Monday, April 28, 2014

Gearing Up for Children's Book Week

I just completed this illustration in celebration of Children's Book Week, which is coming up next month, and I just had to share! As the daughter of a talented & passionate Librarian, I have a special love of books and libraries and reading. Read, Dream, Live! XO

Read, Dream, Live • © Jane Smith

My original sketch • © Jane Smith

A peek at my process! • © Jane Smith

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Super Jane Goes To Surtex!

I'm so thrilled to share that I'll be at Surtex this year in booth #453! Stop by and say hi! XO

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cali Custom: Girly Shark

You may be familiar with my Shark Gift Set for boys? Well, this is a NEW one for GIRLIES! I absolutely adore doing custom orders and this adorable Girly Shark Gift Set - onesie, skirt & rattle plushie - was custom ordered by a lovely marine biologist mama, who studies sharks. Who says sharks aren't for girls?! You go, girl!
(PS If you want your own Girly Shark, I can do custom gift sets for sizes 3-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months and individual tees for sizes 18-24 months, T2, T4 and T6! Shop Super Hoot today!)

Girly Shark Gift Set by Super Hoot
Who says sharks can't be pink and girly and cute?!
Pink Ocean Bubbles with Blue Wave Stripe Skirt
Girly Shark Rattle Plushie by Super Hoot

Friday, April 11, 2014

Laila's: Art for Every Room!

When it rains, it pours! I'm tickled pink to announce that I've signed a wonderful licensing deal with Laila's, a fabulous canvas wall art company. Now many of my Super Jane illustrations are available to take your baby room, playroom or kid's room from cute to SUPER cute!! Shop the handful that are available now and stay tuned for more to come...ooooh so exciting!!!

Art Needlepoint

I'm thrilled that share that I've signed a fabulous licensing deal with Art Needlepoint, a lovely company offering a wide variety of needlepoint project kits from rugs and canvases to pillows and handbags. Currently, my Worms & Carrots image and Halloween InCognito series are available. Stay tuned as more of my artwork becomes available in needlepoint projects and stitch your home into Super Jane style! So exciting!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lucky Cats

Hoping my bold trio of Lucky Cat images will bring good vibes along to Surtex next month! Cheers! XO

Purrfect • © Jane Smith
Meow Meow Meow • © Jane Smith

Lucky Cat • © Jane Smith

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Super Star Interviews: Drew Filus

Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the fabulous artists, illustrators and designers I’ve meet over the years (both personally and virtually!) 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 it up with the very talented Writer, Drew Filus! (With whom I am working on a fabulous new project…stayed tuned) Drew and I first met on our honeymoons in Belize, which is quite funny, I know. But as it turned out, Drew and his lovely wife, Andrea, both screenwriters in LA and myself with my husband, Chris, who designs movie posters, also in LA, hit if off and have been friends ever since. These days, Drew is a screenwriter-director-children's book author, which keeps him plenty busy. His award-winning movie Raw Footage is available on Netflix and his children's science-adventure series Josie Robin, Science Fiend will launch this April with its first installment A Fungus Among Us (an interactive ebook) in the iBookstore in April 2014. Drew lives in Los Angeles with his super-supportive wife and incredibly-inspirational two kids. 

Mr. Drew Filus

Q: How did you find your way from filmmaking and writing for Hollywood to creating children’s content, stories, books & apps?

A: It all happened very logically. I had kids and started seeing the world differently, through their eyes. Naturally, ideas geared toward children started coming to me, so I went with them. I write mainly adult-themed movies and TV shows, so the transition to writing for children was a bit jarring at first, but not too bad. It’s felt nice to fall into a gentler kind of storytelling. Fortunately, with little kids running around me all the time, I never have a shortage of ideas.

Q: What was your inspiration for your interactive children’s series star character, science girl, Josie Robin?

A: The Josie Robin character was originally a boy character in a one-off rhyming picture book called A Fungus Among Us. I can’t even remember what name I gave him. As a boy myself (well, a man now, I guess), my natural inclination is to make my main characters male. But being a somewhat-new dad to a girl while writing Fungus, I thought I should change it up. And I’m glad I did. Turning the character into a girl gave the story a whole new angle, a whole new twist. People naturally imagine boys being interested in science and doing science-type stuff. So with a girl performing the science feats in the story, it felt fresher, more rebellious. And it led to a big idea: that the story shouldn’t just be a one-off, it should be a series.

