Archives: Kidlitart

Miniature Sweets! 

Miniature Sweets! 

‪I’ve been working on my little book called “Emma has a Dilemma” recently and created these small sweets for some of the color spreads.


These cakes are under 2 inches tall! I never knew putting on sprinkles in just the right place would be so tedious!  


I wanted to create a simple designed cake that any child would be able to make. I will put up a tutorial on it as a real cake eventually. I think it would be fun for my readers to make it someday! 


Have SWEET weekend!!!

XO, -A

Sweet Fairy Tales

This is the watercolor cover that I created for the Sweet Fairy Tales Book. I took something from everyone’s cake and added it into the illustration. I was going for a vintage feel and I think I achieved it.

I created this pen and ink illustration and 45 watercolor illustration portraits for a project where 45 international cake artist came together to make awareness for literature and homeless children. Each artist took a lullaby and created a sugar piece to go with it. All proceeds for this book will go to a organization called Project Night Night.

Here is the one of my cakelustrations that I did for the rhyme “Come Out and Play”

Girls and boys, come out to play,

The moon doth shine as bright as day;

Leave your supper, and leave your sleep,
And come with your playfellows into the street.
Come with a whoop, come with a call,
Come with a good will or not at all.
Up the ladder and down the wall,
A half-penny roll will serve us all.
You find milk, and I’ll find flour,
And we’ll have a pudding in half an hour.

This is the caklustration for  “What are Little Boys Made Of?”

What are little boys made of, made of?

What are little boys made of?

“Snaps and snails, and puppy-dogs’ tails;
And that’s what little boys are made of.”

What are little girls made of, made of?
What are little girls made of?
“Sugar and spice, and all that’s nice;
And that’s what little girls are made of.”

Sweet Fairy Tales​ Book is available online on www.Amazon.com a Cake Collaboration by Lizzo Marek​ of Artisan Cake Company​ Illustrated by Akiko White Cakelustrator​, and edited by Shani Christenson. The printed book is available online now! All proceeds benefit Project Night Night​ an amazing non-profit that provides a blanket, stuffed animal and book to children who are in homeless shelters. You can see all the pages, read about the artists plus detail shots on www.sweetfairytales.org

 

2015 Highlights Foundation Picture Book Boot Camp

Highlights from Highlights

Picture book boot camp faculty Denise FlemingPat Cummings, Peter Brown and Greg Pizzoli

DAY 1

Arrival and Tour

The Barn
Touring the Highlights Magazine Offices

Dino!
Carolyn Flores loves her dinos!

After an evening of touring, everyone had an opportunity to share their projects with all the attendees.  There was so much talent to be seen!

This is the story that I presented  about a koi fish. Junichi’s story is based off of a Chinese folktale about how a koi fish endures swimming upstream to the top of a waterfall and becomes a dragon. This story represents why the koi kites became one of the symbols of Japan’s children’s day.

Tale of the Dragon Fish
Junichi was always last and wished he could swim

as fast as his brothers and sisters.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to fly,” thought Junichi.

DAY 2

The faculty presented their work and we got busy on our manuscripts.

Greg Pizzoli
Peter Brown
Pat Cummings
Denise Fleming
Little Cabins in the woods

Pat Cummings and Martha Rago
Sheli Petersen and Carolyn Flores are ready for the photo!

Denise thought we all needed a new pair of teeth

for our group photo.

Denise looks just lovely with her new set of teeth!

Time to get to work!

We separated into 4 different groups, each one lead by a faculty member. My group was lead by Greg and we were called the “Baby Pigeons”. We worked all morning with our groups then in the afternoon presented our manuscripts to the other 3 faculty. We had only 15 minutes to share with each one and boy did those 15 minutes go by fast! It was a really intense day. I think I became more confused as the day went on and later found that I had to do a lot of purging of my work to make it a more finished peice.

That evening the Guest Faculty arrived. Nancy Paulson of Nancy Paulson Books, Rubin Pfeffer of Rubin Pfeffor Content agency, and Martha Rago the art director of Random House/Golden Books for Young Readers Group. We presented our work to them the next day.

