Thursday, December 5, 2013

Another Book Dummy Class is Done

I love teaching "The Book Dummy" at RISD CE. Every class is as exciting as the last, with students bringing in their own manuscripts and creating prototypes of their own children's book, called a "dummy" in the industry.

We begin with storyboards, small thumbnail sketches that help to create the design and pace of the book. Manuscripts are reworked (ie: slashed, revised, honed, refined, and on and on and on!!!)

Alison's story was about
Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

Alison shared a quote she'd heard that summarized the class for her.

The difference between a dream and a goal... 

is a deadline. 

 Twelve weeks passes quickly when you are turning a story into reality, with character development, color studies, layout, design, manuscript revision, and finished art.

It was a joy for me to watch each student bring their ideas into reality.

Karen rewrote a Grimm's folktale.
Jessica dummied up a poem by Peter S. Beagle,
with the author's permission.
Anne worked on a story written by her mother.
Marcela's "Sisters" reflects her own experience of living in two different countries.
Roya and her husband Luc collaborated on a book about Colors.
Sarita wrote her original manuscript in Marlo Garnsworthy's
 Children's Book writing class through RISD CE.
Rebecca's story was about growth and the cycle of life.
Lori Surdat Weinberg's Illustration I class joined us, and I look forward to
seeing many of them in a future Book Dummy class.
...and I brought my own dummy.

               Many thanks to Marcela Staudenmaier for sharing
               her photos of our last class.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Children's Book art at the Society of Illustrators

Building Photo - Today
photo from
Illustrator Judith Moffatt and I traveled to New York to brunch with fellow illustrators and two Highlights for Children editors at the Society of Illustrators at 128 East 63rd Street in New York.

Judith Moffatt at the Society of Illustrators
Founded in 1901, the Society's mission is to promote the art of illustration, to appreciate its history and evolving nature through exhibitions, lectures and education, and to contribute the service of its members to the welfare of the community in large.

Cheryl Kirk Noll, Sharon Vargo, Mary, Ellen Appleby
Rose Mary Berlin arranged for a group to attend an elegant brunch buffet. My favorite part was the fellow who cooked a made-to-order omlette right at the buffet table. Of course, the buffet couldn't hold a candle to Highlights brunch!! 

We then went to the "The Original Art" exhibit, which runs through December 21, 2013. It's an annual exhibit (founded by Dilys Evans in 1980)  celebrating the fine art of children's book illustration. (How appropriate!)

Jennifer Yerkes

This years show features 125 books selected by a jury of illustrators, art directors, and editors.  This year’s Silver Medal winners are Jon Klassen for The Dark (Hachette Book Group / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) and Simona Mulazzani for I Wish I Had... (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). The Gold Medal winner is Jennifer Yerkes for A Funny Little Bird (Sourcebooks / Jabberwocky).

Upper: Peter Brown, Lower: Molly Idle

Some of my favorite art was by Melissa Sweet, Molly Idle, Jill McElmurry, and Jason Chin.

I have a connection to Jason's family... one of those "red thread" stories, where you find yourself with ties to certain people throughout your life.

Jason's mother, Mary was a high-school friend in Delaware. His father, Ray was a grad student when I attended RISD, and taught one workshop in my illustration class. I've always credited Ray for teaching me how to do watercolor washes, and I use his lesson to this day to teach my students.

Ray and Mary's  younger son, Michael was born on the same day as my son, Phil. The Chins moved to Lyme, NH, where another friend of mine lived, as well as Trina Schart Hyman.

Jason went to Syracuse, and I've followed his soaring career ever since. His art from "Island: A Story of the Galapogos" is stunning.

It was exciting to pore over the art of display. From oils to watercolor, cut paper to digital, all of the work is beautifully designed.


front, L to R: Kelley Cunningham, Judith Moffatt, Dolores Motichka
middle: Cheryl Kirk Noll, Mary Wilshire Magnusson, Barbara Lanza, Paige Billin-Frye,
back: Ellen Appleby, Rebecca Thornburgh, Mike Moran, Sharon Vargo, Rose Mary Berlin

PS. Thanks to Judith Moffatt for all of the group shots.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Children's Books in New York

The lion at NYPL, thanks to Wickipedia Commons
Last weekend, I took a magical trip to New York City. My thanks begin with Rose Mary Berlin, who contacted illustrators who had met at past Highlights for Children Illustrator's parties. She arranged for us to meet at the Society of Illustrator's on 63rd Street in New York City.

Fellow illustrator, Judith Moffatt and I bussed down to the city and stayed in the East Village with her friend Ellen. We had a terrific weekend of friends, food, sightseeing, and children's book exhibits.

We began at the New York Public library... the Schwartzman Building where the famous lion protects the front entrance at 42nd and 5th. An exhibit called "The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter," curated by Leonard Marcus, was showing.

