Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jennifer's Book Picks

I can hardly believe that our children's book illustration show is almost here! It feels like our last one was just last month instead of last year. Every year, the artwork and book selections get better and better, and this year is no exception. Our 5 talented illustrators will be joined by 3 amazing authors to make 1 exciting event on December 7th. If you haven't picked your books yet, time is running out! You have until November 30th to make your selections. If you need a little help from your friends, here are my personal faves for the year.

Peter Pan: 100th Anniversary Edition
Written by J.M. Barrie
Illustrated by Michael Hague
Wendy Sewing, watercolor, pen & ink
Michael Hague's books are oh-so-classic and I love love love his rendition of J.M. Barrie's tale of Peter Pan. The 100th Anniversary Edition is filled with beautiful artwork right from the title page depicting Peter as a wild-haired boy who is king of his land. Complete with vividly detailed imagery of the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, the Darlings and, of course, Tinkerbell, Barrie's words truly are brought to life once again.

Michael Hague's Read-to-Me Book of Fairy Tales
If Peter Pan is a little too advanced for your reader, why not try Michael's newest book? 14 of the most beloved children's classics were carefully selected and illustrated to form Michael Hague's Read-to-Me Book of Fairy Tales. Lush illustrations accompany the text of "The Little Mermaid," "Sleeping Beauty" and many more well-known stories.

As an added treat, author Kathleen Hague will be joining Michael to sign their book Good Night, Fairies. Quantities of this special book are limited, so make your selections early!

A Christmas Carol 
Written by Charles Dickens
Illustrated by Brett Helquist

Pointing, oil & acrylic
Usually Charles Dickens intimidates me, but not when he's accompanied by Brett Helquist's stunning oil & acrylic illustrations. (Appearing in picture book form sure helps, too!) The familiar story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come are vividly portrayed by Brett's bold colors. This book reminds me of the film version starring George C. Scott, a staple of my childhood holiday traditions! 

From A Series of Unfortunate Events

For older readers, there are a number of wonderful chapter books ranging from The Three Musketeers to the ever-popular A Series of Unfortunate Events. For the first time ever, Brett has decided to sell a very select grouping of original graphite illustrations from the series that launched his children's book illustration career! Also on hand are the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, something I remember reading when I was younger. These books gave me hours of enjoyment and packed a great creep-factor.

Flora and the Flamingo
Illustrated by Molly Idle

Dancing Together, Prismacolor

The more I look at Flora & the Flamingo, the more I find to love. Deceptively simple, each reading reveals a new interpretation. Unique to this year's selection, this is a book without any words. Throughout the story the characters learn to accept one another and dance together. This is also an interactive book with fold-down flaps, which reminds me of animated films (By the way, Molly is a former animator for DreamWorks!) I hear a orchestra in my head every time I flip through the pages.

Tea Rex, written & illustrated by Molly Idle
Molly's been a busy lady this year. Not only has she produced Flora & the Flamingo, she's also written and illustrated Tea Rex and illustrated Zombelina! Girly at first glance, each book has a little unexpected twist. Tea Rex reads like an ettiquette guide to hosting a tea party, and the guest of honor happens to be a T-Rex! For the girl who loves monsters, Zombelina is about a dancing zombie with a case of stage fright.

The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)
Written by Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer
Illustrated by Stacy Innerst
Guitar Case Roller Coaster, acrylic on board

The Beatles. What more can you say? How great is it that there's a children's book about such an iconic band? The Beatles Were Fab focuses on how lighthearted and downright funny John, Paul, George and Ringo were, entertaining everyone from the Queen Mum to us Yanks on the Ed Sullivan Show. Stacy Innerst's lively illustrations portray the Fab Four on their journey "to the toppermost of the poppermost." Lifelong fans will adore taking a trip down "Penny Lane""Eight Days a Week!" Authors Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer will be signing alongside Stacy, and the trio will even give a talk about their collaborative efforts "Across the Universe." (Click here for complete talk & demo schedule!)

One Man Band, from M is for Music
Also in a musical vein is M is for Music, an alphabet book for the musically inclined. I love anything to do with creativity and music, so this book is right up my alley! What I love even more than the text are Stacy's quirky illustrations, some of which were on view at the Chicago Art Institute. Look closely and you'll see that not only has he used paint on illustration board, he's also used pieces of tin to give dimension to his offbeat characters!