The Lodge

The lodge is where I spent most of my Friday evening into the wee early morning of Saturday finalizing my manuscript and book dummies. Thanks to Carolyn for kept me company and let me use her drafting tools. I still think I was the last man standing that night.

DAY 3

Presenting

My little cabin

Patricia Keeler and Robin Rosenthal

It was fun to hear what everyone thought of my story.

I feel inspired to return home and work

on it until it is ready for submission.

Sketching by Lori Ann Levy-Holm

DAY 4

Final Workshop Day

I thought it would be fun to share a few little adornments for the cupcakes at our last meal together. So, I took out my trusty cake decorating tools and got to work. I did have to improvise on a few things.

Rolling out the modeling chocolate.
Using the top of a salt shaker to shape the flowers.
Just a few little flowers
with pearl candy centers.
Yum! Yum! Yum!

So they weren’t as elaborate as I usually make things, but I think they were appreciated. The chef at Highlights kept telling me how slow I was…This is why I would probably fail at being on a cake show!

Greg and me!
Martha, Peter and I.
Me and Denise with our pearl whites, not the dingy ones.
Me and Pat
Robin, Shelli, Carolyn, Leni and Renee
Sheli, Tom, Renee, Peach!, Carolyn and Leni
Me, Allison, and Carolyn

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend the Highlights Foundation‘s Picture Book Boot Camp. It was an incredible opportunity and I learned so much more about the industry. Thanks to the wonderful faculty; Denise FlemingPat Cummings, Peter Brown and Greg Pizzoli for an unforgettable weekend! Thank you to Highlights for the wonderful facilities and to all the attendees who made my weekend so special!

Sheli at her little cabin in the woods
Nice little swing on the property.
Boyd’s Mill Press
Down by the Creek

Nice trail we took alongside the creek.

Love all the vegitation.

Stone steps to the creek.

  

Good Night!

2014 SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC

This is my experience of the 2014 Winter Conference in New York City

It all started with this one image, this cakelustration was the winner of the 2014 Tomie dePaola competition. As my award, the SCBWI gave me an all expense paid trip to the 2014 SCBWI Winter conference in NYC! And the best part, lunch date with Tomie himself!  I am still in awe of my experience!!! I want to share with you my full experience with the talented and generous Tomie dePaola, but that will have to be in another post. So for now I will talk to you about the amazing weekend experience with my new and old friends.


When I arrived, I immediately had to attend the Regional Team meeting where we spoke about what would transpire over the weekend. It was interesting to find out that there were over 1,080 members in attendance this year. I met other Illustrator Coordinators and Regional Advisers, from all over the nation, even from the UK and Australia.

They went to dinner and a show, but I spent time with my cousin and children in the city. We had some delicious New York Pizza!

–––––––––––––––––––Friday Illustrator Intensive–––––––––––––––––

The intensive started off with a bang with Mr. Tomie dePaola himself! Cecilia Yung, Art Director and Vice President, G.P. Putnum’s Sons and Nancy Paulson Books prepared a Q & A about Tomie’s journey as an children’s book illustrator and how he uses the picture book as theater.

Tomie dePaola is an award winning author and illustrator who has won several awards for his works.

“Every book is like a child, you never know what will happen along the way. Once the baby is out, you don’t feel the pain, only JOY!” -Tomie dePaola

Brett Helquist illustrator/author spoke on casting and character development. He said, “you should always Practice, Practice, Practice….”

Paul O. Zelinsky spoke of illustrators on set design -staging.  “Don’t line up things, be aware of the elements, characters, and backgrounds and how they relate to each other.”

Did I mention I had a stow away? A little rabbit named Magic, found his way into my suitcase and traveled with me to NYC.

Remember the Rabbit cupcake topper that I made for Richard Jesse Watson? It met an untimely death with a wild studio cat, so I made a non-edible replacement out of Sculpey. Magic will make a new home in Richard’s studio soon.

He went with me to drop off my portfolio for the Portfolio Showcase. This is a showcase of over 200 illustrator portfolios of conference attendees. They are viewed by several industry professionals during the showcase that happened the evening after the intensives.

