Monday, December 10, 2012

Coyote Cantina Holiday Arts & Crafts Boutique

Are you still looking for that super special gift for that super special someone? Come out and shop Super Hoot at the Coyote Cantina Holiday Arts & Crafts Boutique this Saturday, December 15th from 10am to 3pm, located at the Coyote Cantina Restaurant (531 N. PCH, Redondo Beach, CA). Other Etsy vendors who will be selling at this event are Mutts, This Mermaid Loves Tea, Mamma Monkey, and many more. This arts & crafts pop-up boutique is a great opportunity to support local artists and craftspersons! Hope to see you there. Happy Hoot-lidays from Super Hoot!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Super Star Interviews: Salina Yoon

Welcome to my new monthly interview feature! As an Illustrator, especially one who is a longtime member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, I am blessed to have a large circle of wildly talented friends, who are fellow artists, writers and designers. And I’m so excited to be interviewing them and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month.

This month I am chatting with the amazing and prolific Author, Illustrator and Novelty Book Queen, Salina Yoon. She and I became friends thru our friends at the novelty book publisher, Intervisual Book, where Salina and I both spent time as Designers/Art Directors. Salina has created nearly 200+ innovative novelty books for young children and is still going strong. You can visit her and her books here!

Novelty Book Queen, Salina Yoon

Q: Your new book, Penguin and Pinecone, is a picture book, which is a big change from the board and novelty books for which you are known. Can you tell us a little bit about how creating Penguin and Pinecone was different/similar to the body of work for which you are known?

A: The biggest difference between a picture book and novelty book is that picture books are story-driven while novelties are format and concept driven. A good story needs a strong narrative arc and a character that readers will love and care about. None of these things are necessary for a good concept novelty book. For a successful novelty, the format must be interactive (format refers to the physical design of the book), have play appeal, and cleverly work with the concept. Another hidden secret to novelty success is its price. So considering the production cost of a novelty book is a unique element to developing a project, one that isn't considered for traditional picture books. For picture books, story is key. Also, picture books are typically 32-40 pages in length, while novelties are often 12 pages or under. 

Q: Do you have an art style for which you are known?

A: Unlike most published illustrators, I am not known for one single art style. I have no qualms about changing it from one book to the next. This is not typical, however, and I would not necessarily encourage aspiring illustrators to switch from one art style to the next if they are not established! 

Here are a few examples of my various art styles using various mediums: Illustrator-only, Photoshop-only, Illustrator + Photoshop, Graphite + Photoshop, Acrylic paints-only, Charcoal pencil + Photoshop. I do this to keep it fun for myself, but also make each book unique and fresh.

Various novelty elements I've used: plastic prismatic lens, lift-flaps, gatefolds, foil accents, shimmery fabric accents, embossing, die-cuts, die-cut play pieces, puzzle pieces, glitter, sliding elements, spinning elements, pop-ups, to name a few.

Q: What would you say are the unique challenges of creating/publishing books for the youngest of readers (ages 0-3)?

A: Like all books, the cover and art must appeal to its intended audience. This challenge is no different for younger readers. Bright, colorful, and friendly art works best for me. I also like bold, uncluttered, high-contrast art.  But remember. Babies don't purchase books. Grown ups do. So the art must also appeal to adults, and this of course, ranges widely.

Here are some of Salina's books for the youngest readers.

Q: I know that you are a mom to two energetic little boys. In what ways do you balance motherhood with your career?

A: My sons are 7 and 8, so they are much more independent than they used to be. My studio is in my home, and I take up two small rooms on the main floor so it's very accessible to my family… which has its ups and downs. I love that I'm always accessible, but it makes it difficult to work if the family is home. Most of my work gets done while the boys are at school or asleep at night. If I need a weekend to work, I love making a trip to the library for some quiet time… since home is not always the place for quiet on a weekend! I am fortunate to have a very supportive husband who'll step up with parenting duties if I need to work. He is an artist, and teaches art part time. You can visit his work here.

Q: You yourself are a long-standing brand in the world of children’s publishing. What are your thoughts on how children’s book publishing has changed in the last ten years?

A: I'd say the boom for novelties was in 2005-2008. I published about 35-40 books in that time through Penguin, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster. I still have novelties published, but lots of changes has occurred not only in the U.S. but internationally as well. Most novelty books are printed in China. Labor laws, price of paper and gas, and cost of shipping have changed in recent years to make printing more expensive overall. This has made publishing novelties in particular very challenging, since mass market novelty books usually require a low retail price point of below $10.00 (with exceptions) while the price of manufacturing is high. While this makes it more challenging, it also requires the creator of novelties to be more clever in how we use our materials so that it is cost effective and innovative without losing its wow factor. There will always be a place in publishing for novelties. 

Penguin from Salina's new PB book, Penguin and Pinecone.

Q: Book trailers are becoming a standard promotional tool for new books. Do you have any advice/hints/ideas for those new to creating book trailers?

