Sunday, April 26, 2015

Game of Thrones and Other Inspiration

I've recently been binge watching the Game of Thrones series, thanks to a few friends and students who insisted I watch it, loaning me all 4 seasons. "You'll love it!" they exclaimed. "It's fantasy, with sword-fighting and dragons!" 

They know me too well. 

To abate my guilty pleasure of staying up late and watching one episode after another (did I mention that they only loaned me the DVDs for 2 weeks? I've had to catch up quickly) I decided I would at least be somewhat productive and sketch the characters. So here are two pages from my giant Moleskine of characters inspired by Game of Thrones (notice how everyone looks either angry, depressed, or miserable in some fashion...)

Other inspiration this week has come to me in the form of a picture book:


I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I have signed on with Christy Ewers of CATugeau Artist Agency! Check it out!

How did this happen?

Back in February, I had an opportunity to attend a free SCBWI workshop with Christy's mom, agent and founder of CATugeau, Christina Tugeau. Attending that event had a lot to do with finally finding the right agent for my work. At the workshop, Chris gave an overview of the agency, discussed the publishing industry and provided plenty of tips on how to assemble a strong portfolio. Then she reviewed everyone's portfolio, which was a great learning experience for us all. Somehow, my work caught Chris' attention and she shared it with Christy, and it resonated with her as well!

Not long after, we were talking on the phone discussing representation. One thing that sealed the deal for me was when I asked Christy what she liked about my work. She proceeded to describe (without me saying a word) exactly what I love to do, and what I've been striving to achieve and pursue with each illustration. In other words, she totally gets my artistic vision!! And even more amazing, she sees market potential with the publishing genres I've been pursuing. Nothing could be more exciting than that!

It's truly an honor to join the CATugeau family. I'm so excited for what this new step in my career will bring!
A quick sketch of Christina reviewing portfolios at the SCBWI workshop.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Forgive You wins the 2015 Christopher Award!!

OK. I can FINALLY announce it! 

I Forgive You, a picture book written by Nicole Lataif and illustrated by yours truly, wins a 2015 Christopher Award for Books for Young People!

Both Nicole and I will be receiving awards and attending the ceremony in NYC! This is truly an honor and I am thrilled to the core. 

Here's more information about The Christopher Awards:


Who are The Christophers?

Father James Keller, a Maryknoll priest who believed that every individual has the power and responsibility to change the world for the better, founded The Christophers in 1945.  Rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity, The Christophers embrace people of every nation, religion and age level.  The ancient Chinese proverb, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,” continues to guide The Christophers’ publishing, TV, radio and Awards programs to this day.

What is the genesis of the Christopher Awards?

First presented in 1949, the Christopher Awards acknowledge that the role of the media is unique and its influence far-reaching.  The Awards were established in accord with the principles of The Christophers to salute media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.”  The Awards are noncompetitive and their goal is to encourage men, women and children to pursue excellence in creative arenas that have the potential to influence a mass audience positively.

Define “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.”

In a nutshell, Christopher Award winners celebrate the humanity of people in a positive way.  Award winners encourage audiences to see the better side of human nature, and motivate artists and the general public to use their best instincts on behalf of others.

Are Christopher Award winners strictly religious, family-oriented or G-rated?

No.  Christopher Award winners remind audiences, young and old, of all faiths and of no particular faith, of their worth, individuality and power to make a difference and positively impact and shape our world.  Themes include, but are not limited to:  profiles in courage, stories of determination and vision, and chronicles of constructive action and empowerment.  Titles may be age specific, ranging from, but not limited to, Pre-K through adult.  MPAA ratings of winning films run the gamut from G through R.

What categories of Awards are presented each year?

Christopher Awards are presented annually to films, TV broadcast and cable network programs, books for adults and children.  Special, Leadership and Life Achievement Awards single out individual media achievements and achievers as well.  Honorees include David McCullough, Dave Brubeck, Elie Wiesel, Carroll O’Connor, Robert Coles, M.D., William F. Baker, Margaret K. McElderry, Charles Schulz, Art Linkletter, Mary Higgins Clark, “Sesame Street,” “American Masters,” “American Experience,” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” “The Today Show,” “Hallmark Hall of Fame,” “ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre,” “Face the Nation,” and “CBS News Sunday Morning.” Since 1987, the James Keller Award has acknowledged a young person or adult who is dedicated to the well-being of today’s youth. Keller Award recipients include Children’s Television Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney; Special Olympics architect Eunice Kennedy Shriver; hockey Hall-of-Famer and patron of disabled and critically ill children Pat LaFontaine; community activist/actor Andrew Shue; dance educator Jacques d’Amboise; and Big Bird’s alter ego, master puppeteer Caroll Spinney.

To whom are the annual Awards presented?

Christopher Awards are presented directly to writers, producers, directors and illustrators in the publishing, film, broadcast TV and cable industries.

Why single out those individuals from the other creative personnel?

The Christopher Awards specifically honor the storytellers who, whether using fact or fiction, tell us something about the human condition: writers and illustrators who craft words and images into a clear, cohesive vision; producers who package the creative and financial resources for a project; directors who orchestrate the talents and temperaments of hundreds of people who contribute their creative skills.

How are the winners determined?

There are no entry forms or submission fees.  Potential winners are nominated and reviewed throughout the year by panels of media professionals, members of The Christophers’ staff with expertise in film, TV and book publishing, and by specially supervised children’s reading groups.  Friends of The Christophers are also encouraged to nominate titles.  The Awards are presented annually in New York City in the Spring.

How many Christophers have been awarded to date?

Since 1949, more than 1,400 films, books, broadcast TV and cable programs; nearly 4,000 authors, directors, screenwriters, producers and executive producers; and 100 special honorees have received Christopher Awards.  The number of Awards presented in each category varies, depending on the number and quality of titles in release for that year.  For example, there might be as many as five or more Awards presented in one category or no Award, depending on the judgment of the panels.

What do the Christopher Awards look like?

The Christopher Award is a bronze medallion, four inches in diameter.  A stylized candle overprinted with the ancient Chinese proverb and Christopher credo - “Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” - appears on one side.  On the reverse side: an image representing the Greek word Christophoros, meaning “bearer of Christ.”