At the Illustrator Intensive,

Magic was making friends every where we went.

Sarah Baker and Pricilla Burris

Cecila Yung and Pat Cummings

David Diaz and Lin Oliver

Paul Zelinsky was showing us his process, then of course Magic had to get in on the action.

There were these really delicious candies strategically placed all over the hotel during the conference! As you can see Magic enjoyed them too!

–––––––––––––––––Saturday Conference Day–––––––––––––––

Lin Oliver started the conference with a few statistics and  a short powerful speech from Kristen Fulton. She was a veterinarian who became a writer soon after a life changing event happened to her.

Our first keynote was author Jack Gantos. He stated, “characters can carry a weak plot, but a weak plot cannot carry a character.”

I went to Laurent Linn’s break out session and he talked about how illustrators need to be socially connected through, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and websites. Also illustrators should be using Postcards as a marketing tool. Maybe send out 3 or 4 a year to a selective mailing list.

“Then it was off to lunch with Tomie dePaola!”

I’ll write about this in my next post 🙂

The rest of my day was spent with Tomie and then some time in my room absorbing all that had transgressed throughout the day. Soon it was time to get ready for the evening party! I was the only Texan Regional team advisor for our Texas/Oklahoma table. Pretty surprising, but I guess we do have to travel pretty far to get to NYC.

David Diaz’s daughter, Tina WissnerDavid Diaz, Kary LeeChristine Brallier, and Me

Afterwards we had an after party with Illustrators. Tomie dePaola brought the cake I gave him to share with everyone. It looks a bit deflated. Oh well, it still tasted good.

David Diaz, Priscilla Burris, E.B. Lewis, & Cecilia Yung

David Diaz, Tomie dePaola, Pat Cummings, Paul O. Zellinsky, & Sarah Baker

Tomie and I cutting the cake

Tasting the cake. 🙂

Paul and I cowboying it up!

––––––––––––––––Sunday Conference Day––––––––––––––

Lin, Tomie and I getting ready for the morning announcements.

And drum roll please….

And the winner is Akiko White with her illustration made with cake.

So nice to have my cheerleaders in the crowd.

My daughter and I  – me and my writer friend Tina Wissner

We had a few more speakers before the day was over.

Kate Messner was our next keynote speaker. She was amazing! She spoke on the power of failure. Kate had an opportunity to speak at TED Talks in 2012. She left most of us laughing and crying at the same time. “Failure teaches us to celebrate the dance” –Laura Hamor

Keynote panel on the art of the picture book with Peter BrownRaul ColonMarla FrazeeOliver JeffersShadra Strickland moderated by Arthur Levine.

Autograph Party

Paul O. Zelinsky                                  Oliver Jeffers

Jane Yolen and daughter Heidi E.Y. Stemple

Tomie dePaola

Peter Brown

Tomie dePaola, me, and Lin Oliver

And here are some of the books that I acquired while I was at the conference.

I Won the Tomie dePaola Award!

I am so ecstatic that my Cakelustration won the 2014 SCBWI Tomie dePaola Children’s book Illustration competition! Tomie dePaola is an award winning Illustrator.

From the SCBWI Website:

Tomie has been a long time member of the Board of Advisors (he is now emeritus), was instrumental in changing the name of the original organization to include illustrators, founded the Illustrator’s Committee of the SCBWI board which produces events especially for illustrators, taught the first master class at an SCBWI conference, and is featured on the DVD Master Class produced and distributed by the SCBWI. He has made a singularly important contribution to the growth and mission of the SCBWI.

Tomie generously financed the Tomie dePaola award until 2011 when the SCBWI chose to fund it as a permanent award in recognition of Tomie’s outstanding contribution to the SCBWI, and especially to our illustrator members.

I can’t believe it! This is an amazing accomplishment for me and I want to thank everyone that gave me inspiration. Especially SCBWI-SWTX Regional Advisor Shannon Morgan and Pal’s Coordinator Carolyn Flores, who by the way, gave me the suggestion to illustrate with cake. I also want to thank all my SCBWI friends who have been my cheerleaders along the way. Last but not least I want to thank Tomie for thinking my illustration was worthy of such an honor. I took a chance at trying an illustration in cake medium and it has really paid off. It is a fun medium to work with, and I get to lick my fingers as I work, “wouldn’t you?”

