Country Mouse goes to the big city

Day three in New York City and uptown, downtown and crosstown are starting to become part of my vocabulary. I’m also adapting to the Euro scheduling. In Maine, I go to bed at 9:30 and wake at 5:00 am. Here, nothing even opens until ten. I won’t bore you with the details but just give you a few highlights.

Yesterday, I met with the Creative Director of Clarion books. She was very kind to give me her time and her critque of my work was helpful and hopeful. The funny thing about critiques is that I don’t believe others tell us anything we don’t already know in our hearts. She wanted to see more energy and emotion in my work. This doesn’t surprise me as I’ve been working on capturing the energy of my sketches  in my final images. I was surprised to hear her say that I needed to work on the narrative quality of the images because that is something I think I’ve finally got. But the two are closely related so I think that as I master the emotional the story will also be more apparent. Most important, she said she’d like to see revisions and new work and that is the most any writer or illustrator can ask for in this business. Next I went to F,S, G and met with two lovely Assistant Editors. They currently work in the triangular Flatiron building and the security was interesting. I had to speak into a digital camera and say who I was and where I was going. When I got to their floor I had to call from outside their door to be let in. The editors were much more effusive about my work and would like to see more.

I was able to meet up with my childhood friend Michael Learmonth yesterday at the Books of Wonder children’s bookstore on 18th Street. Mike is great but the bookstore was even better. (smile) The collection of rare, and classic books was educational and fun to browse. I am a huge Crockett Johnson fan and I often wonder if his minimalist illustrations would get passed over in today’s technicolor market. Sometimes simplicity is more effective with children then the over-stimulation of many images that are published today. The bookstore also had wonderful original art and prints from illustrators. My favorites? A David McPhail watercolor and Mark Teagues paintings. I did take some pictures of the shop and will try to post them if my sister-in-law has a cable.

I’ll post about interviews and observations at School of American Ballet this Thursday!

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