Friday, December 19, 2014

PICTURE PROMPTS: Monica Rondino










Welcome to PICTURE PROMPTS! This is my way of 'paying it forward' for all the beautiful illustrations found in picture books all around the world. For the next year you will see my visit with guest illustrators, spotlighting their beautiful artwork and sharing their answers to a few questions I thought my readers might want to know about these illustrators. On the Friday when an illustrator hasn't stopped by for a visit and a hot cup of green tea, I will put up a random PICTURE PROMPT that has inspired me to write a little flash fiction to share with you!


If you are an illustrator, established or just starting out, and would like to participate in my PICTURE PROMPT series, just shoot me an email over to donasdays (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the information on how to join the fun!


Please welcome talented illustrator, Monica Rondino and check out her answers to my interview questions...




1. Why did you decide to become an illustrator?

I can say that I become an illustrator for the case. I always loved to draw and I did it from the time I was young but it was more a hobby. While I was looking for a job with languages I decided to follow a comics course and everything started from there. I finished my comics course and then I followed an animation course and now I’m an illustrator.

2. Where do you get your inspiration?

I get inspiration from everything: people, books, nature, television programmes, news and all that is around me.

3. Do you have a favorite illustration of yours? Why is it your favorite?

My preferred illustration of mine is an illo I did sometime ago. It’s about a little mouse on a balloon. I love it because it gives me a sense of freedom and at the same time the fear of a new adventure.



4. If you could invite five other illustrators (alive or deceased) to dinner, who would you invite and why?

Beatrix Potter, A.A. Milne, Chris Riddell, Diterlizzi, Alan Snow and so many others.

 
5. What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m working on a new children’s book.

 
6. Do you work in different mediums? If so, which style is the most challenging?

I work mostly in digital but when I have the time I like watercolours. Probaly the most challenging is watercolours due the fact I don’t use it so often.


7. What advice would you give to someone thinking about trying to become an illustrator?

I’m not very good at giving advice. If you love what you do you don’t have to give up even if it can be difficult sometimes and even if  you can’t draw every moment (I mean everyone has to pay bills J ) . And remember there is always something to learn, so at the end the great thing is the path to become an illustrator.


8. Do you have another job in addition to being an illustrator?

Yes I have another job or it would it better to say other jobs. For the moment I can’t live with the illustrator work so I do every kind of jobs I manage to find.


Monica's Bio:



Monica is based in Rome, Italy and graduated with a language degree while also studying comics, illustration and animation. She and her partner Andrea work in 2D animation and flash animation for feature films, TV series and commercials. Their illustration work ranges from children's books to magazine and comic books. They work in both traditional and digital mediums.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Trinka Hakes Noble






Title: Apple Tree Christmas
Author/Illustrator: Trinka Hakes Noble
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Ages: 5 to 9

Synopsis: Katrina loved the old apple tree. It had stood near their barn for years and had been a kind and generous neighbor to the Ansterburg family. But just before Christmas, a bitter ice storm takes down the lovely old tree, and along with it, Katrina's special place to draw and create. How can she be an artist without her cherished tree branch? Christmas is surely ruined now.


Why you should read it: I'm a country girl at heart and love when I can find a holiday story based outside of town. Throw in some snow and farm animals and I'm definitely hooked. Ms. Noble manages to draw her readers into a world where people can coexist with nature and even the destruction of a favorite apple tree can become a Christmas surprise.


Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5...grab it!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Searching For That Distant Star...



File:NGC 7006 HST.jpg




With Christmas less than two weeks away, there are people all around the world retelling an age old story of others following a distant star in search of something wondrous. They stepped out in faith with little more than a wish and a prayer to guide them. But that was enough. Despite the  hardships, despite the doubters, despite everything that might have been in their way trying to dissuade them from staying on the path they had chosen, those brave souls stepped out into the unknown because they believed in what lay ahead for them.

While I don't proclaim to compare myself to those travelers of long ago, I can see writers are on a similar journey where they step out into the vast unknown in search of some distant star called publication. The trouble is, the whole universe is crowed with stars...some of them small and not necessarily shining the right light...and others a bright beacon to tempt the masses to their inner circle.

When I started out on this journey I really didn't stop to think where I would end up. I'd spent years hushing the voice inside me that yearned to be a writer. I expended more energy in hiding behind a facade while I tried to convince those around me stories meant nothing to me when all I needed to do was step into the light and believe I was EXACTLY where I was supposed to be.

