Every week or so, Debbie Ridpath Ohi shares new art, writing and resources for those who read, write and illustrate books for young people. The goal of the Inkygirl Word Count Challenge simple: to inspire writers to write.
Things have been crazybusy lately, so I've only had a chance to post about this now. And of course I NEED to post about this, because how often am I going to have a chance to say that I shared a stage with the amazing JUDY BLUME?!? Needless to say, I was a wee bit excited:
Even now, I find myself looking those books and still marvel that it all really happened. That those are MY illustrations on those covers and inside the chapter books. Books by JUDY BLUME.
Another highlight of an evening packed with highlights: having my agent (Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Ltd) in the audience during this event, plus I got to meet her husband:
Another familiar face in the audience: Mindy Yuksel. It was great to meet her sons (one of whom had entered my Look Again Found Object Art Challenge last summer), who presented me with a box of Turkish Delight (yum).
The Magic Words by Cheryl Klein: Great book for kidlit writers! - YouTube
I rarely post about books on the craft of writing because I was being inundated by requests from publicists and authors to review their books for Inkygirl readers. To reiterate: I lack the time or inclination to be an official book reviewer, so please do NOT put me back on your lists. Thank you. :-)
Not only is this a great book for a beginner, but it also has so much wisdom and insight for more experienced writers. I like it because it's straightforward, explains things clearly and makes sense. As I work on my own middle grade novel projects, I sometimes get a bit muddled and discouraged -- revisiting sections in THE MAGIC WORDS helps me get back on track.
Andrea was kind enough to give a bit of behind-the-scenes info about what went into the making of the cover:
I enjoyed working on the cover for this book especially because it was a very close collaboration with art director Cecilia Yung, editor Susan Kochan and the designer of the book, Jaclyn Reyes. We went back and forth multiple times to make sure the poses and expressions of the dragon and the girls were just right. The dragon had to be imposing and it had to be clear that he could be fearful, but we wanted to add a bit of swagger, too, to hint at possibilities in his character. The poses of the girls had to show their opposite characters and at the same time reflect their weariness of the dragon and their brave resolve to stand up to him. You can see from the sketches how the poses and expressions change ever so slightly in each version.
One thing I love about the cover design is that, thanks to Jaclyn's suggestion, the curves of the dragon's body ever so slightly suggest the lines of the yin yang symbol. I also love Wei's pose ( the girl in red ). If you look at the sketches you can see that we went with a different pose first, but felt that it was not quite right yet. I went back to my research and found this kung fu pose that to me shows perfectly the courage and audacity in Wei's character, and her resolve to protect her loved ones.
Oh, and another thing I am very happy about is that we were able to make it a wrap around cover! So on the back you'll get to see a bit more of the dragon, the landscape, and also some of the townspeople on the bridge.
You can find out more about Andrea Offermann and her work at her website, on Facebook and on Twitter (she JUST joined Twitter, yay).
Over the years, I've been accumulating all the "How <title> Was Created" guides for young writers and illustrators, advice from children's book creators I've interviewwed, plus a few tips for not-so-young book creators. Feel free to browse all this info as well as my free picture book thumbnail templates at my CREATING PICTURE BOOKS resource.