P is for Pinata
Written by Tony Johnston
Illustrated by John Parra
Woman Weaving, acrylic on board
There's just something about P is for Pinata that I love. John Parra's folk art illustrations show off key aspects of his Latin American roots that are written in simple verse as well as factual prose. I keep coming back to the image of the woman weaving - that little bee gets me every time! However, my favorite letter is L for Lava and some of Mexico's famous volcanoes. When I was in elementary school I read a story about one of these volcanoes that a local farmer "plowed up" that soon grew to swallow his fields. From then on I was convinced I had a volcano growing under my bed and it kept me up at night. Kind of a strange reason to love the letter L, but then again, that's me.

Round is a Tortilla, illustrated by John Parra
Another great read is Round is a Tortilla. Not only does it teach shapes, it also teaches Spanish words throughout the simple text. Perfect for younger readers, there is a Spanish/English glossary in the back to explain some of the unfamiliar terminology. We just found out that author Rosanne Thong will be joining us the day of the show, too! (She also wrote the popular story Wish, illustrated by Elisa Kleven.)

Don't forget, Saturday November 30th is your last day to pre-order your books! If you need any book recommendations, just ask! For the complete book list, click here.

See you December 7th for the big event!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Announcing our 2013 Children's Book Illustration Art Show & Book Signing!

*Updated 11-7-13

Get ready, because it's time for our...

Featuring the talents of

Special guest appearances by authors Kathleen Hague, Kathlen Krull & Paul Brewer

 Every year we say it can't get any better, but somehow this show reaches beyond our expectations! Taking an overview of this year's selection, we would have to say that this is the most diverse show yet, in both style and media.

We have more than 200 original illustrations available for purchase from these award-winning artists. Plus, over 50 books  are available for pre-sale from now until the close of business (5pm) November 30th or until each illustrator has sold 200 books, whichever comes first. Come in early to pick your books so you don't miss out! You'll still be able to purchase books the day of the show, but we can't guarantee the availability of titles. Follow this link for the 2013 Book List.

If you can't make it to Chemers Gallery the day of the reception and signing, don't worry! We will take care of getting your pre-ordered books signed and dedicated for you. They will be ready for you to pick up at your convenience any time in the afternoon of December 7th and onward. Even if you live out of the area, you may purchase art and books and we will ship them to you! All artwork is available to view on our website.  We are happy to answer any questions via phone or email.

Meet and mingle with our illustrators and authors the day of the show, and enjoy their original artwork, books, talks and demonstrations throughout the afternoon. Talk & demonstration schedule listed below, or, follow this link!

Clients who purchase illustrations will be invited to a private evening with the illustrators.

And now, without further adieu, let us introduce our illustrious illustrators...

Michael Hague
Bringing the realm of fairies and beloved children's classics to life, Michael's watercolor illustrations are filled with intricate detail. He was influenced at an early age by the fairytale books of his mother's childhood in England as well as the comics that were considered contraband in his house. Michael's beautiful illustrations capture a magical "other world." Favoring watercolor, he also uses pen & ink and colored pencil. Michael studied at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. His most well-known books include Peter Pan and The Velveteen Rabbit. Michael often collaborates with his wife, author Kathleen Hague, who will also be in attendance and signing books! 

Brett Helquist
Joining us from New York, Brett's graphic illustrations portray stories full of action and adventure. Influenced by the comics of his childhood, he studied at Brigham Young University and went on to pursue a career as an illustrator and now has more than 40 books to his credit. His first children's book was The Bad Beginning, the first of the ever popular Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events. Brett uses bold colors, sharp details and warm humor in his oil and acrylic illustrations. 

Molly Idle
Clever illustrations that are just oh-so-cute are what sets Molly apart from the crowd. The subtle hues and rich vibrant colors so central to her drawings are achieved completely with colored pencil. (She can go through nearly 200 pencils per book!) Molly trained at Arizona State University and was a member of the DreamWorks Feature Animation Studios team in a previous life. The influence of her time spent there is evident in some of her adorable illustrations. Recent books include Zombelina, a young zombie who gets a bad case of stage fright, and Flora and the Flamingo, a story without words.

