Thursday, October 25, 2012

African Princess a la Olivia

My 4 year old daughter has a bad case of princess fever.  And it happens to be running especially high this time of year––Halloween being just around the corner and all.

Happily, I discovered Ian Falconer's Olivia and the Fairy Princesses;  A brilliant book about a precocious girl (pig) who, while in the middle of an identity crisis, rejects the popular pink princess phenomena.

Olivia asks these questions: "Why is it always a pink princess?  Why not an Indian princess or a princess from Thailand or an African princess or a princess from China?"

"There are alternatives."  She declares.

I love this.  After all, questioning the princess plague was the subject of my own book, Every-Day Dress-Up.  (Out this time last year.)

Fortunately, my daughter loves Falconer's new book too.

Upon first read, she was especially drawn to the image of Olivia as an African princess.  By her own volition she decided that was the type of princess she wanted to be for Halloween.  Phew.  Dodged that fuchsia bullet.

Now, the fun part.  Helping her make the costume!

We found most of the raw ingredients at the dollar store.  My daughter said we should use aluminum foil to build the neck rings.  Bingo.

Then we looked for African kente cloth, which was no easy task.  We decided to buy a green scarf on the street.  My son suggested using a sharpie to immitate the African-style designs in Ian Falconer's illustration.  It worked well (thanks, Isaiah!)

And voila!  Here's Ginger - as Olivia - as an African princess.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

S is for Selina; A Visual Biography

My last post included beautiful photos by Isabelle Dervaux from my B is for Brooklyn release party.  

Now, Isabelle has made me a lovely video, or as she likes to call it, a "visual biography".  Isabelle started creating "visual biographies" —still image sequences that tell stories of people and families, when she took on the task of sorting out 30 years of her own family photos. Visual biographies contain collages, illustrations and ephemera that complement the stories the photos tell.  

I feel fortunate to have my life as an illustrator - and the making of B is for Brooklyn - told through Isabelle's eyes.  

Take a moment to watch!