Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Today is the 60th anniversary of the untimely death of Margaret Wise Brown. For want something better to do to commemorate this, I’ve taken all the words from GOODNIGHT MOON and rearranged them...

The moon was over
a toy-house there,
and quiet little noises
were everywhere. 
A room full of chairs
and nobody was sitting
and two old bears
and three little kittens
and a lady cow whispering,
Goodnight, goodnight,
on a green telephone.  
Brush the old bears
and comb the young kittens,
and brush and comb
and pair red mittens. 
And there,
in a great balloon,
a little mouse, who,
jumping and jumping,
socks the stars
and clocks the moon. 
A balloon to the moon,
little mouse,
over chairs and room
and red mittens and house. 
A picture of air
and a bowl of light
and a lady cow whispering,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New, Old Pig on the Block

Going to the ABFFE’s (Mostly) Silent Children’s Art Auction and Reception to Support Free Speech for Young People at BEA tonight? If so, you can bid on - and maybe even bring home with you - this little piggy.

He looks sort of familiar, eh? That’s because I took a color xerox of a painting I did a dozen years ago, mounted it on illustration board, then started to retouch and, I hope, improve on my earlier work. I had based the original on a photograph of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie, but thought the proportions needed adjusting to make him less human and more pig-like. I also fleshed out his surroundings, gave it all a warmer tone, and pretty much repainted the whole thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bitterblue is here!

Bitterblue is here! Actually, it’s been here since May 1, but I’ve been too busy to herald its arrival. Last fall and winter I made about 16 illustrations for the book - and I’ll show how some of them came about in subsequent posts. Although they have a “woodcut” feel, all of them are ink on scratchboard. Pick up a copy from...

Monday, April 23, 2012

“It no have pictures in it.”

From Kristin Cashore’s blog:
The response of my two-year-old niece, codename: Isis, when she saw the ARC of Bitterblue: "It no have pictures in it."

Well, guess what, Isis? You're going to like the final version of the book better, because it does have pictures in it. The lovely Ian Schoenherr, who most recently did the art for The Apothecary, has created maps, castle diagrams, various Appendix illustrations, endpapers, the cover page, ornamental chapter openers, and, probably my favorite illustrations of all, double-spread part openers (the book is in five parts) for Bitterblue, and the final result makes me SO HAPPY.

If you "like" the Graceling Realm page on Facebook, you'll have access to some of the art, which is slowly being revealed there.

The process of working with my publisher and Ian on the art was fascinating. It was surprising -- and delightful -- to realize how involved I needed to be, and lots of fun, too -- I enjoyed every minute of it. Often, it wasn't until I saw a sketch that I realized there was some physical aspect of a space I hadn't bothered to explain to Ian, because I'd internalized it so much that I'd forgotten that other people wouldn't necessarily be imagining it the way I did. I had to re-learn that we all see different things when we read words. And it's really helpful to have a visual artist picking your book apart and trying to interpret it. Ian found some inconsistencies no one else had caught -- like a clock tower I'd slapped onto the wrong bridge -- just in time for me to change them in the text. And every time one of his sketches came in, I sat there speechless, overwhelmed by how lucky I was to have an artist who was making my world so beautiful. Feeling, deeply, that Ian was making my world more beautiful than I had ever managed to make it.

Thank you, thank you, Ian, for what you've done for Bitterblue. I'm certain Bitterblue herself would love the art too.