CANSCAIP
Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers<br>La société canadienne des auteurs, illustrateurs et artistes pour enfants
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CANSCAIP Blog

Keep up-to-date on the latest news from CANSCAIP through the CANSCAIP blog, including news about upcoming meetings and conferences, industry events, awards, new creations and more.

Note: Members and Friends of CANSCAIP can submit information about events, awards and new creations for posting on the CANSCAIP blog. To submit, click here.
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  • Tuesday, April 10, 2018 7:23 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

    NOTES from MARCH 14, 2018 Meeting; SPEAKER Qin Leng

    President Sharon Jennings welcomed everyone, asking those attending for the first time to introduce themselves. She also thanked volunteers: Patricia Storms, Michele Nidenoff, Holly Main, Theo Heras, Anne Laurel Carter, and Bev Rosenbaum. As always, thanks to Starbucks for their donation of coffee.

    NEW CREATIONS

    Joyce Grant announced Sliding Home (Lorimer), a sequel to Tagged Out, with the same big-on-heart baseball team. This one features Miguel, working hard to bring his dad over from El Salvador, and Sebastian, who can’t understand why Miguel can’t always join him for pizza.

    Theo Heras introduced Where’s Bunny (Pajama Press), illustrated by Renné Benoit, a picture book for babies and toddlers. It's time for bed and two siblings tidy up, take a bath, brush teeth, head for bed and read and sing – but where's Bunny?

    Barbara Reid told attendees that an exhibit and sale of original artwork from her newest book, Picture the Sky, is on at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, launched March 4, runs through to April 12.

    GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Michele Nidenoff announced more details about CANSCAIP’s upcoming show in May at the Canadian Contemporary School of Art. Submissions have come in from all over Canada.

    Administrative Director Helena Aalto announced that The Writing for Children Competition is open. The deadline for submissions is May 31.

    Our Packaging Your Imagination conference (PYI) 2018 will take place on Saturday November 10. The keynote speakers are Ruth Ohi and Deborah Ellis.

    CANSCAIP received some funding for PYI 2017 from the Access Copyright.

    There will be a celebration of the life of Janet Lunn on May 22 at Toronto Public Library Northern District Branch.

    The Writers Union of Canada and Access Copyright are advising creators to write to their MPPs about the school boards’ lawsuit (they are suing to be reimbursed for the money they’ve paid over the years to photocopy the work of book creators).

    Public Lending Right (PLR) has announced that titles published more than 25 years ago will no longer receive payment.

    PROGRAM

    Patricia Storms introduced Qin Leng, illustrator of A Family is a Family is a Family, Harry and Walter, Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen and many other books. 

    Qin was born in Shanghai, lived in France, moved to Montreal, and is now based in Toronto. She talked about her training at the Hoppenheim School of Cinema and her internship at the National Film Board, where she explored different styles and media. After graduating, she worked in animation and television, and still does so, completing her illustration work on evenings and weekends. 

    Qin always drew in her spare time, and finally put together a portfolio. Qin advises new illustrators to keep their portfolio for children’s publishers small because they don’t have a lot of time. She advises ten images in both black and white and colour.  If you have a story, send the story along with a couple of sample scenes.

    Next, Qin looked at books that were interesting to her and studied the websites of those publishers for their submission process, only submitting to publishers who used artists like her. She has a painterly style so avoided those who seemed to favor artists with a modern, graphic aesthetic. Qin said the Bologna Children’s Book Fair website is a treasure trove of information.

    Qin sent around her portfolio early in 2009 and landed her first project in the fall of that year – an Annick cover. Since then, she has gotten more and more work each year, always experimenting to find her style and medium. Now she mostly uses a brush with Indian ink and a nib with acrylic ink. She uses waterproof ink. She began coloring digitally but now prefers to do everything by hand, just revising digitally. 

    When she gets an assignment, she creates a lineup of characters to ensure there’s no redundancy, and that there’s diversity in gender and race.  She tries to keep all characters relatable. (She will sometimes make a girl look boyish and a boy look girlish.) Before doing the rough, she does all necessary research. One story required her to research different types of egg baskets.

    Before taking us through her process from rough to final (she works fast to keep a spontaneous feeling), Qin showed us slides featuring images from a new story she’s illustrating featuring a landlord couple who become werewolves.  Her editor explained that the werewolves were too “elegant” and needed to match their human counterparts.  She makes notes to herself at the rough stage. For example, for Shelter, she wrote a note so that she wouldn’t forget to make every door different.

    She loves filling in the spaces in stories. For instance, in A Family is a Family is a Family, on a page that talked about a child’s day with Dad, Qin went crazy drawing characters at a stadium event.

    She takes inspiration from everywhere. In Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen, about the young Jane Austen, she did a cross-section of Jane’s childhood home, inspired by the cross-section of the submarine in Wes Anderson’s film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

    Qin’s first solo book, Je Suis Petite, which she wrote in French, was inspired by her own experiences as a kid, and the books she read in her childhood.

