Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Super Star Children's Book Review: Islandborn

Welcome to the monthly children’s book review feature with a focus on diverse books here at Bird Meets Worm! My team of reviewers—Joan Charles, Laurie Young & Sarah Orgill—and I are so excited to be championing books celebrating everything from gender diversity, people of color, the LGBTQ community to ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, people with disabilities and developmental challenges to controversial topics, unique family situations and anything and everything I did not include. It is to say we take a rightfully broad view of diversity! We aim to shine a light on books that bring both familiar experiences to those who do not often see themselves represented in books and new experiences to those looking to expand their worldview. Here at Bird Meets Worm we believe in the power of story to build empathy and thus a better world for you and me and everyone. Look for a new review on the second Wednesday of every month.

And this month my pleased to introduce our first new reviewer of the new year, Laurie Young! Laurie has written six books for the preschool novelty market, including I SEE A MONSTER. She is a member of SCBWI and writes picture books and middle grade novels. She also works as an art director and graphic designer, part-time karaoke warbler, and book hoarder. This is her first book review!


Written By Junot Diaz • Illustrated by Leo Espinosa
Picture Book (ages 5-8) • 48 pages
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Young Readers Group • 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7352-2986-0

Every one of Lola’s classmates comes from somewhere else. When her teacher asks the class to draw a picture of their country of origin, their first home, Lola is at a loss. She left the Island when she was just a baby and as hard as she tries, she is unable to remember anything about it.

She turns to her family and the people in her neighborhood to tell their stories of the Island. With each one, beautiful pictures fill her head with music and delicious fruits and poetic beaches and Lola wonders why anyone would leave such a place. But Mr. Mir has a different story. His story is of a monster and the heroes who defeated it, and the courage to persevere.

The lively, brilliant, mixed media illustrations jump off the page and the reader experiences the wonder and magic of the Island along with Lola. Lola learns that even though she doesn’t remember it, the Island is in her and through her community, she feels the connection to her culture and her first home.

Buy this book:

Barnes & Noble

Independent Bookstores

Reviewed by: Laurie L Young

Friday, February 8, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day from Super Jane

Snuggle up with your favorite sweetie like Mama Cat! • © Jane Smith

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Super Star Interviews: Cody Alice Moore

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. 

I’m pleased as pink lemonade punch to be chatting it up with the fabulous Illustrator/Designer, Cody Alice Moore! I've had the absolute pleasure of working with Cody over the last couple years in her previous position as Creative Manager at Mpix and am excited to help support her launch into a freelance career. Cody specializes in illustrations and prints designs for art licensing and commercial art use in surface pattern design, home decor and publishing.  You can view more of her artwork here! 

How lovely are these little guys?! Cluck, cluck!

Q: You spent nearly 10 years working in-house at Miller’s Professional Imaging/Mpix as an Illustrator, Designer & Creative Manager, creating, organizing and directing the development of photo cards, gifts and products. Tell us a bit about how this experience has shaped you as a creative professional—both as an artist and as a businesswoman.

A: My experience at Miller’s/Mpix has shaped me so much! In both positions I’ve held, I’ve learned about collaboration, product development, creating workflows, licensing, receiving criticism for my work and making adjustments to make it better, providing feedback for other’s work, negotiation, communication, being flexible, customer service, anticipating others needs, working in a team, technical skills; I could list so many more! When I was in school my design professors emphasized how important writing would be and I’ve found since I’ve graduated that this is so true. I grew so much with my writing as a result of managing art acquisition for Miller’s, because of the necessity to communicate with both artists and colleagues.

Q: Give us the scoop on your MOST favorite illustration/design projects: one from your past and one from your present.

A: I’ve tended to get super focused on projects I work on, so I’m fortunate that I can say it’s really hard for me to narrow down my most favorite project! If push comes to shove, my favorite project from my past was developing the magazine identity design and subsequent art direction, layout design and editorial illustrations for Columbia Woman Magazine, a local women’s consumer magazine. The publishers were so great to work with and allowed me to have a lot of creative freedom. The highlight was creating a cover illustration for one of the issues. 

Fabulous clean & clear design!

I’m going to choose two favorite current projects, because I can’t decide! I recently created some graduation photo cards for Mpix and have been having so much fun creating and submitting designs for the Minted design challenges this year. I’ve also been enjoying making illustrations and patterns for my surface pattern design portfolio that I’m looking forward to marketing later in the year for licensing and selling.

Q: You have a passion for surface pattern design and have a delicate, deft hand when creating floral and nature-inspired patterns! Dish with us about your creative process—from inspiration to sketch to final art.

A: Typically, I start with research. I’ll often write out word lists or mind maps and will work on creating a mood board on Pinterest. Sometimes I’ll look through photos I’ve taken for reference or my sketch journals and will include those for research. After that I will sketch out my ideas on paper. I will try to write what type of media I envision certain pieces of the art to be created with and once I have my sketches done, I’ll work on creating those pieces in the mediums I have in mind. It’s not unusual for me to like the initial sketch and build upon it. I love layering! Once I have everything created, I’ll scan or photograph all the pieces and will finalize the art either in Photoshop, Illustrator or both programs depending on the look I’m trying to achieve. 

Gorgeous woodland pattern! 

Q: What would be your absolute biggest DREAM project to be hired for?

A: It would be a dream to work with any brand that supports sustainability, wellness, education and innovation, but I would specifically love to work with Adobe. I enjoy the technical side of designing and illustrating, so it would be exciting to learn new skills with their programs. All the Adobe programs I’ve used to design and illustrate are constantly evolving and I love exploring each time they introduce something new.

Q: What advice would you give fellow illustrators/designers about: 1) self-promotion, 2) best business practices and 3) interacting with clients?

A: From my experience in art acquisition, it seems the best self-promotion is to continually create work and show that work either through social media or a newsletter, and being persistent, but polite in your interactions. Try to remember that there is an actual person behind the company who has their own challenges and things they are specifically looking for when acquiring or commissioning artwork. Building a relationship with the contact person goes a long way. It’s also not always about your work specifically if you don’t get a commission. There are budgets to consider, whether your style/work will sell; maybe your artwork is not implementable for the specific product or you could check off all the marks, but the company already has an artist that they work with that does the same type of work that you create. Whatever the reason, it’s always best to be polite, friendly and authentic. 

Darling wall art!

Q: Describe your most perfect day.

A: My most perfect day would be a day in which I’m able to savor, appreciate and delight in the mundane of daily life and extraordinary moments that give life meaning and purpose. To be fully present and grateful despite challenges I may face. 

Thank you so much, Cody, for catching up with us here at Bird Meets Worm! We wish you all the best with your beautiful artwork!