NOTES FROM BOLOGNA! from two CAT artists there….

 

  1. What lead to your decision to visit the Bologna Children’s Book Fair this year?                            FIRST   KATY and then CONSTANZE follows

Katy: Several things motivated my decision to attend the fair. First, as an illustrator and college art professor, I was curious to see all that was out there in the children’s book world. I wanted to see what kind of artwork was being produced, what new trends were emerging in the industry, and who I might meet to broaden my network. Secondly, I love to travel and Italy especially is dear to my heart since I studied there as a student. I’ve always wanted to attend ever since I discovered the fair existed, and was able to go finally as part of a professional development grant (key component!)
Fair image Katy and ConConstanze VonKitzing & Katy Betz Bologna!

Constanze: I’m always going, as it’s really next door for me, living in Germany. It’s such a wonderful fair where you can meet everyone from around the globe, enjoy the first rays of real sun and eat lots of amazing food. At the fair I meet with editors and publishers to discuss projects and new ideas. I also enjoy the focus on children’s publishing, there’s no distraction and so much inspiration and input. This year was especially exciting, as Germany was the guest country and there where many things happening around that, like exhibitions, talks etc, and I got invited to talk at a podium’s discussion about “international illustration.”

Fair imagefrom panel Constanze was part of…in middle, her artwork!

 

  1. Was it what you expected? Yes and no. I expected it to be overwhelmingly awesome, and it was. I also expected it to be somewhat easy to network with publishers, but it wasn’t. They were there for rights, not to talk with illustrators. The overall experience was full of high’s and low’s – one moment I would meet a really cool illustrator, author, translator, or editor, but the next moment, I’d be roaming the giant exhibition halls desperate for someone to pay attention to the fact that I was an illustrator wanting to leave a sample postcard. Despite the feeling of being ignored, I was able to successfully hand out several postcards and was lucky enough to land three portfolio reviews! I didn’t wait in line like several other illustrators, but instead kept wandering around looking for publishers that were selling books with work similar to mine.  Then I would approach them and say, “Hi, I’m an illustrator and was wondering if anyone is available to look at my portfolio, and if I could leave a sample?” The response was usually, “no one is here, but I will take a sample and pass it on.” Only a few publishers were not taking samples at all, and only a few who were willing to look at my portfolio.

 

It was great! Seeing my published books on the shelves gave me a boost, talking in front of quite an audience was so exciting, though admittedly I was seriously nervous beforehand. I was so happy to see my professor again and very proud to see some former students walking around with their first published books. I had many meetings with publishers I met before, so there weren’t long-winded introductions, but I presented my new ideas as they where and all of them were accepted, I was offered another project and during our dinner sessions, my author friend and me came up with a couple of new ideas too. This sounds great! It is, but when I came back home and had a closer look at my schedule and the fact that the Kindergarden classes were closed the week after, I felt like collapsing with a nervous break down, so I’m still figuring out HOW to actually do all this!
Fair image ConsConstanze with one of her books from Germany

 

  1. What did the Fair uniquely provide for artists from all over the world? It provided camaraderie – I felt like a citizen of the world! Even though everyone was from different countries, we all had a common interest being children’s books, which was very encouraging and inspiring. The Fair also revealed pictorial trends and cultural aesthetics of every country. It was a huge research and development opportunity. I collected catalogs from at least 30 different countries, all which showcase their current book list and publisher contact info. It also provided an opportunity to meet companies who are developing virtual and augmented reality apps for children’s books. Overall it revealed to me that the children’s illustration market is larger than I realized, and that countries are open and eager for collaboration.

 

You get this massive creative impact through exhibitions, books, talks, it’s crazy. It’s easy to meet new people and to see them again the next year. I have always felt very much supported by more experienced illustrators, so I’m now trying to pass this on. You can meet people from all over the globe and connect, I met illustrators in the past who I call close friends now, there’s many evening parties and dinners, where you can approach editors and publishers informally.

bologna booth france        bologna booth taiwan

  1. How was it to meet another CAT artist there and share some experiences?  It was so cool to meet Constanze! She introduced me to her friends who were also illustrators and writers from Germany, and they all made me feel welcome to be there. It was like meeting a distant relative for the first time, where you have an immediate rapport because you know you’re family, even though you don’t really know each other that well yet. I attended one of the Illustrator Cafe panels that Constanze was on and learned a lot about the mentality of being an international illustrator. It was also very inspiring!