    The artists who have inspired her include Sempe, Gabrielle Vincent, Manuele Fior, Gipi, Beatrice Alemagna, and photographers Fred Herzog and Robert Doisneau.  She also likes checking out Zara Kids for outfits for her characters.

    After Qin’s presentation, she put some of her originals on display for us to study.


  • Friday, March 16, 2018 2:14 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

    NOTES from February 14, 2018 meeting: SPEAKER Milan Pavlovic

    President Sharon Jennings welcomed everyone, expressing surprise at such a large turnout on Valentine’s Day. She thanked the CANSCAIP volunteers present: Patricia Storms, Holly Main, Michele Nidenoff, Theo Heras, and Bev Rosenbaum. She also thanked Karen Rankin and Rita Bates for tonight’s cookies and Starbucks for the coffee. Welcome, too, to the many first-timers in the audience.

    NEW CREATIONS

    Sylvia McNicoll presented Norma CharlesHarry Jerome: World’s Fastest Man, a work of historical middle grade fiction. She also introduced her own Snake Mistake Mystery, another book in her Mistake Mysteries Series

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Michelle Nidenoff told us about an upcoming exhibit of art by CANSCAIP Members and Friends at the Canadian Contemporary School of Art in the Eglinton-Brentcliffe Toronto area. Works will be exhibited over the month of May. A call for submissions has been sent out to CANSCAIP Members and Friends. The works will be hung on May 2 and a reception is planned for that evening. Volunteers welcome!

    Our administrative director Helena Aalto announced that PYI 2018 will take place on Saturday November 10. Save the date postcards are already available for individuals or for writing teachers or writing group members to distribute. 

    The recent marketing webinar with Judy Brunsek is still available for viewing. You can register on the CANSCAIP website.

    SPEAKER 

    Patricia Storms introduced the evening’s speaker, Milan Pavlovic, an illustrator, graphic artist, and teacher at OCADU and Seneca.  Milan began by recalling his childhood in Croatia, where he spent summers on beaches and his grandfather’s farm, which influenced his colour palette.  He also recalled playing with animal stickers with his dad and redrawing the animals.  He still loves drawing animals and experiences a childlike inner joy when he draws. Non-visual early influences included biologists David Bellamy and Jacques Cousteau and the musicians Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards.

    Milan loved comic books. Krazy Kat and Little Nemo are great for detail in drawings.  Cheap Thrills by Robert Crumb dealt with the ‘Summer of Love’ while it was actually happening, and showed Milan that comic artists could deal with real events in real time.

    Milan mentioned many favourite designers and illustrators: George McManus; Milton Glaser; Joseph Muller-Brockmann; Shigeo Fukuda; Peter Saville; John Audubon; Boris Artzybasheff; Lorenzo Matodi; and Javier Mariscal. Milan also loves medieval illustrations, noting that with some of these images, we can see a connection to modern day works like Maus.

    In Serbia, Milan was approached at an exhibition of his adult work and, asked if he’d like to do something for children, proceeded to do several books. In Canada, his first book was Hey, Canada! for Tundra. Then Sheila Barry invited him to illustrate Cary Fagan’s book Danny Who Fell in a Hole. He stressed that illustrators must be able to have conversations and be able to compromise, and that this process was especially fun with Sheila.  He argued that you can’t be a good illustrator if you aren’t a good reader; you need to grasp narrative so you can recognize the big moments.

    Milan mentioned the challenges posed by each project. In Patricia Storm’s upcoming book, Moon Wishes, every page-spread took place on a moonlit night. He used shades of colour to make each picture unique, and he gave the moon an expressive face. And he managed to sneak in animals on each page.

    Milan showed us his sketchbook, which he fills with everything that comes to mind, using pen and ink. He often designs something like an abstract landscape, and only later does he add human forms and some kind of narrative. He exhorted us to draw for no reason and not wait for a story to come. It’s a continuous process, and you can put your designs in a context later. But….Milan was wearing a tee shirt his Seneca students presented to him with ‘What’s the Story?’ written on it. This is the question that he always asks students: What’s the story? What did you want to communicate with this piece? In other words, it isn’t art until it conveys meaning.

    Milan ended by describing the joy he experiences presenting to and doing workshops with kids.


  • Monday, February 12, 2018 5:12 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

    NOTES from January 10, 2018 General Meeting: SPEAKER: Mireille Messier

    President Sharon Jennings welcomed us to the first meeting of the year, and thanked those volunteers present tonight: Michele Nidenoff, Holly Main, Theo Heras, Anne Thackery, Cathy Rondina and our Administrative Director Helena Aalto. She also gave a shout-out to Starbucks for their generous donation of coffee.

    PROGRAM

    Cathy Rondina introduced speaker Mireille Messier, who was born in Montreal, raised in Ottawa, and has published over 20 books. The Branch is nominated for the 2018 Blue Spruce Award. Mireille’s topic was “Breaking In Through the French Doors”. Mireille started writing for children through television and magazines, and although she has published 27 books, only 4 are in English. She delighted her audience with the trials and tribulations – and successes – of moving back and forth from French to English. Her first book, Mirouille, was published in 1999, the second, Twiga, in 2003 and two more in 2008 – Charlotte au chocolat and Luca. This last book was translated into English and Mireille told herself, “This is it!” She was crushed when, a few years later, the English version was pulped.

