NESCBWI 2011 Conference Recap

Yesterday was a great day for RISD-CE Children’s Book Illustrators!  Collectively, we won more than half of the poster contest awards – evidence of how wonderful our professors are and what a talented group of students are in the program!

This year’s poster contest theme was “Reimaging a Classic” – we were asked to redesign the cover of a book we felt was a milestone in children’s literature.

  • Jeanette Bradley won first place non published, third place people’s choice and best of show. As part of the award, her poster will be exhibited at the Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA in November.

  • Kristina Hickman won third place published. (That’s right – Kristina is now in the published category, after the publication of Snow Secrets)

  • Caroline Gray won third place in the unpublished category for her 3-D Peter Rabbit cover.
  • Lin Norman-Lyman won second place people’s choce for a 3-D depiction of Pippi Longstocking. 
  •  Cindy Cornwall exhibited a digital redesign of The Secret Garden.

  • Milanka Reardon exhibited an urban retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

Several other RISD CBI folks attended the conference. Some of us had portfolio reviews or meetings with editors. I hope many will post their experiences at the conference.

(Cross-posted with our RISD group blog Drawing Together)


Redesigning a Classic

The NEWSCBWI conference theme this year is “Celebrating Milestones.” For the poster conference, illustrators have been asked to redesign the cover of a classic work of children’s literature. I chose one of my childhood favorites, a book I still re-read as an adult occasionally – The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I’m experimenting more with the combination of digital artwork and fabric – this piece was done entirely in Photoshop.

I am honored that this cover redesign was chosen by the staff of R. Michelson Galleries to be included in the 22nd Annual Illustrator’s Exhibit from November 1, 2011 – January 31, 2012.  To be included in a show featuring Jules Feiffer is truly amazing.

I am also thankful to my fellow SCBWI members who voted for me in the poster contest. I am so honored to win third place in the People’s Choice category and first in the Unpublished category. Thank you, everyone!

Playtime Read: Noah’s Mittens

Today we were searching the house for a toy, and from under the couch we unearthed a forgotten library book titled “Noah’s Mittens.”  This turned out to be a fantastical tale of Noah discovering felt on the ark, when the animals get tossed around in the rain and the sheep felt themselves.  Strange, but with appealing illustrations.

The last page of the book contained a historical blurb about felt.  Who knew that archeologists have discovered 8,000 year old felt objects in Turkey or that the Chinese used to make armour out of felt thousands of years ago?  Who knew there where sheep living in China thousands of years ago?


Noah’s Mittens by Lise Lunge-Larsen.  Illustrated by Matthew Trueman

After reading the book twice, I was inspired to find the wool I’d ordered a couple months back and try to make felt.   An hour and lot of hot soapy water later, we had two beads, a snake, and a bracelet.   We discovered that making wool isn’t as quick and easy as it sounded in the book, though it was a wonderful sensory experience.   Very calming.

After trying out the wet woolmaking, we gave the dry felting technique a spin.  We discovered it was easier to make flat designs with the felting needle, but that it really, really, really hurt when you accidentally stabbed yourself with it.  The needle has tiny barbs and is three inches long, so you can imagine how it felt.  (pun intended).