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On the list!

Dream Boats made the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Fall 2013 list (news and accompanying photo via my publisher).

Also, a copy of the book made it all the way to Japan, where it got this very nice review.
For a lot more book reviews (fiction and non-fiction), visit the Perogies & Gyoza website.

Perogies & Gyoza: Dream Boats

Aaaand…Dream Boats was also nominated for a Cybils. Nice!

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And finally, Harper Collins is putting on a contest to illustrate Dennis Lee’s title poem of Alligator Pie. It’s Alligator Pie’s 40th anniversary. Not sure how I feel about that; I love the poem, I love the book, but I also really love Frank Newfeld’s illustrations and they were a source of endless delight to me when I was a kid. When I think of Alligator Pie, I can’t, nor do I want, to separate the words from the drawings. They are illustrations from another time – in a good way. As is the text.

On a related note, that wikipedia page on Frank Newfeld is sorely in need of some more content, and sadly, many of the out-links are broken. So in lieu of finding some images online, pick up a copy of Alligator Pie in your local children’s book store (I was pleased to see that it’s in print!). Or maybe have a helping of Garbage Delight. Or dig a little deeper and discover other book Frank Newfeld designed, illustrated, or wrote.

If you do want a little more information on Frank Newfeld, there is a write-up on him for a past GDC BC/Alcuin Society/CDOT/Canada Council/SFU event with a bit more info. I feel fortunate to have been able to attend this, especially given the great memories I have of the time I spent with his illustrations as a kid.

There are also some photographs from the event, including some photos of his artwork. Beautiful, beautiful work.

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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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Featured Reader Art & Event Reminder.

This fantastic dream vessel, rendered in marker and ballpoint pen, is courtesy of 7-year-old avid reader, Ella. Thank you very much, Ella!

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Also, a quick reminder that I’ll be at Village Books in Bellingham on October 5, 11am for an illustrator Q&A, beginning with a short talk on illustration. Not sure yet what I’ll talk about yet – maybe about influences and inspiration, style (or lack of), or that I learned the most important thing about creating art, not from art school, but from my grandmother when I was 5 years old. Or maybe why I chose to illustrate this book the way I did, and the challenges I encountered along the way… Bring your questions!

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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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Upcoming Illustrator Visit at Village Books

I’ll be at the lovely Village Books in Bellingham on October 5, 11am for an illustrator Q&A. Curious about the illustrations in Dream Boats? Curious about my book illustration process? Come on by and ask me some questions. (Or if you just want a book signed, I can do that too): 1200 11th Street, Bellingham, WA.
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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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prints for sale

Following some queries as to if I’d sell prints of some of my illustrations, I’m giving INPRNT.com a try. The following illustrations are now available as gallery-quality giclée prints on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks.

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Time Escapes, from Catching Time | 22×10 inches


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Lilies & Koi, from Dream Boats |  22×9 inches


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Starfishing, from Dream Boats |  22×9 inches

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Dream Boats is on shelves now

So Dream Boats has now arrived in stores in both Canada and the U.S, and has had some very nice write ups  from booksellers, which is pretty thrilling, like this one from Brookline Booksmith in Massachusetts :

“I don’t have naps. I have adventures.”

That is the first line in Dream Boats, and once you turn from that first page you understand that anything can happen when you close your eyes. But maybe keep them open so you can see the pretty pictures. Are they ever pretty! Each spread is a kaleidoscope of imagery, as our dreamer’s imagination strings together surreal scenarios: aboard a fishing boat heading to Mumbai, poling down the Niger River, sailing into St. Petersburg, …there is not an inch of this book that isn’t a treat for the eye.

Also, Dream Boats is featured in the Winter 2013 Mountains and Plains Independent Book Sellers Association catalog, which is super cool! So if you’re looking for an independent bookstore in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, or Wyoming, here is a very handy list.

 

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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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new book beginnings ~ db

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We’ve launched!

