Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ginger Cloud and Mama Wind

This week marked the release of LITTLE CLOUD AND LADY WIND, the children's book by Toni Morrison (& her son, Slade), illustrated by none other than my husband, Sean Qualls.

I can't tell you how excited I am. When Sean was first approached to do this book I almost fainted. I mean, Toni Morrison! A literary Goddess of epic proportions, a true Icon of our times, one of my absolute favorite authors EVER. Ever since reading THE BLUEST EYE back in high school, I was emotionally hooked. A few years later I devoured BELOVED and it stayed with me for a very long time. I think about her very real characters in ways that last, and I carry them with me wherever I go.

Luckily Sean felt the same. With a great debt to her brilliance, he took her newest characters -intended for our youngest audiences - and brought them passionately and vividly to life. He infused Little Cloud and Sister Wind with spirit, texture and depth rendered all his own.

To top it off, I am extremely honored that on some level Sean modeled these characters after me and our daughter, Ginger. The book IS dedicated to us, after all. It's nice to know that after 10 years + of being together I'm still his muse, and now our daughter is part of his visual language too.

Brava to Toni and Sean on your stunning collaboration!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Twenty Ten; Future Books

Making a picture book can take a long time (sometimes several years!) to complete from beginning to end. Unfortunately, I will not have a new book out this year (please hold back your cries of horror and disappointment!) But rest assured, I will be crazy busy making the art for 2-3 new books that will eventually don shelves. They include:

B is for Brooklyn. An alphabet picture book that is all about my beloved borough, Brooklyn.

Every Day Dress Up. An alternative to the princess pantheon; A girl dresses up as strong female icons her mother teaches her about, from Julia Child to Sonya Sotomayor.

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama. A holiday book that blends Christmas and Hanukkah into one families' seasonal celebration. A first!

I'm happy to say all 3 books are written. Whew! Since my youngest was born almost 2 years ago, I've been busy working on these manuscripts. Right now, I'm doing the sketches for B is for Brooklyn (Henry Holt) and developing the main character for Every Day Dress Up (Knopf). I will probably be working on both of these book dummies over next few months. Making the color art for each project will take the bulk of time this year. Once I turn in final art to the publishers, the design and printing process will take another year. Then for the rest of 2010, I'll probably begin sketches for Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama (Knopf) and maybe, just maybe, begin to develop some new ideas...

So, even though I won't have a published book to show for '10, I'll be busy working in the garden, nurturing and growing my future book crops. Stay tuned!