Josie Robin, Science Fiend!

Q: Tell us all about the process – from initial concept to text to Kickstarter project to e-book/app – of creating Josie Robin Science Fiend?

A: The Josie Robin, Science Fiend series was sparked by an eye infection. Really. My eye was all red and sensitive, so I went to an ophthalmologist. He checked it out and told me I had a fungal infection (if you’re eating lunch, I apologize). So I said aloud, for no apparent reason, “There’s a fungus among us.” I didn’t originate that rhyme, of course, but I loved the ring of it. So when I got home I built a story around the phrase.

After completing the story and not understanding how traditional publishing works, I sought out an illustrator and connected with a talented woman I once worked with on a short film, Megan Hutchison. Over the course of a year we collaborated on the illustrations. It was also within that year that my wife (who’s also a writer) suggested I think about turning the story into a series that revolves around a girl who goes on all different kinds of science adventures. So I did. As I researched girls and women in science, and came across statistics about the state of science in our nation, everything I was reading was very unsettling. I realized that a series about a girl who goes on science adventures could not only be a fun series, but also one that addresses some real problems too. So I wrote up a treatment, married it to the dummy book Megan and I created, and started talking to people about how to get the series going.

Soon enough I connected with an old friend and former-Hollywood-producer-turned-book agent, Swanna MacNair. Coincidentally, she was forming a content studio called Electric Yarn, and was in search of material just like Josie Robin! So we met, talked through what the project could be, and decided to work together. Swanna came up with the idea of releasing A Fungus Among Us first as an interactive app and then to extend the series across different media. I loved the idea. The concept of bringing the science in the story to life through interactivity was very exciting. We planned out different features for kids and their parents to interact with the story originally for an app. Fortunately, ebook technology progressed rapidly over the time we were working on raising money for the app, and we realized we could do much of what we wanted to do in the app in an enhanced ebook…for a fraction of the cost! So we committed to doing it as an ebook.

We mounted a Kickstarter campaign for two reasons: 1) to raise the money to build the ebook, and 2) to raise awareness about the project. Fortunately we succeeded on both fronts. There are so many good, generous people out there, and Kickstarter is a great way to find them. With the money we raised on Kickstarter we hired an engineer to build our ebook. While he was doing that, Electric Yarn and I planned out the release strategy.

It’s been a long, eye-opening journey, but we’re thrilled to finally be getting the ebook out.

Do you see the fungus among us?! Oh, no!

Q: Throughout the process, what have been the biggest challenges? The biggest rewards?

A: The biggest challenge for me has been patience. It takes a long time to craft an effective and streamlined interactive digital book (and the platform on which to release it), especially on a tight budget. But the process has actually been the biggest reward. Working with Electric Yarn, I’ve learned how this game is played and feel confident about doing it again and again. I’m guessing it’ll get easier and more efficient every time I do it, but that might just be me being totally delusional. 

Q: What’s next for both you and Josie Robin?

A: Well, we’re releasing the first installment of the series, Josie Robin, Science Fiend: A Fungus Among Us, this month as an ebook. Currently, we’re doing all we can to get the word out (thanks for featuring me here, Jane!). We’re hoping the ebook will gain us some traction, bait some interest and help us raise the money we need to make more Josie Robin ebooks and apps. I have two (and a half) more Josie stories written, so we’re ready to go on the next installments. Beyond ebooks and apps, we have a whole plan that includes a digital ecosystem, real-world science adventures, school visits and programs, a TV series, movies, merchandise, etc. Yeah, we’re aiming high, but why not, right?

Beyond Josie, I’m working with another amazing illustrator on another picture book story I wrote. Her name is Jane Smith and if you don’t know her work you’re really missing out. (Aww, shucks! Thank you, Drew!)

I’m also cranking out more and more picture book manuscripts. Under the motivation of 12x12, this highly-inspiring picture book writing community run by the immensely knowledgeable and organized Julie Hedlund, I’m finding myself more productive than ever.

Here's Josie doing her thing!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: Any Sunday that involves a mid-day nap in the backyard with the sound of my kids playing around me.

Thank you for chatting it up with us here at Bird Meets Worm, Drew! We can’t wait to read your new ebook! Download it today! Hooray!