Wow! Thank you to everyone one who came to the launch last night, asked me great questions, and helped buy out the Lyceum’s entire stock of Dream Boats books. And thank you to everyone one who is patently waiting for the book you ordered to get to you – Dan and I will sign them as soon as we get them! And thank you to all the little kids who came, and folded paper boats, and helped launch the book with us. 

And also, a big thank you to the Lyceum staff who put on yet another wonderful event complete with food, drink, and a paper boat folding station! We are fortunate to have such a champion of children’s literature in our neighbourhood.

And also to my publisher, Simply Read Books, who let me get creative with this book.

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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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new book beginnings ~ db

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Water, it’s a tricky thing.

excerpt from Dream Boats:

Water is memory; water is dreams.
Clear or mirror, deep as sleep,
water flows inward and Dream Boats follow.
Take me, Dream Boat, and show me everything I know.

This recent post on the blog Illustration Art not only includes example of how some of my favourite illustrators and painters handled the tricky subject of water, but it is also a rather timely post. I’ve been thinking about water and how to paint it for a really long time, having spent most of 4 years trying to figure out the best ways to render it in the illustrations of Dream Boats. It’s a central theme in the book and main element within the text.

I made a decision really early in the concepts not to ground the book in the terrestrial realm. It is a book about dreams, after all; anything can happen. So I took the characters up into space, I floated them on muddy rivers, on canals that changed between pages from window glass-clear to looking glass-reflective, through misty trees, and roiling oceans, and in the sky above oxbow rivers, frozen seas, and the deltas where the rivers of Iceland meet the sea.

Wherever the boats went, it was important that water was present, somehow. Up in space, water is represented in the blue surface of the earth, in the flow of the composition, and in the creatures that drift among the masts and oars of the boats; moon jellies, lookdown fish (chosen for their flowing fins and similarity to the Atlantic moonfish), radiolarian (rendered in gigantic proportion). The result is the boats might just as easily be thought to be drifting beneath the surface of the oceans, as above it. And so water becomes portal to other worlds, as much as a conduit to adventure.

Practically, the representation of water became tricky when the ocean, seen from above on one page, became the sky on the next page, and then a storm tossed sea transformed into a snow covered landscape.

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Continuity is exceedingly important in a picture book. But how do you deal with that when your character can at once rise up in all manner of rolling forms, break itself into white foam, and burn the colour of a blazing sunset, at at another be as clear and flat as a pane of glass, or turn the colour of a blue summer sky?

Inspiration was drawn equally from Hiroshige’s flat, graphic representation of bodies of water, the natural bloom of ink on a wet piece of watercolour paper, and the photographs I’ve taken of rivers and oceans from a plane over Iceland, the Arctic, and Northern B.C.

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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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Book launch reminder – join us tomorrow night!

Dan and I are dusting off our launch hats; he’s readying his reading voice, and we’re both quelling jitters for our Dream Boats launch tomorrow night.
There will be some paper boats, refreshments, a Q&A, and reading. And Dan and I with our autograph pens. However, Dan has been clear there will be no pony rides, reindeer, bears, or llamas, so do not expect to find any of those sharing the stage with us tomorrow night, except for on the pages of our very-ready-to-launch book. Probably for the best – I know for a fact Christianne likes to keep the Lyceum floor clean, and reindeer are hard to come by at this time of year.

It all goes down on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm at Christianne’s Lyceum of Literature and Art, 3696 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Corner of Alma & 8th)

A bit more of a look at what’s between the covers…

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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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new book beginnings ~ db

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So flickr has made some major changes… I’ve been too busy to have a proper look yet, but I really do like some of the updates, such as the gallery layout (pictured above). I’m really not fussy over the slideshow with the annoying pan and zoom stuff – it certainly no longer works for the purpose I was using it for, but haven’t had enough time to look into if that can be manual adjusted or not. (EDIT: ah hah! ! found the way around that horrible powerpoint-like slideshow!) More importantly, their changes have broken all my slideshow links, which means I now have to go back through about 100 posts and update everything. sigh. 

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DB_Origami_boat_black_outlines_sm_var

This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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