The stunning ceiling at the NYPLibrary
Goodnight Moon exhibit
Judith Moffat and me at the
The exhibit started with the oldest known copy of the New-England Primer, where children were taught about the Bible. ("In Adam's Fall, we Sinned All.")

It finished with comics and graphic novels, from Shaun Tan's Arrival to Art Spiegleman's Maus.

In between were original handwritten manuscripts from Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, an original edition of William Blake's Songs of Innocence, which he wrote, illustrated, and printed himself in 1789.

We saw original Pooh stuffed animals, and a Japanese woodblock- printed book from 1720 known as Aka hon, or "red books." These kusa zoshi were especially earmarked for children. Original John Tenniel drawings from "Alice in Wonderland" are also included.
Original Winnie the Pooh toys

I found this book of interest... perhaps an original "pop-up" book? It included a real example for teaching workhouse children how to sew.

Since the exhibit is in the city, a section focused on modern books about New York City, and by New York author/illustrators (of which there are many!) 

A docent leads a tour weekdays at 12:30 and 2:30, and there is no charge.  This fine show runs through March 23, 201.

An excellent article from HornBook explains the process of the curator, Leonard S. Marcus.

Soon, Judy and I were racing off to our brunch at the Society of Illustrators, and more adventures in our Phantom Tollbooth auto. More to come in my next post.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Watercolor studies of Fall Flowers

 I love to garden, so I've been playing around with ways to paint flowers. Here are a few of my studies. This amazing October weather has been calling me, so I began by going outside and painting from my garden. Feverfew on the right, don't know the name on the left, but I couldn't manage to catch the periwinkle violet and burnt cranberry.

Went inside and added a layer of texture
I did another study, using resist first to keep whites, reds and yellows strong.
Trying to use a wet on wet style to give a feeling of flowers and grass

Another study, trying to combine what I'd learned.

More work to come!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Latest Work: Cover for Cobblestone Magazine, October 2013

©Cheryl Kirk Noll, Cover Illustration for October 2013 Cobblestone Magazine
My latest work just hit the newstands... the October cover for
Cobblestone Magazine: Valley Forge, The Real Story. Cobblestone is an American History magazine for young people.

©Cheryl Kirk Noll, "Black Regiment of the American Revolution."
I was pleased when the designer for Cobblestone asked me to do a cover about Valley Forge. I'd already done research about VF when I worked on "The Black Regiment of the American Revolution."

The focus for this illustration was on 17-year old Joseph Plumb Martin. He marched into Valley Forge with the Continental Army in 1777, and it is believed that he kept a journal of his experiences. At the age of 70, he wrote his memoirs, considered the best first-person account of the life of a private soldier in the Revolutionary War.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Susquehanna Sojourn

Lake Hopatcong
For over ten years now, I've been getting together annually with three friends from my college days at Lebanon Valley in Annville, PA. This year we stayed at a cottage in an old Evangelical United Brethern summer church camp near the Susquehanna River. The EUB merged with the Methodist Church in 1968, and the camp is now privately owned. Two of our group had dads who were ministers, and they stayed there as kids.

The first leg of the trip was four hours to Lake Hopatcong, the largest lake in New Jersey, where my friend reigns as Queen of the Castle, overlooking her realm. 

Lyd on the porch
We met our friends at the cottage, where it was quiet and peaceful (except for us. I'm afraid a few of us are raucous laughers, and we were all having a good time!) 

We took a trip to an overlook to see where the East and West branches of the Susquehanna converge. You can tell the East branch by it's muddy color!
Kim, Bert and Lyd in front of the cottage.
Another adorable cottage.

Bert, Kim, Lyd and me, with the Susquehanna

You can see where the east and west branches merge by the color change.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Visit with Mom

It's a long drive to visit my mom, but I make sure to do it at least a few times every year. It's wonderful to stay at her farm, sit on the porch swing, and just hang out!

We had an extra treat this year. A lifelong friend flew up from Florida for her 40th high school reunion and stayed with Mom, too.  My son and husband came along, and we got to see my niece perform with a cast of talented school children in Newark United Methodist's church camp "Music Factory." We also enjoyed a great chicken dinner at my brother's Meeting House.

It was a visit I'll remember fondly.

Judy Heck Lowry and my  mom

An alpaca from "Alpaca Fields." Love the way he eats!

My brother and his wife. Could these tomatoes look any fresher?

It was a treat to gather with most of my family, as well as our family friend, Judy.
The coat id's this Biblical favorite.
My niece played Eve.
My mom's favorite tenant, who calls her "Early." It's a mutual love affair with these two!

Summertime Students

It's been a great summer. I taught a wonderful group of students at RISD Summer Studies. What a hard-working, talented group of young people they were! The six weeks flew by! 
RISD Summer Studies Children's Book Illustration Students, 2013