ZENO and ALYA Cover Artwork

I created artwork for the cover of a sweet and emotional middle grade novel, The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya, by author Jane Kelley, released earlier this Fall.

The book goes between two characters’ stories: Zeno, a newly orphaned parrot, and Alya, an 11-year old girl struggling to recover from leukemia treatments. Jane Kelley’s story is beautiful and heart-felt, and I wanted the cover artwork to convey the emotional quality of the story within.

 

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The book design, by Ashley Halsey, is so lovely.

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A little behind-the-scenes, here’s the original rough thumbnail and then the sketch.

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Thumbnail Sketch

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Full size sketch

This was another project that came out of my 2012 SCBWI winning trip to New York, where I had a portfolio consultation with Liz Szabla, editor in chief at Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan. As my husband and I were looking for the address on my way to the meeting, we stopped to take pictures in front of the famous Flatiron Building.

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Standing in front of the Flatiron Building (and the Macmillan offices) in January 2012

We continued to search everywhere for the Macmillan address all around the buildings nearby, and I was getting flustered that we couldn’t find it anywhere. We finally realized that Feiwel and Friends was actually inside the Flatiron Building. I was delighted to be able to enter and do business in this iconic New York spot!

Working on the artwork with Liz Szabla and creative director Rich Deas was a joy and a breeze.
Thank you to Jane Kelley and Feiwel and Friends!

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More about the book:

An orphaned African grey parrot who can speak 127 words. A girl so sick, she has forgotten what it means to try. Fate––and a banana nut muffin––bring them together. Will their shared encounter help them journey through storms inside and out? Will they lose their way, or will they find what really matters?

Here is a story that will remind readers how navigating so many of life’s desperate adventures requires friendship and, above all, hope.

 

 

CODY book announcement

I’m happy to be able to announce a new middle grade book series that I’ll be creating illustrations for called NOT EVEN CODY and CODY AND THE MEEN KIDS, by author Tricia Springstubb with publisher Candlewick Press. I’ve always admired the artistry of Candlewick books, and they’ve been one of the publishers I’ve hoped to work with for many years. I’m so thrilled that time has come! Here’s the official Publisher’s Marketplace announcement:

CODY character sample sneak peak

CODY character sample sneak peak

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Eliza Wheeler’s illustrations for Tricia Springstubb’s NOT EVEN CODY and CODY AND THE MEEN KIDS, about a brave, tender-hearted girl who’s always ready to help others out, to Elizabeth Bicknell at Candlewick, for publication in Spring 2015, by Jennifer Rofe at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tricia Springstubb has created super lovable characters in the CODY books, and it’s been fun bringing them to life with the black and white chapter illustrations.

Tricia is also the author of the picture book Phoebe and Digger,  and the middle grade books Mo Wren, Lost and Found and What Happened on Fox Street. Visit Tricia here: www.triciaspringstubb.com

book-cover-phoebe-and-digger-tricia-springstubb  book-cover-mo-wren-lost-and-found  book-cover-what-happened-on-fox-street

 

Project News: WHEREVER YOU GO

Exciting news! I’ll be illustrating a new picture-book
by Pat Zietlow Miller called “Wherever You Go”, with Little Brown Books!

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When I saw this announcement in Publishers Weekly Rights Report yesterday, it was extra exciting to scroll down to see illustrator friend and fellow mentee Brian Won’s picture sitting right there next to my own. Awesome, Brian!

I’ve just learned that Pat Zietlow Miller is from Madison, Wisconsin; it’s so cool to be working on a fellow Wisconsinite’s story. She has a new book coming out in a couple weeks, SOPHIE’S SQUASH with Schwartz & Wade (Aug 6, ’13), illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf.

Over a year ago, in January 2012, I went to New York on the SCBWI prize trip to meet with publishers. There, I met editor Connie Hsu and art director Patti Ann Harris at Little Brown Books. After our meeting I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to work with these amazing women, and I’m really thankful to them for choosing me to work on this sweet book.

Outside the Little Brown offices in January 2012

Outside the Little Brown offices in January 2012

 

 

 

 

Doll Bones

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I’m not sure there’s anything more exciting to an illustrator than the moment you get to see your artwork in the final printed book. Better yet, a stack of printed books! I’m so grateful that Simon and Schuster chose me to illustrate Holly Black’s fabulous new middle-grade novel.

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You can’t see it in these photos, but the cover has this silky matte finish, with the title and doll in gloss. It’s a great effect!

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In the acknowledgements, Holly writes:
“Thanks to Eliza Wheeler for her creepifyingly beautiful illustrations.”

Awesome!!

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And when we were at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, I had to document DOLL BONES sharing the shelf with illustrator friend Andrea Offermann’s work on GHOST NIGHT, by Cornelia Funke.

Powells_dollbones with ghost night

I’ll be excited to read the book again since I know the revision process was still underway after I had finished the artwork. My mom said she had to read it during the daytime, because it’s a little too scary at night. But my 9-year old niece says, “It’s not so much scary as it is creepy.”

To learn more about Holly Black, visit her website.
To buy Doll Bones, click here:

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Interview on InkyGirl

I have some amazing Kidlit artist friends, and at the top of that list sits Debbie Ohi. Debbie is an artist, writer, musician, gamer, and social media fiend. She generously shares great industry info with everyone around her. We have both been on similar career paths since we met in 2010 during the SCBWI summer conference mentorship meeting, and it’s been so fun to share the experience with her.

Debbie interviews me on one of her blogs, Inkygirl.com, a guide for those who write and draw for young people.

We talk about Miss Maple’s Seeds, tips for aspiring illustrators, the book launch party, and illustrations for Doll Bones by Holly Black.

