knew to lean into the wind, with spectacular results.
So I conjured up illustrations to these phrases, posting one each Friday on social media. And the funny thing is, once you’re on that trajectory, your mind bends that way. Creativity happens in the moment of doing….one cannot intellectualize it beforehand. After 13 weeks, I had 5 good ones to submit to a juried competition for The Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy. I am excited to send these children, these agents of change and goodwill who came to me and through me, out into the world representing the U.S.A.
For the 3rd consecutive year, with fingers crossed for acceptance into The Bologna's Children's Book Fair 2017, I ask, “Italy...will she call my name?" Time will tell…but that’s never been the goal anyway. I’ve done the best I can. I’ve already been richly rewarded.
Every so often I participate in an illustration challenge…a group one or self imposed. In the past I’ve done "Inktober" and "Mornings-in-May (3-word prompt)" and "Illustration a Day" which you can find in the "Featured Posts" sidebar. >>
Now I’ve come up with “Finished by Friday” which allows me to concentrate on one illustration for a week. The reason I do these challenges is because it flips a switch in my head. Daily experiences are filtered through the challenge, so if I hear a phrase, or if something catches my eye or attention, I’ll see if I can interpret it visually.
This summer, one of my backyard trees never sprang back to life. Sad, in that it is the hammock tree, the bird feeder tree and the deck-shading tree. At the prospect of cutting it down, I began to see a shape of a woman with outstretched arms, facing the yards, welcoming all of nature. Now we are considering calling a tree surgeon to cut off just some tree limbs, and letting me loose with a mini chain saw to sculpt the rest. Scary! But in the meanwhile, I illustrated it (June 3rd illustration shown at top).
Above are the subsequent “Finished by Friday” illustrations (also shown on my Portfolio page). Friend me on Facebook or follow on Twitter to see what develops next!
Sometimes, you gotta revisit the past...go back to the beginning. Figure out how early passions inform the present. For me, it's the memories of art school, my love of drawing/painting people from life, capturing their faces and the stories behind them.
I was very happy to discover a professional gathering of artists happening just a stone's throw from my home, the Pauper's Art Guild. Like a kid in a candy shop, I was instantly enamored of this place filled with serious (and fun) artists. The walls display gorgeous original art while numbered prints on the consignment pile wait to be framed. Tom Waits, Elvis Costello or some obscure indy band urges us on as those present delve into it with the medium of their choice. While it was a bit of a rough start getting back in the swing of drawing from a model, soon everything resolved itself. The atmosphere goes from silent intensity to raucous debates with a little blue humor mixed in. I found my tribe, in my own 'hood, no less!
One of the most captivating and productive school visits I ever had was when I recently met with 50 Young Authors at the Union Ridge School in Harwood Heights, IL. In the first half, I presented Visual Storytelling using my latest illustrated picture book "One Day I Went Rambling" as a guide. In the second half, students read the first 2 minutes of their story, and as a class I led the discussion in helpful critique...what we liked, suggestions for improvement.
In between, the students had a visual challenge to exercise their imaginations. I showed my own "Illustration-A-Day" challenge where I created art from a "3 unrelated words" daily prompt. First, I showed the art I created from the words "lamb, night sky, microphone." After that, I just showed various other 3 words combinations and had them guess what an illustration might be. You could just see the gears turning, lightbulbs flashing, hands wildly waving. Eruptions of laughter and clapping ensued when their imaginations matched mine. Sometimes, their visual impressions were better. Sometimes they protested "Lizard was not one of the words." To which I answered, "I didn't say you COULDN'T put a lizard in!" Then we talked about using imagination in writing.
We even made the online school newsletter. Kid writers + Illustrator....what a great equation!
I've never held a contest before. Maybe I'll get 5 participants. Or 50. Or 500! After hearing about "Inktober," a creatively-inspired group effort of artists posting daily inked drawings on social media for the entire month of October, I chose to do a half-marathon.I posted my inked creations on odd days only. Now I'm having a contest to give the original art away! Your choice of art!!
