One never knows how a second shot will go. Luckily, when I finished the artwork for QUEST (out next month Aug. 26th), JOURNEY was yet to be released. No buzz, no pressure. To say that things have changed since last spring would be an understatement. So with the children’s book industry watching, I prepared myself for the worst as the reviews for this second book in the trilogy started to trickle in. Then I read these:
For those interested, signed copies of QUEST are available for pre-order from my local indie, The Odyssey Bookshop, or you can pretend no one is watching and pre-order from the South American River behemoth.
This past Friday, a couple of days before the ALSC Caldecott/Newbery banquet in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to address the entire Caldecott Committee, the very people that had picked Journey as one of this year’s honor books. This is what I told them. That four years ago, when I started work on Journey, I was a recent father. A recent homeowner. We’d just gotten back from the car dealership, having put our deposit down on a new car to help cart our infant around town. And a friend called from California to say that the film studio I worked for was suddenly closing its doors. Having just moved back east, I was three thousand miles away from the industry that supported me. So I did what any sane, normal person would do. Over the next two years, I worked on a children’s book.
In retrospect, it’s easy to see that things worked out just fine. But at the time I had no idea. All I had was faith that it was the right thing to do. And in awarding Journey a Caldecott Honor, the committee has placed their faith now in me; the award gives me a foundation to stand on as I continue to pursue this dream of making stories. Thank you - to the committee, to my fans, and to my family for this amazing gift.
My intern Josephine helping out as I start building a model of a cave. I’ll use it for lighting and compositional reference for Journey Book #3! She doesn’t get to use the utility knife or hot glue gun until she becomes a studio assistant, one level up from intern.
Signed prints from Journey are still available, but they won’t be for long! In September, we’ll be traveling abroad for the school year and unless things change, I’m planning on putting my print store on hold until we return. So if you’ve been holding off grabbing one of these limited edition gicleés, now would be the time! And if you’d like a personal message on the print, let me know when you order, as I package these right here in the studio.
The American Library Association, which awards the Caldecott each year asked each of this year’s winners to make a video explaining what it was like to win the prize. Of course, I had to do a wordless version.
It’s giveaway time!!! What better way to celebrate the big Caldecott Honor than to give away copies of Journey! Or as they say in Japan, Jya-ni-. Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of the Japanese edition of the book. I’ll also be giving a copy away over on my twitter feed https://twitter.com/storybreathing and on my facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/aaronbeckerillustration Winners will be picked on Monday, 2/10! Good luck!
For the past five or six years, I’ve been a regular at Amherst College’s open figure drawing sessions. Lately, life has been too busy to get out but that all changed last night when I finally made it back! Great to see all my old buddies and dip back into the paints! Here are a couple acrylics I did during the 45 minute poses.