Please check it out here!

 

Debbie is the illustrator of I’M BORED, by actor/comedian Micheal Ian Black, and is also currently illustrating his next picture book, NAKED. To learn more about Debbie, visit her site: http://debbieohi.com/

BookPage Illustrated Interview

BookPage featured me in their April edition of “Meet The Illustrator”, with this super fun illustrated interview.

Find a print copy of BookPage at your local library or bookstore, or online at bookpage.com.

BookPage is a monthly book review publication distributed to more than 450,000 avid readers through subscribing bookstores and public libraries. Founded in 1988 and located in Nashville, TN, BookPage serves as a broad-based selection guide to the best new books published every month. The tone is upbeat and literate, focusing on bestsellers as well as new discoveries. All of the content from the print edition is posted on BookPage.com each month.

Join Me: Pasadena LitFest 5/11/13

All those in the Pasadena area, please stop by to see me at the Pasadena LitFest this Saturday, 5/11/13!  I’ll be reading Miss Maple’s Seeds for the kids at 10:30, then signing at the Once Upon A Time bookstore booth.  Here are the details:

10:30-11:00am: Readings & Activities with Children’s Book Authors & Illustrators! 

Fabulous Children's Book Authors!

Authors and illustrators of gorgeous new children’s picture books will share their work with the little ones!
Bethany Barton reading This Monster Cannot Wait!
Eliza Wheeler reading Miss Maple’s Seeds
Paul Rogers, illustrator of Wynton Marsalis’s Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! hosting a children’s art activity!
(Octavia Butler Stage)

Signing hosted afterwards at the Once Upon A Time bookstore booth:

11:15AM  Signing at the Once Upon a Time Books Booth

Bethany Barton (This Monster Cannot Wait!)
Paul Rogers (Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!)
Eliza Wheeler (Miss Maple’s Seeds)

http://litfestpasadena.org

Hope to see you there!

BOOKSTORE EVENTS

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Please join me this Saturday and Sunday at two wonderful bookstores in the Los Angeles area for story-time! I will read Miss Maple’s Seeds to the kids and have fun coloring sheets to give away. If you know anyone in the area who might be interested, please spread the word!

Saturday, April 27, 2013:
Mrs. Nelson’s Toy & Book Shop, 11:00 AM
1030 Bonita Avenue, La Verne, CA 91750, (909) 599-4558
http://www.mrsnelsons.com/event/special-story-time-eliza-wheeler

Sunday, April 28, 2013:
Pages Bookstore, 2:00 PM
904 Manhattan Ave. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 near 9th Street (right across from Mucho’s), 310-318-0900
http://www.pagesabookstore.com/event/eliza-wheeler-kids-story-time

 

Coming Up: LA Times Festival of Books, and NYT Bestseller List

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Hey all! So in my earlier post this week, gushing over fan art by Mary Lundquist, I made a joke about selling 1 billion books. To be clear – that was very much a joke! BUT, since writing that post I found out that I made the April 28th New York Times Bestseller List for Children’s Picturebooks!!! Understandably, that new fact has turned my previous joke into something of a confusion for my family and friends. I promise I will be the first to let you know when 1 billion Miss Maple’s Seeds exist in the world! Not quite, yet.

I can’t wait to share the NYT Bestseller’s List with you when it comes out on 4/28!  

In other news, I will be at the LA Times Festival of Books this Sunday, 4/21! I’ll be signing books in the Penguin Books booth (#720) from 1:00-1:45 pm. If you’re there, please do stop by to say hi!

The Next Big Thing: A Global Book Tour

When it rains it pours! On top of a book launch, taxes due, and project deadlines, I’ve added some major website technical issues to the list. Pardon the mess around here! Because of this, I’m a little late in posting for this blog tour, but if you don’t tell then I won’t either.

THE NEXT BIG THING: A Global Blog Tour

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Illustration friend and SCBWI mentee Christina Forshay recently tagged me for participation in a global blog tour called The Next Big Thing. The idea originated in Australia and is basically a cool way for authors and/or illustrators to promote their next or latest book.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Miss Maple’s Seeds, just out April 4, 2013 from Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Books.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
The book merges a couple inspirations: a) when I was younger I was obsessed with drawing tiny people living in trees.  b) my grandmas and mom all have green thumbs, and though I don’t have the ability to garden now, I would love to follow in their footsteps and become a gardener one day  c) I was inspired for my character when I first saw fellow illustrator Diane Browning, and drew a little sketch in my notebook of “the acorn woman”, who eventually became Miss Maple.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Picturebook.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a
movie rendition?
I would love to see this animated with claymation, and hmm, who would be the voice of Miss Maple? I can’t think of many older actresses at the moment, but someone with a warm crackly voice would be perfect.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A tiny woman collects and cares for orphan seeds, and teaches them all they need to know before sending them out into the wide world.

6) Who is publishing your book?
The lovely and intelligent Nancy Paulsen of Penguin Books!

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote a first solid draft in under a week. I keep wondering if that will ever happen again!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Miss Rumphius, Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See answer for #2.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The story balances a fun, fictional story with a little bit of education about seeds (types of seeds, what they need to grow, how they travel) hidden inside. Kids love these little micro worlds; parents and teachers will relate to Miss Maple as a caretaker who has to eventually let her seeds set out on their own into the world.

Thank you, Christina Forshay, for incuding me in this fun blog tour!

I pass the torch on to a literary sibling (we share an agent), a talented and super nice guy, Mike Boldt! Mike has a hilarious new book coming out this year called “123 Verses ABC”.  Look for his post next week.