The contest only lasts 2 days, so your chances are pretty good!
HOW TO ENTER TO WIN:
- Share this post on Facebook (and let me know you did!)
- Read and comment on this blog entry
- Follow me on Twitter and retweet this from @terrimurphy5
- “Like” my Facebook page at facebook.com/terrimurphyillustrator
Pretty simple, yes? If you have any questions, just post it in comments. Bonus, it will also count as a contest entry!
Here are samples of all paintings the 3 winners will get to choose from. If you have Facebook, you can see larger images here.
Winners will be drawn at midnight on Halloween and announced shortly thereafter! Good luck to my 5, or 50. Or500?…
Winner Update: video
It’s been a while since I’ve devised an artistic challenge, and so beginning tomorrow and for the full month of May, I’ll be creating one illustration a day. Even though I have a big job/deadline on my drawing table, it seems those are the times I feel a great need to refresh and inform myself while frolicking with the muse. The parameters will be a concentration on design and tonal value, to be completed in the morning within an hour.
Wherever one is in their career, there is always something new to learn and explore. The first seed that inspired this challenge is a critique (above) I received from illustrator Matt Faulkner www.mattfaulkner.com, who pointed out things I can concentrate on to improve my craft. The other seed is I’ve been privileged to take a picture book making class with illustrator Laura Montenegro here who stirred the pot of my creative process.
To make things more interesting, I’ll be picking 3 subject suggestions from this list I’ve compiled to create the illustration. Hopefully it will feed into my sense of the absurd.
Starting May 1st .. Let the wild rumpus begin!
Update: Here are some of my favorites of the month:
Link to larger version
Maybe it was general consensus among publishers that the picture book market is rebounding. Maybe it was witnessing the many editors, agents and art directors who were not part of the conference make a special trip in to view the Portfolio Showcase.
Or maybe it was these lovely tiny foods in glasses.
All I know it that I'm usually spinning around for a few days after a big conference, overwhelmed with information, trying to get my bearings.
This year, I'm focused. Inspired. Things to do...
Thank you SCBWI, for being at the helm of one of the nicest industries there is, and for putting us all in touch.
When you go to an illustrator’s event at a school, a festival or a conference…there is more to it than meets the eye. Just as in the making of a picture book, the readers don’t get to see all the steps, the character studies, the sketches, the evolution of the final product. And so, here is a sneak peek at something I'll be doing this weekend.
On Sunday, October 12, I’ll be giving 2 presentations at the Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival. One is a sketch-scavenger hunt at Bookworm Gardens where kids and adults will hear about "rambling," how to use their imaginations outdoors. They'll receive a sketchbook…and out we’ll go, exploring! A book signing of “One Day I Went Rambling” will follow.
The next is an Open Studio at Kohler Art Museum where I will demonstrate my illustration style. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes prep work that comes before I begin this magical inking process. I sketch quite a bit before I settle on something. In the illustration up above, I added a little color to the fox, and began the underpainting with white gouache. When it dries, I’ll cover the whole thing with black ink.
On Sunday during the Open Studio demo…this piece will be rinsed and the illustration revealed…the unique line work, texture, color, and white space. My heart will be thumping, that moment of unknowing and anticipation, to see if it was a success. Then it’ll be the audience’s turn to try it. Yes, an interactive demo! Are you game??
If so, come. Bring the family! Here is a link to the Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival, which lasts all weekend. Check out the other luminaries in world of children’s books, and Sunday for the times and locations of my programs!
The best thing about doing school visits featuring my latest illustrated picture book, “One Day I Went Rambling” (Bright Sky Press, Kelly Bennett-author) is that inspired kid ramblers will rev up their imaginations weeks before I get there. Children will often pair up with others or entice their families to go hunting in junk drawers, nooks-and-crannies, and outdoor environments for cast-away and forgotten items. Using the two most creative words in the English language, “What if…?” they transform their found objects into a new creation of their own inspiration.