 

SO COOL!!!😀 I was glad that we made an appointment beforehand, as the fair turned out to be so busy. So, the one thing I can say was that I wished we had had MORE time together, but it actually felt like knowing Katy, as she was so easy to get along with and in knowing that we are part of the CAT family. So Katy, I really hope to see you again next year!!!!❤

 

  1. Any advice for others who might visit in the future?  Yes. The Fair has an “illustrator’s wall” where you can pin up posters, postcards, biz cards, etc. It’s a great opportunity for advertising yourself but it gets a little insane. The key to success, as was demonstrated by those with experience, is repetition. One stroll along the wall and you see several people have pinned their cards every 3 feet. Next time I will do the same. I was shocked and disappointed to find out that someone had taken down one of my posters and replaced it with their stuff even though I claimed that spot first! Every inch literally gets filled up, so come prepared to dominate or be drowned. The fourth day of the fair is not necessary to attend unless you just feel like wandering around. Everyone is focused on packing up and leaving, and not interested in stopping to talk. Also, don’t wait until the end to buy books. Several of the ones I wanted were sold out. But I found them online so it worked out, especially considering I didn’t have to pack them in my suitcase. Another thing would be to learn basic Italian. My experience with the locals in Bologna was richer for it. I got hearty handshakes and pats on the back, free food and big smiles for making the effort.:)

bologna artists     bologna booths

Take a friend! I’ve been attending the fair for many, many times now, but it is still overwhelming and the best thing then is to go out into the sun, have a cappuccino and talk about things. It can be tough to see HOW many illustrators there are, how many books are published, to not always get nice replies to simple questions, like “May I show you my portfolio”. It is very tiring and can really help to know someone there. The other advice is: try to make appointments in advance. With publishers but also with other illustrators or anyone really, but this gives a sort of structure. Have your portfolio ready always. I once showed my works to another illustrator and didn’t realize that a publisher was taking a quick look too – I left with 2 new projects! Have handouts that stand out, there’s SO MUCH there, so try to stand out even more. Try to find out about some evening exhibitions and mark them on your map. Meet new people at the fair and have lunch or dinner together.

THANK YOU CANSTANZE AND KATY!!! wonderful!  I had visited the Fair in 2004 for just one day, and this did bring me back to the fun, creative atmosphere and overwhelming  but inspiring feelings one experiences!  ALMOST like being there…. almost.  I encourage all artists who might be able to go, TO GO!  and do bring a friend! I was generally alone there (for the Fair), and like any museum or big event, sharing and talking about what you see and feel is helpful to make it real and ‘hold onto it’.  Maybe you’ll bump into Constanze there another year!  

 

 

 

 

 

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LOVELY EARTH DAY IMAGE…. Melissa Iwai

this good news and image seemed SO appropriate for Earth Day and week!!!  we must appreciate the fleeting moments of cherry blossoms and days of spring and our lives.   Congratulations Melissa Iwai  for winning an honorable mention and award for the Japanese Festival Poster contest for Central Park.   Enjoy your new Nikon…and the festival. 😉

Iwai new york spriing...Japanese poster

I’m an Honorable Mention in the Japan Day Art Contest for this year! ”  Melissa Iwai 

 

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CAT NIP: transitions…

I wrote that I’d spoken to two groups of college students recently (Ringling College of Art and Design and William & Mary here in Wmsbrg).  It’s gotten me thinking of TRANSITIONS in life…so many of them! almost constant in fact.  Then last night I went to a yoga class being held in the main gallery of the Muscarelle Museum of Art,  The show on the walls is amazing! There are 250 frames prints of the five complete sets of Hiroshige’s The 53 Stations of the Tokaido….never before seen all together.  How full of detail with a sense of travel and wonder, and yet how peaceful.  Perfect backdrop for relaxing yet strenuous yoga.

yoga in gallaryjust part of the very full room!