    After many failed attempts to get her books translated into English, Mireille realized that there was a barrier to doing so; perhaps those few picture book words didn’t resonate the same way; perhaps the illustrations didn’t work for publishers. Luca, which became Night Flight, also had a different illustrator and cover.

    Mireille knew she wouldn’t have the same publicity, profile, or profit if she didn’t try to publish in English, and she spoke about her difficulties in doing so, and her own self-doubt. Certainly, she felt more comfortable with word play and humour in her mother tongue. But she took courses with Ted Staunton and Cathy Rondina and soon got her big break. She sent two manuscripts to Kids Can Press; they turned the first one down, and then came the email accepting The Branch. Is it irony that Quebec artist Pierre Pratt did the beautiful illustrations?

    Mireille talked about translations, right sales, royalties, and that her mother wants to know why she doesn’t just write in French. Not to worry, Mom: she has two French picture books coming out this year, and three picture books under contract for 2019 with three different publishers.

    We ended the evening admiring the display of books Mireille brought for us to enjoy.


  • Tuesday, January 09, 2018 4:10 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

    NOTES from December 13th, 2017 General Meeting

    President Sharon Jennings welcomed us to this, our Holiday meeting, and commenting that it was Chanukah, quoted: “May the miracle of the light of this season stay with you all the year long.” She introduced and thanked those volunteers present tonight: Michele Nidenoff, Holly Main, Maureen McGowan, Theo Heras, Anne Laurel Carter, Jennifer Mook-Sang, and our Administrative Director Helena Aalto. Also a shout-out to Starbucks for their generous donation of coffee, and to all those who brought holiday treats.

    On November 15, we received the sad news of the death of Sheila Barry. She was the publisher at Groundwood since 2012, editor-in-chief at Kids Can Press, on the Board of Directors for The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, involved with IBBY Canada, and a dear friend to so many. She gave generously of her time to CANSCAIP, and will be forever known as the force behind so many beautiful, ground-breaking, award-winning books.

    NEW CREATIONS

    Vladyana Krykorka presented the latest edition of Baseball Bats for Christmas, by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak (illustrated by Vladyana) and first published by Annick Press in 1990.

    Eric Walters presented three new titles. Fourth Dimension (the 4th in the Rule of Three “trilogy” is dedicated to Eric’s grade 5 teacher who told him he could be a writer when he grew up. (She is also a character in this book.) Penguin Random House.  From The Heart of Africa – A Book of Wisdom contains 15 African sayings with15 different illustrators from Africa and North America (Penguin Random House). Surfer Dog (Orca) Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, is a friendship story about a boy and his dog who surf together every day.

    General Announcements

    Lana Button urged us to join IBBY (The International Board on Books for Young People), mentioning the chance to network with like-minded souls, and the opportunity to be profiled in the IBBY Canada Newsletter.

    Helena Aalto updated us on The Writing for Children Competition, and informed us that PYI will take place on Saturday November 10th, 2018.

    PROGRAM

    Sharon introduced tonight’s fabulous panel – five women who are authors and who also work in publishing. As well, they have all volunteered their time with many of our kidlit organizations.

    Vikki VanSickle is the Marketing and Publicity Manger for the Young Readers’ Program at Penguin Random House, and the author of many mid-grade/YA books (and one picture book). Her latest is The Winnowing, nominated for the 2018 Red Maple.

    Liz MacLeod is a freelance editor, working for both Annick Press and Kids Can press, and is the author of dozens of non-fiction books. Her latest book, Canada Year by Year, won the Norma Fleck Award, and is nominated for the 2018 Silver Birch non-fiction award.

    Mary Beth Leatherdale is a freelance editor at Annick Press, the founder of CHIRP and a former editor of OWL Magazine. Her latest book, Not Your Princess, is an anthology written with Lisa Charleyboy. Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees is nominated for the 2018 Silver Birch non-fiction award.

    Naseem Hrab works as the Marketing Director at Kids Can Press and published her first book in 2017: Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend.

    Hadley Dyer was for many years the Children’s Editor at Harper Collins, before ‘retiring’ to work on her own writing – both fiction and informational. Her first book, Johnny Kellock Died Today, 2006, won the CLA book of the year. Her latest is Here So Far Away, which will be published March 2018.

    Our presenters spoke and answered questions for almost two hours. Afterwards, someone noted that this was a “killer panel”! We were treated to insight, expertise, advice, encouragement, the ups, the downs, the angst, and the joy of lives lived in the cankidlit world.

    The presenters were asked questions about their path into the publishing world – booksellers, librarians, editors – about their working day, about whether or not they can take off their editor/marketing hat as they write their own manuscripts, how often they revise and/or edit. Hadley noted that even though she is an editor, she is on the 7th draft of her latest manuscript. She warned us not to assume that just because we’ve written a manuscript, it will get published.