To foster this kind of inventiveness is the greatest compliment. Last week, at Eastland Elementary in Shannon, Illinois, an entire wall display of “Rambling” ingenuity greeted me as I walked through the door.
Thank you Eastland Elementary, for the opportunity to creatively connect with your students!
It’s my third attempt to be accepted into the International Book Fair in Bologna, Italy. To be considered, one must produce 5 original children's illustrations, related in theme or narrative. This year, I decided to go with an edgier look to my art.
I’ve titled the series “Dream of the World” and the one above is “Spirit Guide, The Awakening.” After studying international art all year, some of my new favorite children’s illustrators now hail from Japan, Italy, Poland and the Middle East. The community in my heart and mind is truly global…
I hope I make it in…but even if I don’t, I feel I’m on a new path of discovery. Who's to say where it will lead? Here is a step-by-step of the process I developed, and hope to take further:
Sketch on watercolor paper .........basic colors blocked in.
Everything except line painted out...entire surface inked.
Rinsed, and with fingers crossed......The Big Reveal!!
That last part is wildly wonderful to experience. It can also go very, very wrong….and experiments with this technique were sometimes heartbreaking. After this last step, I paint further with watercolor to give it that spark
So will I make it in to Bologna, Italy in 2014? Time will tell. In the meantime, Viva Immaginazione!!
You can see the other 4 in the series currently on my facebook illustration album or soon at my revamped website.
I’ve had the pleasure of presenting the picture book illustrator’s craft at school visits and have more booked on the horizon--but Springfield Elementary in Midlothian, Illinois, knows how to do it right! I realized this as soon as I walked in and saw their Welcome Bulletin Showcase with a Rambling theme, to honor my latest illustrated picture book “One Day I Went Rambling” (author,Kelly Bennett, Bright Sky Press 2012).
I was doubly surprised to see their cute version of the story’s main character Zane with a wagon-full of found treasures and a “cowpoke’s twirling rope!”
Authors and illustrators are interested in the same thing, telling a good story! The children learned that a good picture book story leaves room for an illustrator's interpretation, and an author does not need to say everything in words. Kids were able to answer questions I asked like “How did I use color to show the character's emotion? Or “How does this character’s body language give hints as to what a viper is?"
Certainly the best part of the illustration presentation is the live demo. Here I show my black and white technique, an involved process some of which I create in the studio. I save the most magical part for the demo. The pre-prepped board is painted black, takes a bath, and a line-drawn image appears and is projected on the jumbo screen!
Demo for 3rd & 4th grades:
To the delight of many!
Finally, my last delight was this sea of aqua shirts with the “Are You Ready to Ramble?” theme logo. I lunched with these dedicated teachers, heard how they inspire their students to read, write, problem solve and create, while making learning fun! Thank you Springfield Elementary staff. You are true ramblers...finding the strengths and passion in your students, and encouraging them to flower!
You can find out more about booking my picture book illustrator program here .
The IRC (Illinois Reading Council) published an interview with me in their quarterly Journal, Spring 2013 Edition. In it, I speak of my childhood, the road that led me to children’s illustration, and my inspiration.
Thanks to the IRC for featuring my work!
I’m very excited to be traveling to Peoria tomorrow for the Illinois Library Association conference. The association will be unveiling their iREAD summer reading program for 2013 and the 3 posters I created for it. A sneak peek here!
THE CHILDREN'S POSTER...
THE TEEN POSTER...
THE ADULT POSTER...
Come summer, you’ll be seeing them at your local Illinois library as posters, bookmarks, imprinted on tee-shirts, backpacks, flying discs, pencil cases, etc.,…. maybe even as your grandma’s tattoo!
If you’re attending the conference Tuesday or Wednesday, stop by the iRead booth for a chat and a poster. I’ll also have copies of my picture book, One Day I Went Rambling and I hear a little color-changing chameleon may visit! Rambling and traveling through imagination….it fits in nicely with the “Have Book, Will Travel” theme, don’t you think?