At the end of the class the instructor mentioned the transition from the relaxation and  self-awareness of a session of yoga back into our real world … and the transition that many of the students there would be making soon as they graduated into their yet unknown ‘real world.’  A SIGN FOR ME!  There are so many transitions we experience in life and in art:  Learning to teaching; grey tone scales; black and white to color; middle tone to chiaroscuro; abstract to realism; action to rest; health to sickness; being single to marriage commitment; childless to parenthood to children leaving; youth to old age; birth to death….and so so many in between.

How an artist and person travels these transitions tells their personal one of a kind ‘story’… just as the prints of Hiroshige tell of his travels.   One step at a time.  Some steps are missteps and that is ok.  It is often how we learn and grow and become stronger.

I wanted to share a list of some Do’s and Don’t I promised the students for their career moves generally….to help with all transitions I think! :) Now jump into the mystery!

DO                                                                              DON’T

Be MEMORABLE                                                BE AFRAID

Remember: ‘2 second’ rule (judgements)       Show 3 or more styles all at once

DO HUMOR                                                         Be Boring

Be HONEST… always                                          Make excuses

Go for Promotional Moments                           Be generic

Manage your career                                             Forget this IS a business

Use comfortable, spontaneous line                  Be stiff or too tight

Turn down bad jobs                                             Take too many jobs…miss deadlines!

Ask questions                                                        Ever assume

Be true to yourself                                                Show imperfect samples

Work Hard                                                             Forget to have FUN and PLAY!

 

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William & Mary Art Class talk…..

William and Mary artclass talk april 16Lizzi, me, and Kirsten from Wm & Mary art

I had the great pleasure of speaking to the Senior Class of Art students at William & Mary here in Williamsburg last evening.  Most were fine arts majors (these two had interest in our industry!) but I made my presentation be all inclusive of the various journeys they might experience when they graduate this spring.  Since our industry is all about STORY TELLING, I started with telling them my story of being a fine art major like them, and oil painter as well, working for a NYC magazine, then having a family of 3 while continuing to paint and draw, helping begin a  RGA Art Guild in Ridgefield CT, bringing performing arts to all the schools there (PYP still going?) , organizing various artist in residence programs in schools, doing house portraits for most realtors in town, etc. till the day a pulmonary Dr. told me I could NO LONGER PAINT WITH OILS…or anything else till I got my asthma under control!

Life changes happen at times in a BLINK OF AN EYE.  I’d told the students and SCBWI members at Ringling School of Art and Design the same thing when talking with them end of Feb.  But we persevere and find other paths.  Art is what we ARE more than what we DO.  And there are so many ways to engage in  it and share it.  I took watercolor classes (only paint I was allowed), worked in an art store briefly; did Interior Design for a company for over 3 years; got half way through a Masters in Art Therapy (until CT froze hiring Art Therapists!); worked for a friend a bit to learn computers etc.; and then began working for an agent in the children’s book market who had just moved into Ridgefield!  AND FOUND MY NEW LOVE!

3 1/2 years later I started the CATugeau Artist Agency LLC!  Along the way these 22 years since 1994, I helped three others begin their own agencies…one my daughter in law Nicole, who’s taken it to great heights! (Tugeau2) and two years ago my daughter, who was about 5 when the Dr. stopped my life plan in its tracks, joined me in the agency.  Yes dreams do come true!  ( I must mention that one of my sons, Jeremy, Nicole’s husband,  is also a gallery oil painter, illustrator, and now has his masters and is teaching art in a wonderful Cleveland school….another ‘story’ in art.)

Last night I also talked about their ‘letting the art do the talking’…and how to promote themselves and their art so it could do the talking – in whatever field they choose.  Also to never put anything out there that isn’t strong or good … each piece ‘tells a story’ people will learn to trust or not trust.  I shared a bit about what a business is, and that right from the start they should act like one…goals, relationships, promotion, records and files, accountability etc.  I do hope some little fragment maybe helped as they ponder the new beginning that is about to start for them….in the blink of an eye!

