May 26, 2014

Tag! I'm It!!


My super talented friend, Mike Curato, tagged me to be part of the "Author Blog Tour" that's been making the rounds. I met Mike through the SCBWI when he lived in Seattle. I was so sad when he moved to NYC, but I KNOW he's going to be taking the kidlit world by storm when his book, Little Elliot, Big City comes out this summer. Mark my words, Mike's book will go down as an instant classic. When I last saw Mike in NY, he gave me a preview of "Little Elliot" (or "Elly" as we love to call him)--  I truly got goosebumps--it's that good.
Keep your eye on this guy! Thanks, Mike, for the tag!

Now for the tour:

What am I currently working on?

Sometimes walking and chewing gum at the same time can be a challenge, and that's just what I'm doing right now--walking Henny and chewing Peddles ;)

Henny-packed window at The Corner Bookstore

Since Henny's release in January, it's been a whirlwind of activity--including her launch party at Secret Garden Books in Seattle, and an amazing New York celebration at The Corner Bookstore in Manhattan.

But I have to say, one of the biggest highlights so far was being invited to read Henny
at the Eric Carl Museum of Picture Book Art. It was a blast!
reading Henny for Storytime at The Carle

Also thrilling was Henny getting an ALA Booklist Star, and then finding out she was named to the Kids' Indie Next List!

Activity is on-going for Henny: in addition to some school and bookshop visits, next up is the American Librarian Association meeting in Las Vegas where I will be signing Henny at the Simon and Schuster booth.

MEANWHILE, my butt has GOT to be in the chair all summer for my next picture book, also with Simon and Schuster. The final art for Peddles, my little pig with big ideas, is due September 1. Yikes!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a tough one to answer. Everything and nothing is new under the sun. I am "trained" traditionally, in that I started out life as an architect, then segued over to fine art, scientific illustration, and portrait art before becoming an illustrator. All of my art work is done with paint/pencil/pen on paper. I use the computer only for some occasional fine tuning. I don't think this necessarily differentiates me from other writer/illustrators. What I can say, though, is my approach to art has been informed by the likes of Beatrix Potter, Edward Gorey, with a little John Tenniel thrown in, to name but a few--so I guess you could say quirky (combine Potter + Gorey and that's what you get, right?). Generally, I try not to belabor details, unless they are germane to the emotional state of my character. As for my writing, I tend to focus on what's going on inside the little noggins of my characters and, when I do, it almost always takes them somewhere interesting. I am a firm believer in the aesthetic, "less is more" (thank you, Mies van der Rohe).

Why do I write what I write?

I'm not sure I really know. As a child, I was very much "in my head." I think my characters reflect this. Being a kid can be tough, and I hope my picture books, in addition to just being fun to look at, strike a chord in their little developing brains. At the very least, I hope my stories will get them to sit still for a minute or two.

How does my individual writing/illustrating process work?  

I almost always begin with a quick character sketch or a doodle. I have sketchbooks and sketchbooks filled with critters of all sorts. Usually one will push its way to the fore, and I keep drawing he/she/it until a story forms. When I thought up Henny, I had been drawing birds--all sorts, imaginary and real. I had just finished a painting of a dodo and that got me thinking about birds that can't fly. Well, one thing led to another, and next thing I knew she was lookin' right back at me, sans wings and, well, you know the rest of the story ;)

Thanks again for the tag, Mike!
I miss you!

Next tag-ees! You'll love touring with these two:
Ben Clanton and Jennifer Mann (check out their photos--Henny is definitely a fan!).

Ben, my pal from Seattle who, like Mike, had to up and move east (sniff ), is the author/illustrator of a bunch of fun, FUN picture books. Most recently, the marvelous
Mo's Mustache 

and Jennifer, my friend and fellow recovering architect, whose book, Two Speckled Eggs, debuted in April to rave reviews!

Be sure and tune in to their blogs next Monday, 6/2, to read up on all the wonderful, fun, and inspiring work from these two talented author/illustrators. You'll be glad you did.


  1. Hello Elizabeth,

    How wonderful it is to have this behind the scenes glimpse into your writing life.

    You have worked so hard to perfect your art that you fully deserve every success. Your characterisation of Henny and all the other drawings which spring to life in your hands is truly remarkable. With only sparse details, a dash of colour and a few carefully chosen words you can convey a whole world of thoughts and ideas. Your skill as an artist is undeniable and, although we have yet to meet in person, we regard you as an all round good egg! Your son was a fabulous advertisement!

    We wish you continuing success with all that you do. You bring such joy, happiness and not a little fear into our lives with your drawings. Your kindness and generosity of spirit shine through everything you do. Onwards and upwards! J and L xxxx

    1. A nicer comment could not be had, Jane and Lance. I am humbled. xo

    2. . . . and so thankful we are friends!

  2. The frog in a dress!! We had a female bullfrog in our ponds for years. Her full name was Her Royal Highness The Lady Bullfrog. She eluded Labradors, teenagers, mayhem in general. Sadly she finally passed away after a long and fruitful life. Tar graciously brought me her remains so could send her off in style. She would have liked the dress.

    1. Perhaps they were related. So glad Her Royal Highness was disposed of properly.

  3. HENNY! You grew wings! And Elizabeth, I am so excited for have worked so hard to get here and look at the picture of you with Mike...I am assuming that's you! Congratulations on all of this activity. I am also doing what I love, and that is freelance writing for a magazine. My name is finally in print! I had always wanted that...

    Glory be. So much has been going on in your life, and I can't tell you how proud I am to know you, a published author and artist. Love Peddles, too! XOXOX

    1. I'm so proud of YOU, Anita! Your blog continues to be the calm in the storm for me and so many others--and I'm so happy for your writing adventures! Yay! xxoo

  4. Love the behind the scenes look!!! Wishing you continued success with Henny and all who follow her!!! :)

    1. Thanks SO much, M.! It continues to be a roller-coaster ride of epic proportions!

  5. Glad you were tagged - very interesting.

  6. congratulations!
    store front is VERY cool.

  7. All of the promotion must be a blast. Have fun!


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