It’s been a whirlwind summer, a blur of juggling the successful launch of my illustrated picture book, “One Day I Went Rambling,” and putting finishing touches on 3 posters and a myriad of themed illustrations for the Illinois Library Association's summer iREAD program for 2013. Here is one of the posters. You’ll be seeing more of me, traveling, at your local library this summer. The theme is “Have Book, Will Travel.”
In addition to that, I’ve been developing materials to promote the picture book, school and library visits, my Young Artists Workshops, and targeting picture book publishers for more projects. Whew!
But mostly I enjoy connecting with kids. “One Day I Went Rambling” was released at the end of May, and I was able to squeeze in one school visit at Franklin School in Chicago, and another for Northbrook District 27 summer school...
It’s my great hope to visit more schools and libraries to speak about story through art or present my Young Artists Workshops. And since I have the inside skinny on the Illinois Library Association’s iREAD theme, I’m currently developing art workshops for this coming summer. Here’s a little taste of some origami-to-go as we travel to Japan!
Welcome to the following fellow bloggers to the Let's Go Rambling Blog Tour, June 8th - June 22. Visit their blogs for insights, opinions and reviews of ONE DAY I WENT RAMBLING, or interviews with author Kelly Bennett or myself.
Comment about the book in their blogs and be entered in our prize giveaway (original book illustration and more!) described in my May 23rd blog... here.
June 8 http://tinyurl.com/7qx3ej9 - Kim Norman
June 10 http://www.vonnacarter.com
June 13 http://tinyurl.com/6lp78du - Cindy Faughnan
June 14 http://www.thewritersplot.com
June 14 http://smithwright.blogspot.com
June 14 http://www.readerkidz.com
June 14 http://www.debbiegonzales.com
June 15 http://www.pamzollman.com
June 20 http://KidsEbookBestsellers.com
My heartfelt thanks to you all! Let's go rambling!!!!
From June 8th until June 22, ONE DAY I WENT RAMBLING will make guest appearances on several blogs in the form of book reviews, interviews with the author or illustrator, or spotlight mentions. Anyone who participates in the blog tour, or comments on a guest blog post, comments/friends the author or I on facebook, tweets about our book with the hashtag #letsgorambling, or attends and participates in our Facebook event--One Day I Went Rambling Virtual Book Launch on June 8th will be eligible to win cool prizes.
What cool prizes you ask? Well, ONE DAY I WENT RAMBLING is a story about an adventurous scavenger boy, Zane, whose wild imagination allows him to see magic in the ordinary. He has a sidekick....a chameleon, who changes color to the kid that’s having the most imaginative thought...
With that in mind, prizes are as follows:
2nd PRIZE- An autographed copy of the book, and this zany color-changing Chameleon!!
3rd & 4th PRIZES..ONE DAY I WENT RAMBLING, signed by the author and me!
If you’ve come across this blog and wish to participate in the tour, please fill out the registration form in the clickable link at the top left of this page. I will send you a pdf of the book, and will post a running list of blog participants here when the tour begins. Once again, anyone who posts a blog *3, comments on a blog *1 or posts a facebook mention *1 (link the author's or my page to your mention) or tweets *1 (hashtag #letsgorambling), or buys the book *3(send proof of purchase to email@example.com) are eligible entrants. The numbers reflect how many times your name is in the hat. The prize drawing will take place on June 23rd. Winners will be posted and notified.
You can start by pre-tour commenting here! It'll count. Why not share a few lines from when you went Rambling, and found something that turned out to be extraordinary....
Let’s Go Rambling!!!
ps. If we aren't yet, you can friend me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/terrimurphyart
Terri Murphy www.terrimurphyart.com
Kelly Bennett, author wwww.kellybennett.com
Bright Sky Press www.brightskypress.com