My Guest Post for the "24 Carrot Writing" Blog: Creating an Oz-Inspired Illustration

I recently had the delight of contributing a guest post to the wonderful 24 Carrot Writing Blog! Visit my post there — From Start to Finish: Creating an Oz-Inspired Illustration — to get a peek behind the curtain of one of my paintings. I discuss my illustration process in preparing for an NJSCBWI illustrators' intensive with Maria Middleton, Art Director for Random House Children's Books. I hope you'll enjoy seeing some of the steps I take when approaching an assignment!

It was an honor to contribute to 24 Carrot Writing's August Illustrator Bonanza. While you're there, I recommend also reading the great posts by illustrators Milanka Reardon, Brook Gideon, and Matthew Cordell. And of course, check out 24 Carrot Writing's awesome posts on writing — you may be inspired to become a 24 Carrot Writer yourself!

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The Process Behind My "Little Pig Robinson" Painting

When I registered for NESCBWI's Illustrators' Intensive with Giuseppe Castellano (Art Director at Penguin Random House), we were challenged to illustrate a scene from a book by Beatrix Potter, in our own style. I've added my final illustration below. I put together this post on my process to share some of my steps along the way. I hope you'll enjoy getting a little look behind the scenes!

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White-eyed Vireo Practice Piece

Practicing painting, just for fun! 

I was inspired to paint this bird (a White-eyed Vireo) after my friend Tammy Hill Parks sent me a beautiful photo taken by Jerry Vanbebber (scroll down to see the photo). Tammy and Mr. Vanbebber are both members of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society, and you can view more beautiful photos at their public Facebook group.

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Here's that gorgeous photo I mentioned. It was great to have such a perfect reference photo to work from!

Photo Credit: Jerry Vanbebber

Photo Credit: Jerry Vanbebber

Peter H. Reynolds' HAPPY DREAMER Release!

I'm thrilled to announce that Peter H. Reynolds' HAPPY DREAMER (Scholastic) is now released.

I was honored to be able to assist Peter during parts of this book's creation, and it was incredible to get a behind-the-scenes sneak peek. This book is one of those titles where each page looks more delightful than the last—I find it impossible to pick a favorite spread.

Here's the book trailer, which is stunning (IMHO):

Visited The Blue Bunny bookstore in Dedham MA to celebrate at the launch party. Couldn't be happier for Peter! I hope this book reaches far and wide, inspiring happy dreamers wherever they may be.

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Participating in InkTober This Month! Kick-Off Drawing: FAST

I'm excited to participate in InkTober this month! Started by illustrator Jake Parker in 2009, InkTober is a challenge to create one ink drawing a day for the entire month of October. Search #InkTober on social media to see all the amazing ink illustrations being created around the world. This has become one of my favorite events in the fall!

There is an official (and optional) prompt list one can follow on the InkTober site. The prompt for October 1st is "FAST." Here is my ink drawing:

Already looking forward to tomorrow's drawing!

Fabulous Workshop for FASHION REBELS by Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia

I had an awesome time attending Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia's workshop/signing for FASHION REBELS (Aladdin, Simon & Schuster) at Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MA. This book is wonderful—a perfect combination of fascinating information and gorgeous illustrations. The women featured in this book include Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Josephine Baker, Audrey Hepburn and more (including modern-day rebels like Ellen Degeneres and Michelle Obama). 

I was delighted that there is also a section on Frida Kahlo, one of my favorite artists and fashion inspirations. I may just use Carlyn's instructions to create my own "Frida-Style Flower Crown".

Carlyn was kind enough to pause for a photo with me. Note our fashionable animal prints here!

Julia Anne Young and Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia

Julia Anne Young and Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia

Learn more about Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia.

 

 

Celebrating THE WATER PRINCESS

This weekend I had the opportunity to celebrate the launch of The Water Princess (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers) at The Blue Bunny in Dedham, MA. Congratulations to Georgie Badiel (whose story inspired this beautiful book), author Susan Verde, and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds

Susan Verde, Julia Anne Young, Georgie Badiel, Peter H. Reynolds

Susan Verde, Julia Anne Young, Georgie Badiel, Peter H. Reynolds

Georgie Badiel shares her story and why this book means so much to her.

Georgie Badiel shares her story and why this book means so much to her.

Launch Party for Judy Moody and the Bucket List

Had fun celebrating the latest release in the Judy Moody series—Judy Moody and the Bucket List, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Candlewick Press). This book is a great reminder to reflect on your life and think about what you want to experience and accomplish before you. . . well. . . kick the bucket!

Peter did a drawing demonstration for Judy Moody fans at this Blue Bunny event.

Peter H. Reynolds drawing Judy Moody

Peter H. Reynolds drawing Judy Moody

Learning from Giuseppe Castellano, Art Director at Penguin Random House

This winter I participated in art director Giuseppe Castellano's 3-Week Illustration Workshop, one of the classes available in The Illustration Department at his website. I can't say enough good things about the experience! I learned so much from his critique of my portfolio—and I'm excited to implement his advice as I move forward and create new work.

During the workshop, I had to create a new illustration based on a prompt. This was my final piece, although I would like to make further changes on feedback I received during the last session. Seriously, I learned so much!

I plan to sign up for another critique from Mr. Castellano in the future. If you're interested, you can learn more at his official website.

I created this as a homework assignment for Giuseppe Castellano’s 3-Week Illustration Workshop. I learned so much! It was a great experience.

I created this as a homework assignment for Giuseppe Castellano’s 3-Week Illustration Workshop. I learned so much! It was a great experience.

Video! Creating the NESCBWI 2016 Spring Conference Logo

This year I had the great honor of illustrating the NESCBWI 2016 Spring Conference Logo (the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). It was an amazing journey creating this, and I loved working with Heather Kelly and Josh Funk from the NESCBWI team.

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Heather asked me to create a video sharing some of my process for creating the logo, which was screened during the conference. I had a great time creating this video with my talented sister, Amy Young.