Congratulations to all the students, art and otherwise, from William and Mary…and Ringling College as well. Let the adventures soon begin!

 

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award for Gendron and her Nutcracker!

our artist Cathy Gendron illustrated the much reviewed and loved The Nutcracker Comes to America from Lerner Books…and it has just won the “Dames of America’s 2016 Young Readers Award!”  please check this out:  https://cda1890.org/2016-book-awards

congratulations all!  Nutcracker Cover final art to Tugeau (2).jpgGendron fabulous book to own!!

PP-26-27-Taking a bow final (3).jpgGENDRON         Pg 6-7 Vaudeville final (3).jpgGendron

 

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It’s SPRING!…Lets Go to the HARDWARE STORE! Launch!

Iwai Hardware Cover   tools IWAI

We all want to get things fixed up for spring! and especially when moving into a new home for the family.  So some of the storybook family says Let’s Go to the Hardware Store in this most delightful book from Anne Rockwell and illustrated by our own MELISSA IWAI! Published by Christy Ottaviano from Henry Holt……Happy Launch Day!

Melissa put so much detail into this book with many cut papers carefully placed just so.  That fun inclusive detail is what readers will go back again and again to see and re-see.  As their parents work with the tools we all must have, the kids will remember seeing them ‘at the Hardware Store.’  Such fun!   Good for boys and girls (and parents!) of all sizes, ages and ethnic backgrounds…. make it a family trip…….!

 

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‘Catch a Kiss’ -sent from Kirkus for McLeod !…

There is much talk these days about diversity and the need for more stories to include the mix of characters that is todays reality.  We’ve noticed several Kirkus reviews lately actually mentioning “the little white girl” as description in their reviews which has seemed a bit odd to be honest.  Why does it matter in a review what ‘color’ (particularly if ‘white’) the main characters are, unless it’s the point of the book, or the review?  But this review mentions instead how the “medium-brown skin” brings a “downright refreshing discovery” to the story when the text does NOT make diversity the point of the story.  This IS worth mentioning, and we’re so glad they did.

McKleod Kiss cover-copy           McLeod interior Kiss

 

Subject: Kirkus Reviews Clipping – Catch A Kiss

CATCH A KISS Author: Deborah Diesen Illustrator: Kris Aro McLeod

Issue Date: April 1, 2016 Online Publish Date: March 16, 2016 Mama and Izzie play at blowing kisses in the garden. Mama’s first kiss, a “tiny, round” one, alights on the tip of Izzie’s nose. Izzie catches the second, a “zigzag” one, in the crook of her elbow. But when Mama sends a triple-decker, Izzie’s able to catch only the first two, distressing the little girl. She jumps and flaps to no avail. Mama holds her daughter close to comfort her; she points “to a tiny sparkle high in the sky” that drifts down “in a shimmery glitter.” It’s just as Mama says: “Mama-kisses ALWAYS come find you.” As stories go, this is a slight but sweet one, a candy-floss variation on zillions of others. But McLeod’s delicate, fine-lined watercolors elevate it in depicting its loving mother-daughter pair with medium-brown skin, brown eyes, and ebullient brown curls (Izzie’s a little bit more unruly than her mama’s). Though nothing in the text points to specific ethnicity, in a sea of mother-love books featuring either white characters or cute, fuzzy animals, this twosome is a downright refreshing discovery. Broad-leaved plants and waving tendrils give their garden almost an underwater look; Izzie’s shift appears to be made of the same pink fabric as her mother’s blouse. McLeod never depicts the errant kiss, leaving both Izzie and readers to imagine it as they will. A sweet mother-daughter idyll that provides a mirror for any number of brown-skinned readers. (Picture book. 3-6)  

CONGRATULATIONS KRIS…. wonderful, sensitive, beautiful job with these illustrations!

 

 

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