    Of course, we were all wondering if they each had a special ‘in’ because of their jobs, and Naseem informed us that her agent urged her to submit her picture book with a pseudonym to ensure fair treatment.

    We were urged to find a critique group of trusted individuals, to take workshops, to pursue professional development, and to join organizations like CANSCAIP. Advice was offered about seeking a publisher: check out their websites and make certain that your submission fits a publisher’s vision.

    In one way or another, they all said something along the lines of ‘get over yourself’ when receiving a rejection and resubmit – again and again and again. There was some discussion about marketing and sales, about promoting ourselves, about the need for diversity. Everyone agreed on the importance of being a great and avid reader.

    At the end, they were asked what brings them the most joy, the paid job or the writing, and they all agreed: the writing.

    We adjourned for a last hour of delicious desserts, the buying of each other’s books, and the chit-chat of good colleagues and friends. 


  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017 8:31 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

    WELCOME

    President Sharon Jennings welcomed attendees. 

    NEW MEMBERS

    Gwenda, an author-editor, joined as a friend. 

    Tina joined in September. She is an author who also works at Indigo. 

    Vincent and Lonni are collaborating on an illustrated book. 

    Ashley Barron is an illustrator. She just completed her term as Illustrator-in-Residence at Orchard View Library. 

    NEW CREATIONS

    Gillian Chan presented her young adult mystery The Disappearance, published by Annick, featuring a fictional group home. Gillian urges readers to ‘embrace the strange’. 

    Theo Heras presented her new picture book, Baby Cakes, illustrated by Renee Benoit. The two kids from Hat On, Hat Off are now in the kitchen baking. 

    Deb Lougheed presented the fourth book, Payback, in her Orca Currents series set in a Bracebridge type town and featuring a hero who gets in scrapes and solves crimes. Deb also presented Crackerjack Debutante, a collection of poems by Deb and Jack Livesay.

    GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Lana Button, CANSCAIP liaison with IBBY Canada, announced IBBY’s General Meeting on Monday, March 3rd at 8:30. IBBY Canada introduces Canadian children’s literature around the world and also promotes international books in Canada, as well as providing bibliotherapy in troubled regions. IBBY membership will be discounted at this weekend’s PYI conference. 

    Teresa Toten will be appearing on a CCBC panel called Getting It Done on Monday, December 4th at 6:00 PM in Room 200 at Orchard View Library. This is a free event. 

    Gillian O’Reilly announced the Friends of the Osborne annual Helen Stubbs Memorial Lecture featuring Deborah Ellis on Reading and Freedom at 7:00 PM at TPL’s Lillian Smith branch on Thursday, November 9th at 7:00 PM. 

    Helena Aalto reminded CANSCAIP members of the upcoming PYI conference with a great lineup of speakers, including Arthur Slade and Richard Scrimger. 

    She is in need of a person to act as a timer for the one-on-one sessions at PYI. 

    She also reminded everyone of the upcoming (January) Judy Brunsek marketing webinar. 

    Lena Coakley attended an IFOA panel with representatives from the TAC, OAC and CC on grants and brought handouts. Her big takeaway: they want to hear from you. Don’t be afraid to call and ask questions. 

    GUEST SPEAKER – Amanda West Lewis

    Theo Heras introduced Amanda, a Renaissance woman who has written novels alone and with Tim Wynne-Jones and many craft books for Kids Can, and is also an artist and calligrapher, actor, director, producer, and Executive Director of Ottawa Theatre. She recently co-produced Brian Doyle’s novel Down to Low for theatre. 

    Amanda talked about the role of a co-producer for the Down to Low adaptation. She worked with an adapter, raised money, did contracts, organized venues for readings and performances through the entire process. 

    While Brian is so well respected in the literary community, few theatre company people had heard of him. As well, the show required seven actors and three musicians and no theatre companies were willing to take on a show with this many people involved.  All this led to the decision to independently produce the show. 

    A budget of $100,000 was settled on for a two-and-a-half week run. Amanda knew Doyle fans would help fund it. As well, they did an Indiegogo campaign and received some grants. 

    Big challenges, in terms of the play itself, were not to lose Doyle’s unique voice, and to keep the sense of storytelling without relying too heavily on a narrator on stage. 

    These issues were solved with the help of talented collaborators. The designer came up with the idea of creating a bar-like stage that involved the audience. The actors and musicians and costume designer also provided solutions to these challenges. Theatre, unlike novel writing, is collaborative, and brainstorming with your team is a big part of it. Brian was there all along the way, too. 

    To solve the narrator problem and bring scenes to life, narrator Tommy became younger Tommy after a sentence of a scene and then stepped into the scene as the younger version of himself. (This solution was decided on after a workshop presentation with two different Tommys.) 

    To solve the problem of Frank’s drinking-driving scene for a family audience, more background was provided by Brian (the character only started drinking after coming home from war), which was incorporated into the play. 

