Monday, August 25, 2014

M.B. Goffstein

Today I began to make some significant changes to a story that I thought was nearly finished.  
And so I was especially inspired by these words from M.B. Goffstein.  I found them via 
an interview with K.T. Horning, on Number Five Bus Presents (Philip and Erin Stead's collection
of interviews with very thoughtful children's book people):

M.B. Goffstein on how to write and illustrate a picture book:

 "...Write something you don't know but long to know.

It is tiresome to read a text that the author hasn't fought for, lost, 
and by some miracle when all hope is gone, found.

When you have your text, say it over and over 
until the rough edges
 are worn smooth.

Recite it to yourself in the mirror.

The book must be separate from you.

You are serving the book.

It has to make its way in the world.

Make sure it can communicate.

Paging a book is difficult.

Do not start to illustrate until you have divided the text among the pages.

The book should speak without pictures.

There is one way for your book to look.

It is your duty to find it.

What do the characters look like?

Their world is on paper before you.

The characters talk to each other.

They mean what they say.

Their hearts are in it.

What makes you think children like childish things?

Don't tell them how to be children.

They want to grow up.

Do them the honor of reaching for something far beyond you.

It won’t be noticeable but it will be felt.

Do the book and forget it.

Do not strive to be known as the author of . . .

Your next book will be harder, and so on.

You cannot grow if you repeat past successes."

-M.B. Goffstein 2009

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I've been working on a few new book dummies (in preparation for the fast-approaching summer SCBWI conference).  They are from very different worlds... but I am enjoying hopping back and forth between them.

is a poem about how the heart can open, close and open again.

is a story about a small shoe shop, the factory outlet shoe store across the street, and what happens 
on a day when the North and the East winds come to town, looking to buy shoes...

Here are a few images from SoreFEET...

Soon the winds approached Wesley McNub's FACTORY OUTLET SHOE STORE.

And so...the North and the East wind both came to be in Ned's shoe shop....

...and were soon shopping for shoes.

Yesterday, as I was adding color to these drawings of the North and the East winds, my father-in-law was reading to my daughter from Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories.  

It was one of my very favorite books as a child, but she and I have just begun to read them.  So this was a story I hadn't heard since my mother read it to me when I was a little girl.  His story telling and language are as captivating now as they were then.  Considering what I was drawing, I especially enjoyed this bit...

"A little blue wind was blowing 
and the many balloons tied to the braids of the six girls 
swung up and down and slow and fast whenever the blue wind 
went up and down and slow and fast.....

The first little girl put her thumb under her chin, looked up at her six balloons floating 
in the little blue wind over her head, and said: 
'Balloons are wishes.  The wind made them.  
The west wind makes the red balloons.  The south wind makes the blue.  
The yellow and the green balloons come from the east wind and the north wind.' "

-Carl Sandburg
from Rootabaga Stories

my heart, my heart

I've been working on some new images for my portfolio, as well as two new book dummies 
(getting ready for the summer SCBWI conference in LA).   

Here are a few images from one of the dummies, my heart, my heart:

my heart can be tiny

my heart can be large

my heart is a fence

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Another shoe shop sketch, this time of Mabeline and Meghan McKnight:

"...agreeing, for the first time ever, on something."