Dear Teachers, Parents, Kids, Homeschoolers, Writers, Artists, Librarians, Readers, Curious Souls, and others,
Our book, Spilling Ink, is coming out this week and we want to celebrate it. Imagine hundreds of brightly colored virtual balloons rising into the air, each one containing a special insight about creativity. That is what we hope to achieve with our Creativity Blog. Each month, a new guest blogger will share his or her thoughts about the creative process here on this page. We have an exciting lineup of amazing children’s book writers, so stay tuned!
We’re thrilled to have Matt Phelan inaugurate the Creativity Blog. When we were writing Spilling Ink, we often chatted about what the illustrations should look like. “They should be full of warmth, life and fun,” we decided. “But they should have depth, sensitivity, and soul, too. ” It was up to our editor, Nan Mercado, to find the perfect artist. When we downloaded Matt’s first sketches for Spilling Ink, we were bowled over. Matt beautifully captured the spirit of our book in his drawings of young writers. They were everything we wanted and more.
Please make sure to read the very bottom of this post for a chance to win a copy of Spilling Ink in our giveaway. Enjoy, and thanks so much for stopping by!
Anne and Ellen
Matt Phelan is the illustrator of Spilling Ink and many books for young readers, including, The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. In 2010 Matt's graphic novel, The Storm in the Barn, was honored with the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD, by Matt Phelan
I actually have a Drawing Board. It's big and old and it's where I both draw and write. I draw and write other places, too (the kitchen table, coffee shops, the zoo, waiting rooms) but the drawing board is where the real creativity tends to happen. And when I am being creative – sketching, doodling, jotting notes or refining a final illustration – I feel absolutely exhilarated. I love creativity in any form, big or small, professional or for the sheer fun of it (that's often the best kind).
And yet... I seem to spend a lot of time NOT being creative. Procrastination is a strange enemy. The worst thing about it is that when I'm procrastinating, I am fully aware that what I really want to do is be creative. That if I just went back to the drawing board I would eventually once again be swept up in that peculiar exhilaration that comes from making something up.
What to do? One solution is to look at what other creative people are doing. Whether you are an illustrator or not, you can't help but be inspired by reading the amazing illustrator profiles that Julie Danielson puts together at the stellar Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog. Honestly, this never ever fails to make me want to grab a pencil as soon as I finish reading. I also get a creativity buzz from browsing through Etsy or one of the many DIY culture magazines around like MAKE and ReadyMade. It all inspires me.
Is it envy? A little, maybe. But mostly I think it’s the recognition that these creators have tapped into that peculiar exhilaration, that place of sheer fun that is the heart of creativity. I want to experience that again, too.
And so I go back to the Drawing Board. I always do.
Here is the trailer for Matt's graphic novel The Storm in the Barn.
Thank you, Matt Phelan! To celebrate the publication of Spilling Ink, we are giving away five signed copies! For a chance to win, leave us a comment under this post, with the word “Celebrate” at the end. Please be sure to fill out your email address (only we can see it) so we can contact you if you are a winner. Winners will be randomly chosen. You have until Sunday, April 11, 2010 to enter this giveaway. One entry per person please. Good luck!
Update: Thank you all for your wonderful comments! Thanks to random.org, this post's lucky winners have been chosen. Thanks again! xo, A&E