Sophie Blackall Illustration

Drawings and Snippets and Breaking News, (but more snippets than breaking news).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

And the Winners are...

Congratulations to the following schools, which will each receive a set of ten picture books!
AB Combs Elementary, Raleigh NC
Arcadia Local Schools, Arcadia OH
Aurora School, Oakland CA
Chamberlin School South, Burlington VT
Community Academy of Philadelphia, Philadelphia PA
Eagle Cliffs Elementary, Billings MT
East street Elementary School, Ludlow MA
Emiliano Zapata Academy, Chicago IL
Fred A. Toomer Elementary, Atlanta GA
George C. Weimer Elementary, Saint Bans, WV
Mackintosh Academy, Boulder, CO
Mt. Kisco Elementary School, Mt. Kisco, NY
Prince Edward County Elementary School, Farmville VA
P.S. 63, New York City NY
Scroggins Elementary School, Houston TX
Stephens Elementary, School, Rowlett TX
Walker Upper Elementary School, Charlottesville VA
West Birdville Elementary School, Fort Worth TX
West Mound Elementary School, Columbus OH
West Middle School, Grand Blanc, MI 

Thank you to all who bid, all who entered, all who tweeted and reposted and lent their support to this endeavor. In particular, Susannah Richards, John Schu, Donalyn Miller, Schwartz & Wade, Greenlight Bookstore, Emily Jenkins, my studio mates, John Bemelmans Marciano, Brian Floca, Edward Hemingway and Sergio Ruzzier, and Galatea, who made an excellent hatstand.

Winning librarians, we will work to gather your books and ship them out in the next two weeks.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

This Drawing Could Be Yours to Keep!

Help me turn this drawing into picture books for schools!

A few weeks ago I visited the Eric Carle Museum at story time. I read A Fine Dessert and did a painting demonstration, (which was pretty much an ode to frisket, the masking film which allows you to leave areas white when you do a watercolor wash.) Afterwards, signing books, a librarian leaned in close and sighing, said, “I adore this book. I wish I could buy it for my school, but we have no budget for new books this year.”

Sadly this was a refrain I heard all Summer. (And yes, it occurred to me that they might be trying to find a polite excuse to avoid buying my books, but it was a general concern!) Librarians in public schools across the country are lamenting budget cuts. Which is a particular shame considering this is being called a golden year for picture books.

I looked at the painting I made at the Carle, and thought, Maybe there’s a way of turning this drawing into a pile of new picture books. Because while there’s nothing as comforting as curling up with an old favorite, there’s something about starting a new school year with a stack of fresh ones. So here’s the plan:

I have listed the painting on eBay. The auction is live and runs until September 22nd. I am hoping it will go for a significant amount, enough to buy at least six sets of ten 2015 picture books.
Which ten books, you ask? Well this was hard, because there are SO many good ones. I consulted librarians and educators I trust and admire, (special thank you to Susannah Richards!) and was inspired by Donalyn Miller and Mr.Schu’s #pb10for10 lists. Here are ten new picture books I wish every kid had access to:

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illus. by Sydney Smith
Wolfie by Ame Dyckman, illus. by Zachariah OHora
Yard Sale by Eve Bunting, illus. by Lauren Castillo
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
Swan by Laurel Snyder, illus. by Julie Morstad
A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins, illus. by Sophie Blackall
Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins, ills. by Paul O Zelinsky
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illus. by Christian Robinson
Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier
Float by Daniel Miyares

I have reached out to my local independent bookstore Greenlight, who have generously agreed to ship the books to the schools.
So now I just need
a) People to bid on the drawing. Click here!
b) Librarians and teachers to enter the draw. (Which you can do by leaving your name and the name and location of your school in the comments below. Only US schools, I’m afraid.)
c)  You to help spread the word!

It’s a small idea, but if it works, it’ll make me happy. (And if it does work, maybe I can do this regularly!)

Thank you so much for your help!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Finding Winnie - Part One

When I was a college student we were always being asked to show our process. We were encouraged to submit our doodles and sketch books and research which contributed towards our final grade. Problem was, I didn't doodle. I never kept a sketch book. I hated spending time gathering reference materials. I just wanted to get on with it. I was rather gung ho back then. So, the night before an assignment was due, I would scramble to retroactively produce convincing notes and scribbles and thumbnails. I'm a better person now. I floss more often than just before a dental visit. I pay estimated tax most quarters. I keep a sketchbook and I do lots and lots of research.
I have had a such a lovely response from teachers and librarians about the blog posts describing the making of the illustrations for A Fine Dessert, (THANK YOU!) that I've decided to do the same thing with my new book Finding Winnie, which comes out on October 20th. Seeing as the book is finished, printed, bound and sitting right now in boxes in a warehouse, these posts will show the process retroactively. But I swear it's all real!
Finding Winnie is the true story of the real bear that inspired Winnie the Pooh. It's written by Lindsay Mattick and published by Little, Brown and I can't wait to tell you about it. Stay tuned!