I have been busy making cakes for friends and family, but never thought of illustrating with the medium. There are many talented cake artist who put characters on cakes, but there are very few who make the character or character’s out of cake. Who doesn’t like cake? And especially children! I’m not sure why there has not been a children’s book illustrated by cake and sugar art, but I am hoping that I can change that. It maybe challenging, but I am always up for a challenge!

I’m looking forward to having lunch with Tomie dePaola in New York City!

I’ll post my cakelustration process soon!

SCBWI SWTX Workshop with Richard Jesse Watson

Our assignment for the SCBWI-SWTX workshop with Richard Jesse Watson
This is an illustration that I did for our 2013 workshop with illustrator and writer Richard Jesse Watson. Our assignment was to put  a Paradigm shift in the hundred acre woods. 

“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.
Illustrate a character(s) from A.A. Milne’s Winnie The Pooh books (illustrated by Ernest Shepherd). Shift paradigm by changing time period and context. Express the character’s essence or change by showing an emotional response to environment or situation. How might the characters change?

This is my initial sketch of my project.

SCBWI-SWTX Conference

I wanted to share a bit of information from the SCBWI-SWTX (society of children book writers and illustrators southwest Texas region) conference that I attended recently. It was a great event with many informational speakers. I really want to thank the staff for putting it all together so well!

Me with some of our wonderful board members


I sketched a few of the speakers as they were sharing their secrets.



The first faculty member was Andrea Welch of Beach Lane Press (Simon and Schuster) She had very good advice for writers and illustrators. Andrea loves good rhyming stories and manuscripts that engage the reader. The content of a book should be emotionally giving but not sappy. A flawed characters is an interesting one. And a story should be one that you want to read over and over again. A writer or illustrator should have creative passion and an intense personal connection to a project for it to be successful.



Kristen Daly Rens from Balzer and Bray (Harper Collins) said “Open with a bang!” In your stories you should make every scene keep the story moving, every scene should keep the tension rising and things should have changed with-in the story. What really works in a story is the combination of an action plot (external action) and an emotional plot (internal action). By the closing of the story the main character should have had some personal growth.





Diane Gonzales Bertrand (writer and professor) said “to be a good writing teacher you must be a writer yourself” She always wrote as a child and later realized that she was good at it. Diane writes from her memories and shares her experience with young students. She states that we should all jump the fence and run into the open spaces and see what happens. If you receive rejection it is not the end but just another beginning. 



The SWTX-SCBWI September conference brought new light to the digital marketing possibilities for all Illustrators and writers. 


Richard Dean Johnson of Interact Books shared information on how to publish an interactive ebook for children. His company has developed a user friendly program that can help writers and illustrators turn there own publications into an electronic book. These books can be created to have movement and music within the stories pages. Interact Book’s app  allows children to purchase books at a minimal cost and create their own library to play with. What a great new way for us to market our published and unpublished works.


Kim Murray of Piccolo Media discussed how to market through social media. Such tools as Websites, Blogs, Facebook and Twitter are some of the social media sites that were brought up in her workshop . Being social and engaged can make your brand more marketable. It is necessary in this electronic age to make a presence on the web. Kim has great knowledge about how to get your brand noticed and how to make social media a weekly if not daily exercise in your business routine.

Hope all of you who are interested in children’s book writing and illustrating can join us next year for our conference. 

Here are some local conferences that are happening in the near future:

October 1, 2011 (my b-day yeah!)
Free event
The Palmer Events Center
900 Barton Springs Rd. 
Austin, TX 78704

October 22-23, 2011 Same weekend as my Bovine Festival, but maybe I can sneak away!
(Meet Alton Brown, Paula Dean and many other celebs!)
State Capital
Austin, Texas

February 17-19, 2012
Ragsdale Center
Austin, TX

April 9, 2012
Merrell Center
6301 S. Stadium Lane
Katy, TX 77494