Thursday, April 4, 2019

Becca Stadtlander - The Golden Kite Award Interview—Picture Book Illustration Winner for "Made By Hand: A Crafts Sampler"

Becca Stadtlander was awarded the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration for her illustration of "Made By Hand: A Crafts Sampler" (written by Carole Lexa Schaefer) at the SCBWI 2019 Winter Conference in New York City on February 8, 2019.

Award-winning Illustrator Becca Stadtlander

Here, we catch up with Becca about her book and winning this honor...

Lee: Congratulations, Becca! Please tell us about finding out you’d won this Golden Kite Award.

Becca: Thank you! It was exciting, and totally unexpected. I found out on a Friday night when I was in the back of a friend's car on my way to a dinner party. Lin Oliver called me as I was about to step into a wine store to buy a bottle for the party. Hahaha, I was shocked, but completely thrilled. It was all I could think about all night, and then all I could think about for the following weeks. I was happy, but very very nervous about delivering the acceptance speech.

Lee: Pitch us to move Made By Hand: A Crafts Sampler to the top of our TBR pile — What's it about?

Becca: Made by Hand is a unique historical fiction book, that would please a huge age range, including adults. Carole Lexa Schaefer has created something beautiful about actual American folk art artifacts that remind me of the feeling I get when appreciating a family heirloom or well loved object. All of the items in the book are placed into individual stories about the people and hands that created them, ranging from the 1700s to 1950s.

Lee: Is there an Ah-ha! Moment from creating the book’s illustrations that you can share?

Becca: I joked a little about this in my acceptance speech, but for me it was all the hands I had to paint in the book. I'd love to report that I paint everything perfect all the time, but I'm a human, and that is not the case. At the time I started working on this, I was having troubling painting hands with confidence. This assignment really showed me that "practice makes perfect" or at least "perfectly acceptable". I drew them over and over and took so many photos of my own hands doing things, that I started gaining a much better understanding of what I was doing. Absolutely an "ah Aha" moment!

Lee: How long have you been a member of SCBWI, and how has SCBWI helped on your journey?

Becca: I have been a member of SCBWI member since 2017, so very new for me! I think it's been good to feel like I'm part of a larger community. Working from home can sometimes be very isolating, so it's been great to make me more aware of all the other artists and writers doing what I do. I got to meet some fantastic people at the Golden Kite Gala recently, and that was the best part!

Lee: What advice do you have to share with other children’s book creators?

Becca: I think the best advice I have ever received that I would be happy to pass on is to always be nice. The children's book world may seem like a big place but it is actually very small, and you can get far just by being nice and professional.

Lee: Great advice—hurray for nice! Thank you, Becca, and again, congratulations on winning the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for your illustration of Made By Hand: A Crafts Sampler!

Find out more about Becca at this website.

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