A: I am new to book trailers myself! Little, Brown created one for KALEIDOSCOPE, which was their lead novelty title in Spring of this year. They shared this on their website, and various blogs shared it with the book review. But before Little, Brown made theirs, I tried making one myself (you can see it here!). I used a simple template from Animoto, which cost approx. $30.00 for a hi-def version of the trailer. It's free to experiment, however! All you need are your own images. My only advice is to keep it short! 1 minute or less is best for book trailers.

Also, here is a blog link to some advice on making your own trailer using existing templates that are really very inexpensive. 

Here is the trailer of Penguin and Pinecone that was created by the publisher, Walker/Bloomsbury. They've shared this extensively on their FB page and have allowed me to do the same. I'm not sure how much impact it has on sales, but it certainly is a fun way to share a book!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: My most perfect Sunday would start with coffee set on my nightstand. I'd wake to the smell of bacon. After breakfast with the family, I might make a brief trip to the local cafe alone for some writing/thinking time over a Mexican mocha with whip, and come back inspired and energized. I recall one Sunday afternoon when I bought some clay for us to play with. I ended up making Clay Penguin, who stars in his own blog.

My boys created their own clay figures along with me.  My older son (Max, age 8), loves to sit quietly with me to sketch. And sometimes he likes to make books and give me ideas. I love it when I can inspire creativity in my kids and find ways to do my work WITH the kids. Not always possible. Our most recent favorite family activity has been playing Monopoly! If there are no tears shed, it's a perfect way to spend a Sunday evening. (unfortunately, someone usually does end up in tears!) 
Thank you for having me on your blog, Jane!

Thank you, Salina! It's been fabulous chatting with you and I can't wait to see what book you create next. To all my Bird Meets Worm readers, you can purchase Salina's books here! (They make great holiday gifts, especially the wintery Penguin and Pinecone!)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Super Hoot's NEW Mini Mix-and-Match Collection

Super Hoot is proud to present our new Mini Mix-and-Match Collection, which features a bunch of original mixed media artwork, similarly sized and colored, that can either stand alone or be grouped together for a dramatic statement in a baby nursery, playroom or fun family space! All artwork is made with bright, colorful paper, sweet fabric and acrylic paint details on wood and each one has a small hole drilled in the back, so it’s ready to hang when you are. Shop Super Hoot today!

NEW Mini Mix-and-Match Collection
Purple Petaled Flower
How fantastically cute is this?
Happy Smiley Flower Friend
Whooo, whooo can resist these owls?!
Super Hoot, Hoot!
Berries, bunnies, flowers, oh my!
Swirly Lollipop Flower
Pink Bunny Baby Girl

Monday, November 26, 2012

Super Hoot Holiday

The holiday season is upon us, and Super Hoot has been busy, busy, busy in our workshop! Here is a sneak peek at our holiday collection.

Holiday Cheer Gift Set
Holiday Cheer Gift Set's Plush Baby Doll Rattle Softie
Red Dot Oh, Christmas Tree Holiday Skirt
Plush Rattle Softies: Holiday Collection

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Springtime In Paris

I'd like to share this new image that I created for the prestigious Snowflake Charity Ball. This year's lovely and whimsical theme is "Springtime In Paris." The event benefits the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. I'm pleased that the original of this image will be auctioned at the event. I hope it raises a significant contribution to this wonderful cause.

Springtime In Paris • © Jane Smith

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy Home Birdie

Here is my NEW fabric collection, Happy Home Birdie! My sweet little repeat pattern with two love birds, their home and sun is competing in this week's Spoonflower Contest, Flights of Fancy. If it makes your heart flutter, consider voting for it today!

Happy Home Birdie • © Jane Smith 
Happy Home Stripey Stripes • © Jane Smith
Happy Home Sunny Suns • © Jane Smith

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Super Star Interviews: Carlynn Whitt

Welcome to my new monthly interview feature! As an illustrator, especially one who is a longtime member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, I am blessed to have a large circle of wildly talented friends, who are fellow artists and writers. And I’m so excited to begin interviewing them and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month.

To kick of my new interview series, I talked with my good friend, the fabulous Illustrator, Carlynn Whitt. She and I first meet several years ago thru the SCBWI. Carlynn has been drawing and painting since she was a little girl growing up in East Texas. She earned a degree in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and young son. Carlynn is represented by Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency. I highly recommend you visit her amazing artwork!

Carlynn & her son, Eli.

Q: Tell me about your new children's picture book! (You can purchase it here!)

A: My new picture book is THERE’S A BABY IN THERE! by Dandi Daley Mackall, published by Amazon Children’s Books (formerly Marshall Cavendish). It’s a “getting-ready-for-baby” book about a little chimp, who has a hard time believing that his new brother (or sister!) really is in his mother’s belly.

Q: What was the process like working with the editor and art director on the book?

A: It was very positive—they were so supportive from start to finish. I worked most directly with the art director, Anahid Hamparian. She kind of let me have free reign for the first round of sketches, just to get my ideas out on paper and let my own vision take shape. Of course, there were lots of edits and revisions that ended up taking place, but it was great to have the go-ahead to play around on that first pass.

