Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The 2012 Golden Kite Poster! And An Interview With Illustrator Larry Day

To commemorate and publicize the 2012 Golden Kite and Sid Fleischman Award winning books, SCBWI designed this beautiful poster, and is sending it out to schools, libraries, book stores, college art programs, and the press.

The poster was designed using original artwork by Larry Day, winner of the Golden Kite for Picture Book Illustration in 2007 for his book, Not Afraid of Dogs.

I spoke with Sarah Baker, SCBWI's Manager of Illustration and Design, and with Larry Day himself to find out more...

First, Sarah answered my questions:

Lee: How did Larry get selected for this poster?

Sarah:  We wanted to use a past Golden Kite Picture Book Illustration winner and when we came across Larry Day we thought it would be a great match. His style lends itself well to poster art and he has a great graphic sense. We were also excited to have a totally new look from last year's poster, since Larry's style and John Parra's are so different.

Lee:  Where's the poster going? 

Sarah:  We started the list of schools, libraries, book stores, colleges, publishers and literacy initiatives when we launched the posters last year. Throughout the year we added to the list as more industry people saw the poster and wanted it for where they worked. We are focused on sending the poster to people who will display it, appreciate it, and help get the word out about the award and the winning books. It's such a joy to walk in to a library, publishing house or independent bookstore and see it displayed!

Lee:  How many of them were printed?

Sarah:  This year we printed 750 copies. Just enough to distribute but probably not enough to sell at the conference or in our online store. We might give a couple away as prizes at the Summer Conference, so look out for that! 

And then I connected with Larry to find out more about his illustration process...

Lee:   Tell us about designing the poster! You packed in SO much information, and it's still really kid-friendly!

Larry:  It all started with a small sketch of a little girl from one of my sketchbooks. She is approaching the doorman of her apartment building. After I was asked to do the poster, I based that drawing on the idea of her handing him her golden kite. In my sketchbook drawing, the exterior of the building is loaded with ornamental embellishments. But that seemed wrong. I simplified the building. And then put the fun details inside the building. I really liked that there was the horizontal direction of the walkway and the vertical direction of the building.

Lee:  There's a fun find-the-fairy-tale-characters game-like quality to the design - did that evolve or was that part of your original concept?

Larry:  It felt like something was missing. It felt too simple. Not enough yet to explore visually. After showing my sketch to my friend and copywriter, Derek Clark, he came up with the brainstorm of adding characters inside. Perfect! Bingo! oo-la-la. That suited me just fine. I add detail only when it's necessary. There has to be a reason for it. And there was a definite reason here. I imagined myself as a kid pausing in the hallway or library wall to identify all the classic characters inside the windows. I changed the doorman to Ben Franklin. The book she is carrying was added and the three blind mice following her inside the building. Lin Oliver added the word balloon which I thought was a super idea. I really loved the idea that she is going inside to be with her most favorite characters.

Lee:  Can you share with us what medium and technology-steps you used to create this?

Larry:  No photoshop was used in the making of this poster. Nothing electronic, besides scanning to send. The word balloon was drawn separately and placed later. I drew this directly with pencil and watercolor on Twinrocker white watercolor paper. I prefer the random handmade texture and the eggshell white of Twinrocker. There's nothing like it. Any corrections made were with white gouache and watercolor. I like to keep it all head to hand to paper throughout the entire process.

Lee:  Did winning the 2007 Golden Kite Award for Illustration for Not Afraid of Dogs change things in terms of your career and/or in the making of your art?

Larry:  Yes. It was the first time I drew a book similar to my technique and pacing similar to the way I draw my storyboards: the material was gathered mostly from memory and my sketchbooks and the originals are smaller than actual size. And in watercolor and pencil. The Golden Kite Award definitely helped not only with terrific exposure in the children's book arena, but my peers in children's illustration connected with the visual storytelling. And there are a ton of remarkable illustrators in the field that I admire who are all about that connection of life.

Lee:  What can illustrators gain by being part of SCBWI?

Larry:  Illustrators will gain a very nice community. Support and recognition. SCBWI is hailed across the industry with a shared interest. Editors and art directors, creative directors and designers from the best houses belong to SCBWI. It's a great way for the beginner to rub elbows and see how the industry works and get a chance to work with the pros. And a great way for the published folk to keep up with it all. From the vantage point of the SCBWI you will find out what we all have in common as illustrators and writers.

Lee:  Any career advice for fellow illustrators?

Larry:  Yes. Study the illustrators throughout history. How did they visually tell stories? Study the painters. Dissect their work. Study the great film directors. They got their chops from the early illustrators. Picture books are a 32 page visual narrative. The joy is to create illustrations that embellish and connect with the words. Study the books where the author's words combine with the illustrations that create a space to live in that never existed before. And that can't exist without each other. If you were to frame it for your wall, you couldn't frame any one illustration. The entire picture book itself would have to be framed. Don't toss anything out. Except the eraser.

Lee:  So much great advice...  Thanks, Larry!

Have you seen the 2012 Golden Kite Poster in person?  Let us know where in comments!

Illustrate and Write On,

1 comment:

McDonnellDoodles said...

Great interview and great poster. We're really lucky to have Larry in our midst. He's one of the pros who always has time for the newcomers.