Stacy Innerst
Innovation is key to Stacy's quirky, off-beat oil and acrylic illustrations. Painting on everything from paper to old Levi's, his artwork is full of thoughtful detail that seamlessly pairs with the text of his books. Stacy studied art and history at the University of New Mexico, where he discovered a love for folk and outsider art. The work from his first children's book, M is for Music, was displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago. Stacy's picture books have won numerous awards and honors, and recognitions from the Society of Illustrators, the Smithsonian and the Junior Library Guild. He has most recently teamed up with our guest authors Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer to create The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) - sure to be a best seller.

John Parra
With the nostalgic feel of Hispanic folk art from yesteryear, John's lively illustrations are filled with wonderful textures and colors that just beg to be noticed. Originally from California, he takes pride in his Hispanic heritage and looks to it again and again for inspiration. John is both a Pura Belpre Honoree and the recipient of the Christopher award for works that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit." His illustrations are created using acrylic paint on board and have details that keep your eyes moving here, there and everywhere! Many books are bi-lingual, like Gracias / Thanks and My Name is Gabriela.

This year, the southwest has really stepped up to represent! All of our talented illustrators and authors have either grown up, studied at college, or currently live in California, Arizona or New Mexico. Yeah!

Come for the Art & Books and Stay All Day!
Schedule of Talks & Demonstrations by the Illustrators & Authors

1:45 Penny S. Bryan, Ph.D.: "Impact of Visual Illustration on Narrative"
2:00 Stacy Innerst, Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer: "The Beatles Were Fab: A Collaboration"
2:30 John Parra: "Folk Art Painting Demonstration"
2:55 Michael Hague: "Off the Cuff with Q & A"
3:20 Molly Idle: "From Motion Pictures to Picture Books"
3:45 Brett Helquist: "Creative Process"

Plus, children's storytime at 2:00 and 3:00!

Every year, the Children's Book Illustration Show benefits a local children's charity. This year, Chemers Gallery has again chosen to work with...

Chapman University's College of Educational Studies (CES) Literacy Programs provide world class tutoring for K-12 grade students regardless of financial resources; custom libraries of books for students to take home; after school programs in the community and a pathway to bring first generation students to the university. 

To help underwrite this program or donate signed children's books and/or illustrations to CES please contact Margie McCoy at mmccoy@chapman.edu or call 714-997-6692

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Come for the Art & Books and Stay All Day!

EB Lewis during our 21st Annual Children's Book Illustration Show in 2012 - photo by Max Kosydar

Don't forget to mark your calenders! The 22nd Annual Children's Book Illustration Art Show & Book Signing is fast approaching, and we don't want you to miss out! It all happens Saturday, December 7, 1 - 5pm.

While you're picking up your signed books, meeting the artists & authors and viewing the original illustrations adorning our walls, why not pop out our back door and spend some time listening to your favorites speak?

Schedule of
Talks & Demonstrations by the Illustrators & Authors

1:45 Penny S. Bryan, Ph.D.: "Impact of Visual Illustration on Narrative"
2:00 Stacy Innerst, Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer: "The Beatles Were Fab; A Collaboration"
2:30 John Parra: "Folk Art Painting Demonstration"
2:55 Michael Hague: "Off the Cuff with Q & A"
3:20 Molly Idle: "From Motion Pictures to Picture Books"
3:45 Brett Helquist: "Creative Process"

Kid's Storytime: 2:00pm & 3:00pm

Penny S. Bryan, PhD of Chapman University College of Educational Studies will discuss just how important illustration is to the text of children's books. Listen to a special reading of The Beatles Were Fab by authors Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer, and be sure to stick around to listen to the two authors explain, with illustrator Stacy Innerst, the art of collaboration. Watch John Parra as he demonstrates his unique folk art painting style. Ask Michael Hague all about his work during his Q&A session. Discover how Molly Idle transitioned from animating for DreamWorks to illustrating children's books. Hear all about the creative process Brett Helquist puts into practice. 

Talks and presentations are free of charge and open to everyone.

And, preview illustrations before your favorite is snapped up. Preview on-line or in person at the gallery.

The anticipation is palpable as we get closer to the big day! We are so excited to see the framed illustrations as they're finished, to open the boxes and boxes of books as they're delivered and to see the entire show slowly coming together. We can't wait to share it all with you on December 7th!


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