    The show opened on Brian Doyle day and was a big hit. 

    It has been programmed into the National Arts Centre’s 2018 season.  Amanda is currently consulting with the designer on tweaks for this move into a much larger venue. 

    Q&A
    In response to a question about the script’s suitability for both an adult and children’s audience, Amanda said they did not change the script for the different audiences. It remained the same, geared to a family audience. 

    In response to a question about how they handled Bridget’s one arm, Amanda demonstrated how the costume designer managed it. 

    In response to a question about how whether she wants to adapt more of Brian’s work, Amanda said that her co-producer (and the adapter of the show), is adapting more work. 

    Someone asked if the musicians were brought on more for music or sound effects, and Amanda said both. 

    Asked about the possibility of a tour, Amanda said that isn’t something she’d want to take on. 

    Asked for advice for a writer adapting her own book, Amanda recommended using an adapter familiar with theatre, or getting input from playwrights and directors. 

    Asked what she is currently working on, Amanda, who just received her MFA in Children’s Writing from Vermont College, said she is working on a novel and thinking (because of her MFA experience) about her writing very differently. 

    PARTING REMARKS

    Sharon reminded members of the December holiday party, featuring a panel of publishing people who are also authors:  Vikki Van Sickle, Naseem Hrab, Liz MacLeod, Mary Beth Leatherdale, and Hadley Dyer.


  • Wednesday, October 11, 2017 6:58 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

    NOTES from October 11 meeting SPEAKER: Sue Todd

    WELCOME

    President Sharon Jennings welcomed everyone and introduced some attending CANSCAIP volunteers and staff: Rita Bailey, Patricia Storms, Michele Nidenoff, Holly Main, Rob Morphy, Theo Heras, Anne Laurel Carter, Bev Katz Rosenbaum and Helena Aalto

    Sharon thanked Barbara Greenwood for another outstanding issue of CANSCAIP News and noted that attendee Jo Ellen Bogart did a great job on the Jean Little profile. 

    NEW MEMBERS

    Three people, attending for the first time, introduced themselves. 

    NEW CREATIONS/LAUNCHES

    Celebrate with author Sylvia McNicoll as she launches The Artsy Mistake Mystery at the Art Gallery of Burlington on Sunday, November 5 from 2:00 - 3:30. 

    Melanie Fishbane has several events promoting Maud

    • Saturday, October 14 at 6:30: Book signing at Chapters in Peterborough
    • Sunday, October 22 at 11:00: Books and Brunch with three other authors, presented by Blue Heron Books and held at Wooden Sticks in Uxbridge. Tickets are 25.00 and include food.
    • Saturday, November 11: Melanie is on the Breaking In panel at our Packaging Your Imagination conference. 

    GENERAL ANNOUNCMENTS

    Picture book author Lana Button is CANSCAIP’s new liaison with IBBY - International Board on Books for Young People. IBBY’s Canadian branch was founded in 1980 with a mandate to introduce Canadian children’s literature to the world as well as bring international works to Canada’s attention. IBBY Canada gives out awards and grants and also nominates Canadians for prestigious international awards. Their Children in Crisis fund offers bibliotherapy and helps replace libraries that are destroyed due to war or natural disasters. This year, IBBY has nominated Kenneth Oppel and Isabelle Arsenault for the prestigious international Hans Christian Anderson Award (the little Nobel). Lana urged CANSCAIP members to get more involved with IBBY by volunteering. 

    Sharon passed on message from Teresa Toten about BookShout, on Sunday, October 22 from 1:30 to 6:00 at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bluma Appel Salon. This is the TPL’s inaugural festival of reading for young adults. The afternoon will feature some of YA’s current stars, including S.K. Ali, Kelley Armstrong, Elly Blake, Vicki Grant, Melanie Florence, Lesley Livingston, Richard Scrimger, and Teresa. There will be presentations, questions, and signings. This event is free but you have to register. 

    ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR’S UPDATE

    CANSCAIP’s Administrative Director Helena Aalto noted that our Packaging Your Imagination conference will be on Saturday, November 11. This year, you will be able to buy an audio recording of any additional sessions for an extra $25. Virtual PYI will be offered once again. 

    Our September 20 webinar on grants, given by Heather O’Connor, was very successful. Forty-two people registered. Anyone who missed it can still buy/watch the video recording. 

    Helena noted that at our September meeting she had forgotten to thank Melanie Fishbane for her two years of overseeing CANSCAIP’s social media presence. 

    GUEST SPEAKER: SUE TODD

    Sharon relayed the message sent by Eric Walters: Sue Todd’s illustrations on their latest picture book collaboration, Wild Beasts, are “quite frankly, simply brilliant.” 

    Patricia Storms (programming committee) introduced Sue Todd.  A graduate of OCA (now OCADU), she was initially a freelance designer who took up lino carving in her spare time. She has created art for advertising, editorial, and publishing (first for educational books and now trade). She has also created book covers, posters and tee shirts. Her work can be found in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. She has recently taken up portrait painting and is also working on her first graphic novel. In addition to making art, Sue enjoys opera, yoga, and cycling. 

