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.

 

ZenoAlya_front

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

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ZenoAlya_backspine

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

ZenoAlya_thumb_enlarged

Thumbnail Sketch

ZenoAlya_prelimsketch

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

 

Monday Inspiration

My dad is an elementary art teacher and was recently reading from a book to his students with advice from Maurice Sendak to young artists. He sent me some of the quotes, and I couldn’t help but share them here:

An illustration is an enlargement, an interpretation of the text, so that the reader will comprehend the words better. As an artist, you are always serving the words. You must never illustrate exactly what is written. You must find a space in the text so that the pictures can do the work.  Then you must let the words take over where words do it best. It’s a funny kind of juggling act.

As an aspiring artist, you should strive for originality of vision.  Have something to say and a fresh way of saying it.  No story is worth the writing, no picture worth the making, if it is not a work of the imagination.  ~Maurice Sendak

Here’s to a week filled with  imagination.

Inspiration this Week

Friends shared three links with me this week that were inspiring:

 

16 Quotes About Writing for Children (Article on Mental Floss)
http://mentalfloss.com/article/51869/16-quotes-about-writing-children

One that especially resonates right now is from Margaret Wise Brown:

“In this modern world where activity is stressed almost to the point of mania, quietness as a childhood need is too often overlooked. Yet a child’s need for quietness is the same today as it has always been—it may even be greater—for quietness is an essential part of all awareness. In quiet times and sleepy times a child can dwell in thoughts of his own, and in songs and stories of his own.” 

16 quotes writing for children

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The Pixel Painter, by Josh Bogdan and Ryan Lasko (Video on Vimeo)
http://vimeo.com/70748579

A sweet 8-minute documentary on Hal Lasko (Grandpa), a 97-year-old who spends all his time creating paintings on the computer.

pixel painter

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Adrift, by Simon Christen (Video on Vimeo)
http://vimeo.com/69445362

Breathtaking footage of fog rolling over San Francisco. Video meditation at it’s best.

Adrift

 

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

DollBonesBook_stack

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.

DollBonesBook_cover

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!

DollBonesBook_title

DollBonesBook_interior

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

Awesome!!

DollBonesBook_back

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.