Carlynn's NEW picture book!

Q: What are your top 3 favorite children's books and why?

A: Such a hard question! I think the answer would probably change depending on the day, because I’m always falling in love with new books. Right now I’m going to say:

1) Kevin Henkes’ KITTEN’S FIRST FULL MOON for the beautiful black-and-white illustrations and the poetic simplicity of the story;
2) Alice and Martin Provensen’s OUR ANIMAL FRIENDS AT MAPLE HILL FARM for the way their farm really comes to life through the colorful folk-arty pictures and the tiny details in the text; and
3) Any and all books by Roald Dahl with illustrations by Quentin Blake. In my mind they are the perfect pairing of author and illustrator. They are both brilliant in their own right and even more so together.

Illustration from "There's A Baby In There!"

Q: With a 3 year old and another baby on-the-way, how have you navigated the challenges of being an Illustrator Mama?

A: Well…some days are better than others! I think I’m still figuring it all out. The trick is to try to be fully present with my son when I’m with him, and present with my work when I’m in the studio. Nothing is worse than feeling like I’m giving only half my attention to either one or the other. Some days that’s going to happen and there’s nothing I can do about it. But to the extent that I can, I’ve really been trying to create the time and mental space to give both my kid and my art the focus they both deserve.

Q: What and who would you say has inspired your artwork the most?

A: Great question! I think my art is the product first and foremost of a family—my parents especially—who always encouraged my creativity and nurtured my artist self. And visually, I’ve been inspired by too many sources to pin it down to just one or two. I love looking at both fine art and illustration, as well as packaging design and paper products and typography and old advertisements and children’s toys…really anything with an image on it is grist for the mill.

Illustration from "There's A Baby In There!"

Q: Describe your perfect Sunday.

A: I’d wake up early (but not too early!) and make pancakes for my family. Then we’d go to church together and maybe have lunch afterward somewhere outdoors, if it was a pretty day. My husband would take our boy to the park in the afternoon so I could get in some good studio time…then maybe we would all go for a walk on the beach and have dinner back at the house. While my husband cleaned the kitchen, I would read bedtime stories to my son, tuck him in, and he’d fall asleep right away. Then we would crack open a bottle of wine, a couple of beers, or perhaps a pint of Ciao Bella chocolate hazelnut ice cream and snuggle up on the couch for a good movie. And we’d be in bed by eleven to wake up ready for the hectic rush of Monday morning!

Thank you so much, Carlynn! XO

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloweeny Characters

Meet my NEW halloweeny characters! Don't they make the most spooktacular halloween repeat pattern? Happy Halloween, ya'll!

© Jane Smith
© Jane Smith

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Super Heroes Rock

This Halloween there are likely to be many little dudes decked out as caped crusaders, which inspired me to create my own little super hero character, complete with his own repeat pattern slated for inclusion in the upcoming Super Heroes Spoonflower Contest. Shoot for the moon, my friends!

© 2012 Jane Smith

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Original Halloween Fabric Designs

My favorite time of year growing up in the midwest was Autumn and, of course, it follows that Halloween was (and still is!) my most favorite holiday. So I'm getting into the spooky spirit of it all with three NEW super hoot halloween fabric designs: Ghostly Night, Yummy Pumpkin Candy & Spooktacular Spiders. Happy Halloween Hauntings! 

Ghostly Night Original Fabric Design

Ghostly Night Original Fabric Design Repeated

Yummy Pumpkin Candy Fabric Design

Yummy Pumpkin Candy Fabric Design Repeated

Spooktacular Spiders Fabric Design

Spooktacular Spiders Fabric Design Repeated

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Super Hoot Artwork In Scene

Super Hoot Ladybug Loves Sunflowers Collage.

Super Hoot Birds-In-The-Trees Collage.
My sweet little model is wearing Super Hoot Ladybug
Pants & a Super Hoot Hootastic Owl T-shirt.

Super Hoot Ladybug Garden Collage.
Also featured: Super Hoot Striped Tube Pillow &
Super Hoot-ified Dollhouse.

Super Hoot Musical Birdhouse Collage paired
with Super Hoot Orange Kitty Cat Collage.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Super Hoot Meets Mom-a-Logues

Super Hoot is thrilled to share a lovely review of our collection of original artwork & apparel by Dawn Lare of the blog, Mom-a-Logues! On Mom-a-Logues, Dawn chronicles her adventures raising her two daughters as well as product reviews of children’s clothing, toys & products, recipes, DIY crafts & projects and more. And this week, she has turned her attention to Super Hoot! Read her review here, complete with lots of hoot-tastic photography, and don’t forget to scroll all the way thru, because Mom-a-Logues is giving away to one lucky ducky reader Super Hoot’s Original Watermelon Picnic Collage! Enter to win now on Mom-a-Logues!

Win me on Mom-a-Logues today!

I look fantastic in nurseries, bedrooms, playrooms & anywhere
else you want to add a little whimsy!

"Nom, nom, nom!"