    Sue said she came late to the lino cutting technique, (using ordinary linoleum flooring), but now she has been doing it for twenty years, and the technique provided her with a second career. 

    She began with a slide show on the different tracks her career has taken. She pointed out that it’s useful for artists to make and see their mistakes and failures along the way. She reminded us it’s a journey and that artists are always learning. She did a ton of advertising illustrations for about ten years. These jobs were challenging because the deadlines were incredibly tight.  She did a lot of work for business and legal magazines, until stock images took over from illustrations.  She never tried licensing (wants to) but her work has wound up on products, including Walmart shopping bags. 

    Sue reminded us it’s never too late to bloom. She came very late to children’s trade publishing. She got her first two trade book commissions only in the last couple of years, for books by Tomson Highway and Eric Walters. 

    A highlight of the evening was Sue’s demonstration of her lino cutting technique, pointing out that whatever you carve is a reverse image; it is the space around the line that gets inked. She brought all her tools, and showed us how to carve – always away from the body! Once the linoleum is clamped down and carved, Sue spreads ink evenly on a platen. She uses a tabletop printmaking press for small works, but does larger pieces by hand. Sue mentioned that she likes every stage of this process—thinking of the image, carving it, printing it, and coloring it (computer or analogue). 

    Next, Sue puts printmaking paper on the plate and presses on it to make her print. Her initial thumbnails, only two inches, usually end up being remarkably similar to the final product. She refines and colors the illustrations in Photoshop and likes to use textured backgrounds.  She scans in Kraft paper and colorizes/darkens. 

    Her second trade book was with Orca. She’d mailed them postcards for years and they finally wrote back saying they had a project for her – An African Alphabet, written by Eric Walters. She talked with the editor about how the animals were to be presented (friendly but not anthropomorphic), and she did her sketches after reading about the animals’ habits and habitats. 

    Sue mentioned she had signed a boilerplate contract for her first book, but on An African Alphabet, she hired Sally Keefe Cohen (met through CANSCAIP), who negotiated contract changes for her. 

    She also noted the importance of not putting all your eggs in one basket. She buys mailing lists, sends postcards and bulk emailers, and also has a presence on several websites. 

    She quoted Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: ‘In the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm...in the real world, all rests on perseverance.’ 

    She cited as creative inspirations, among others: Barbara Klunder, PeeWee’s Playhouse, Edward Gorey, Tim Burton, mythology, Jim Flora, and George Walker. Sue ended by inviting us to try printmaking with the equipment and linos she brought with her. 

    Sharon thanked Sue for her generosity in sharing her experiences.  

     

     

     

     


  • Wednesday, September 13, 2017 4:37 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

    NOTES from September 13 meeting: 40th Anniversary

    SPECIAL GUESTS: Michael Martchenko, Jean Little 

    WELCOME  

    President Sharon Jennings welcomed attendees and those tuning in from across the country via our first-ever live-streamed meeting! Sharon is proud to be CANSCAIP’s president for the third time; she hung in for the 40th anniversary cake! 

    Past presidents Nancy Hartry, Sylvia McNicoll, Bill Swan, Sonja Dunn and Kathleen Willing attended this special evening.

    Eleven creators started CANSCAIP on July 1, 1977 in a conversation at a literary festival; they felt a group was needed for support, friendship, advice, and the sharing of professional information. Our CANSCAIP News editor Barbara Greenwood, also a past president, wrote a summary of our organization’s history for the Fall issue. 

    Board members Holly Main, Michele Nidenoff, Patricia Storms, Bill Swan, Cathy Rondina and Recording Secretary Bev Katz Rosenbaum and Administrative Director Helena Aalto were acknowledged. Mireille Messier and Jennifer Mook-Sang were thanked for helping set up and bringing refreshments. In the midst of celebration, Sharon noted the recent losses of Members Janet Lunn and Jan Andrews. 

    Sharon noted that we are trying to make the organization more inclusive for Members across the country. Now, people can attend PYI virtually, and we’re also holding webinars. And tonight is our first attempt at live-streaming a meeting!

    NEW CREATIONS

    Barbara Reid presented her new book Picture the Sky, published by Scholastic. 

    Patricia Storms presented her new illustrated book If You’re Thankful and You Know It, published by Scholastic, with text by Chrissy Bozik. 

    Lorna Poplak presented her adult book, Drop Dead: A Horrible History of Hanging in Canada, published by Dundurn Press. 

    Jennifer Mook-Sang presented Captain Monty Takes the Plunge, published by Kids Can Press. Jennifer pointed out this book was a former winner of CANSCAIP’s Writing for Children competition. 

    Heather Camlot presented Clutch, a middle-grade novel, published by Red Deer Press. Set in Montreal during the time Jackie Robinson played baseball there, the story features a boy trying to get out of his poor Plateau neighbourhood. This debut novel was also a winner in the CANSCAIP Writing for Children competition. 