Now I go searching for that distant star. One that calls to my spirit. One to give me hope that my stories might one day shine a little light on someone else's darkness to help them realize it's okay to take that step into the unknown. It's okay to have a little bit of faith that those distant stars truly ARE twinkling for you and someday you WILL reach them.

If you don't think it could happen to YOU then go find a copy of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG US and read my story of what happened when I decided to turn my back on that distant star. Read what it took to lead me back to a path that feels like home to me and realize if it can happen to ME then it can happen to anyone...even YOU!

All you have to do is believe and take that first step in search of YOUR own distant star...





Friday, December 12, 2014

PICTURE PROMPTS: Illustrator Amelia Grace


 


Welcome to PICTURE PROMPTS! This is my way of 'paying it forward' for all the beautiful illustrations found in picture books all around the world. For the next year you will see my visit with guest illustrators, spotlighting their beautiful artwork and sharing their answers to a few questions I thought my readers might want to know about these illustrators. On the Friday when an illustrator hasn't stopped by for a visit and a hot cup of green tea, I will put up a random PICTURE PROMPT that has inspired me to write a little flash fiction to share with you!
If you are an illustrator, established or just starting out, and would like to participate in my PICTURE PROMPT series, just shoot me an email over to donasdays (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the information on how to join the fun!
To start things off, please welcome talented illustrator, Amelia Grace and check out her answers to my interview questions...

Why did you decide to become an illustrator?

My journey to become an illustrator began when I was about three or four years old, and most of my attention was focused on drawing. I spent a lot of time reading picture books and admiring the artwork within them. In my most formative years I developed my skills as an artist, but it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I decided the narrative world of illustration was for me. From that point on, I attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and received a BFA in illustration with a minor in creative writing.


Where do you get your inspiration?


I’m very lucky to work part time in a public library when I’m not illustrating. I’m surrounded by books (and a great number of picture books)! I have an entire collection of reference at my fingertips on a near-daily basis. Plus, I get to see what’s popular with a diverse audience of both children and parents, and I can see how my work might fit in with that.




Sassy Sasquatch sends syrup sailing. (Gouache, 2014)

Artists are trained to look at the world in a way that makes everything inspiring, so it’s hard to really pinpoint specific sources. But still, inspiration finds me a number of ways, including fantasy, nature, sci-fi, design, and the work of other artists and picture book creators.


Do you have a favorite illustration of yours? Why is it your favorite?

Every day is an opportunity to grow as an artist, and therefore my favorite piece is constantly changing. What was my favorite a month ago is probably my least favorite now. But, if I had to pick, I’m pretty partial to this piece:

Untitled, Digital. 2014.


I like this one because of the palette, the use of geometric shapes in the design – it feels more cohesive than some of my other pieces. Conceptually it’s narrative and metaphorical, born of my dilemma of having many ideas but not always being able to capture them.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently involved in a number of projects, mostly self-driven, among them being some children’s book ideas I hope to put into production in 2015. I took part in Tara Lazar’s “Picture Book Idea Month” this past November, so I have a wealth of ideas I plan on investing in. Aside from that, I’m involved in a number of art markets where I sell prints, greeting cards, coloring books, stickers, and jewelry. One of my illustrations was selected to be a part of the Amelia’s Magazine 10th Anniversary anthology project: “Things Which We Do Not Understand”. When I’m not working on those products, I’m (slowly) drawing & writing comics and zines, painting, and designing.




Nature Spirit


Colored inks. 2014. Created for: Amelia’s Magazine 10th Anniversary Gold Foil Print Book


What advice would you give to someone thinking about trying to become an illustrator?


For anyone else interested in becoming an illustrator, I say you should do it! There are many paths that lead to illustrating as a career, and for me that path included going to an art college where I studied under other professionals and practiced my craft. But that may not be right for someone else. Regardless of how you get there, it’s imperative that you never stop making work. That really applies to any type of artist – and it’s advice that has been given to me time and time again. The more work you make, the more opportunities you have to learn what works and what does not.  It is how you develop a style unique to you and uncover what it is you want to say with your work.



Amelia Grace Gossman is a MICA graduate with a BFA in Illustration and a minor in creative writing. Her work is inspired by fantasy and nature, among many other things. She loves whimsy and color. She currently lives in Harford County, Maryland, where she works in a public library, creates art and music, and takes care of 2 cats. See more of her work at http://www.amelia-grace-illustration.com, follow her updates on Instagram and twitter with @illustrationamy , and like her facebook page, Amelia Grace Illustration!


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