    Nadia Hohn first announced that her picture book Malaika’s Costume won an honorable mention at the Americas Awards and she will attend the ceremony in Washington at the Library of Congress. Next, Nadia presented the sequel to that book, Malaika’s Winter Carnival, in which Malaika joins her mother in Canada. 

    Michelle Kadarusman presented The Theory of Hummingbirds (Pajama Press), a mid-grade novel about becoming your truest self. 

    Kate Blair presented her second book, Tangled Planet, published by DCB, Cormorant’s young adult science fiction imprint. It features a young engineer on a starship planet not as uninhabited as previously thought. 

    Mireille Messier presented Moi Aussi!, the story of two girls striking up a friendship. One gets so caught up in the spirit of things that she lies about something they have in common. 

    Sylvia McNicoll presented The Artsy Mistake Mystery, the latest in her Great Mistake Mysteries series. It is based on an experience she had losing a painting of Michael Martchenko’s while in charge of a CANSCAIP art show! 

    Sharon presented several books on behalf of Members not attending.  Charis Cotter’s The Painting, is a middle-grade novel published by Tundra, in which a girl going through a difficult time finds she can walk into a painting. Margriet Ruurs’ latest non-fiction picture book, Birthdays Around the World (Kids Can Press), illustrated by Ashley Barron, depicts the various ways birthdays are celebrated. Mine, by Natalie Hyde, is a mid-grade laugh-out-loud novel (Scholastic) in which a boy tries to thwart the long run of bad luck that has plagued his family. The launch for Mine is on November 4 at the Earth Sciences Museum at the University of Waterloo. Holly Hatam has illustrated a picture book Dear Girl (Harper Collins) which  encourages girls to love who they are, inside and out. 

    GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Helena Aalto, CANSCAIP’s Administrative Director, announced that she and Debbie Ohi are looking for volunteers for CANSCAIP’s newly formed Social Media Committee. Also on the committee are Melanie Fishbane and Karen Krossing. Volunteers need only spend 15-30 minutes a week on this. They must be comfortable with social media. There is a sign-up form Debbie’s website. 

    Our annual PYI conference will take place on Saturday, November 11th, at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. Andrea Beck, the author of this year’s grade one book giveaway, is our morning Keynote speaker; Ken Setterington will give the Claire Mackay Memorial Lecture. 

    PROGRAM

    For our 40th anniversary, we celebrated some early Canadian children’s publishing success stories. The partnership of Michael Martchenko and Robert Munsch is certainly that. Their story began with the 1980 publication of The Paper Bag Princess, which is still in print! Jean Little was one of the eleven founding Members of CANSCAIP. On that memorable day, when planning this support group, Jean said, “This will never last.”  A very funny program of reminiscences and advice ensued. 

    You can view the entire evening at the recording of our live-streamed meeting. http://www.vvcnetwork.ca/canscaip/20170913

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • Wednesday, July 19, 2017 10:22 PM | Sharon Plumb (Administrator)

    Registration is now open for the CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons 2017 Conference: Beyond Limits!

    The conference takes place September 15-17 at Queen's House Retreat and Renewal Centre in Saskatoon. 

    Find details and registration information at the CANSCAIP Sask Horizons website

  • Wednesday, June 14, 2017 4:55 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

    NOTES from June 14 Meeting; SPEAKER: Frank Viva

    WELCOME

    CANSCAIP President Sharon Jennings greeted a large and very enthusiastic crowd to our last meeting of the season until September. Sharon introduced and thanked the volunteers present: Michelle Nidenoff, Holy Main, Patricia Storms, Theo Heras, Gillian O’Reilly, Heather Camlot, Gillian Dobson, and also our one staff person, Administrative Director Helena Aalto.

    Sharon invited Mahtab Narsimhan to the front as we say good-bye. Mahtab is moving to Vancouver, and although she will be missed here, she will be a fabulous friend to our British Columbia community. Finally, Sharon invited newcomers to introduce themselves.

    Sharon welcomed Christie Williamson, Manager of Children’s Books at the nearby Indigo. Suggested by Jennifer Mook-Sang, Jennifer Maruno and Sylvia McNicoll, Christie coordinated a book signing from 4:00 to 7:00 today, open to any CANSCAIP members available to drop in, and the signed books will be part of a local authors display in the store.  Eric Walters asked to introduce Christie, and said she is one of the best booksellers in the business. Christie talked about the importance of a relationship with bookstores and booksellers, and encouraged us to introduce ourselves and to bring our books to her attention – these people want to sell our books!

    CONGRATULATIONS

    Jennifer Mook-Sang announced that she won the Surrey Schools’ Book of the Year Award for Speechless.

    NEW CREATIONS

    Mireille Messier is the author of Fatima and the Clementine Thieves (Red Deer Press), illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. Based in Morocco and inspired by an African proverb, it is the story of a young girl who struggles to save her family’s clementine orchard from mysterious thieves.

    Eric Walters presented 90 Days of Different (Orca), a YA novel with a twist. Sophie’s boyfriend breaks up with her at the end of high school because she is too predictable. Her best friend makes her try all kinds of new things – and she has to write about them on social media. Readers can use social media to actually interact with “Sophie” (who Eric said is NOT him pretending to be a high school girl!) and give her advice.

    Patricia Storms illustrated By the Time You Read This, written by Jennifer Lanthier (Clockwise Press), in which Oscar pens the ultimate break-up letter to his former Partner in Adventure and now Sworn Mortal Enemy. Is this childhood friendship doomed to destruction along with the world of imagination the two have built together?

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Anna Aleksanyan, co-founder of the new Canadian Contemporary School of Art in Toronto, invited creators to check out their website www.ccsa.art (info@ccsa.art) regarding visits and exhibits.

    The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is now accepting applications for 2018 Book Week Tour.

    Gillian O’Reilly invited everyone to the Osborne Collection’s summer exhibit “Paws, Claws, Wings and Stings: Children’s Books About Animals”, featuring bestiaries, picture books and early science texts, as well as modern works encouraging conservation of our natural world. On until September 9 at the Lillian H. Smith branch of Toronto Public Library. 

    SPEAKER: FRANK VIVA

    Patricia Storms introduced and welcomed our speaker Frank Viva.

    Frank Viva is an image-maker, art director, brand developer, and highly talented illustrator and author. His artwork appears regularly in The New York Times, and on the cover of The New Yorker. (He couldn’t show us, or give us any hint, but he is finally getting his “punch at Trump” on an upcoming cover.) 

    His Toronto based Viva & Co. studio does branding, product design, corporate identities, digital and website design. He had slides of much of his work and we were surprised at the number of clients: Cottage Life, Le Crueset, vineyards in France and Italy (or Frataly, as he put it), Butterfield & Robinson, the New York subway, private schools, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and so many more. Frank told a funny story about riding his bike past the New York Life Insurance Company building in Manhattan as an art student (he studied Fine Art), certain that he would never be part of that ‘big money’ world; he now he designs the company’s annual reports.

    Frank started doodling in sketch books 30 years ago and has kept them all. He noted that his sketches are “all over the map” – just his “daily impressions”.  Frank informed us that he “trained his eye” to see colour, and that he always sees colour first. He finds that there are “threads” within his sketches that will connect in some way for him even though they were drawn years apart. An editor at Little, Brown saw a sketch of a “zany” character riding a bike, and suggested a book based on this character. Along a Long Road, his first book, was the result (nominated for a GG), and was created as one long 40 foot illustration. Frank lamented that once in book format, nobody noticed! But it is now on display in all its glory at the Eric Carle Museum of children’s book illustration. 

    Outstanding in the Rain: A Whole Book with Holes is based on oronyms – phrases which sound the same: I scream – ice cream. It was a two year challenge to figure out a story around a complicated art/design of die-cuts in the pages, where the holes turn into pictures that have to make sense on both sides of the page; fork handles become four candles, and so on. One of his best experiences was a trip to Antarctica – talk about colour! A Trip to the Bottom of the World resulted. After a few picture books, Frank wrote, illustrated, and designed the well-reviewed middle grade coming of age novel Sea Change.

    Frank said he started as a designer and moved to writing copy. He then tried illustration and thought about writing and illustrating books for young people. He humbly told us that he decided to combine his three talents – design, illustration, writing – because “I’m not the best at any of these.” Audience members laughingly disagreed: one noted that he has an immediately recognizable style; another noted that the creativity in his books is truly inspiring. Frank mentioned that his day job was design, and that he worked on books evenings and weekends. But now his books are bringing his design work to the attention of new clients, and so his two careers “bleed” back and forth.

    After Frank answered questions, he finished his fascinating talk by telling us that, “I never grew up, and I’m happiest in the middle of solving a design problem.”

    Sharon thanked Frank for his inspirational session, commenting that it is always fascinating to learn of another’s zigzag career to the wonderful world of children’s books.


  • Thursday, June 01, 2017 7:36 PM | Sharon Plumb (Administrator)

    CANSCAIP Sask Horizons presents award-winning children's authors Alice Kuipers and Arthur Slade for two online talks on June 19, 2017 between 1 and 3 pm.

    Alice Kuipers will speak at 1 pm on "A Writing Life: Maximizing your Writing Time while Finding the Joy in your Work".

    Arthur Slade will speak at 2 pm on "10,000 Easy Ways to Market Your Book".

    Both talks will be shown as live Facebook videos on the authors' Facebook fan pages. You will be able to ask questions during the presentations, or you can email your questions in advance to the authors at alicekuipersauthor@gmail.com or art@arthurslade.com .

    Alice's Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/AliceKuipersWriter/ and Art's page is https://www.facebook.com/arthursladefan/.

    Both talks will be recorded for future viewing.

    For more information, go to https://skcanscaip.wordpress.com/ .

    Thank you to the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild for sponsoring these talks through a Writing Group Grant.

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