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.
For those who missed it the first time around - here’s a little documentary I worked on a few summers back while I was making ‘Journey’. What’s missing of course, and I think you’ll thank me for it, is the first ten or so years of trying to get a book contract! That was really, really boring. :)
I’m not sure exactly how I feel about luck. Thomas Jefferson was a great believer (“The harder I work, the more I have of it.”). But others, like the venerable Obiwan Kenobi, would have nothing of it (“In my experience, there’s no such thing.”).
One dreary winter day, a few years back, I was on my way home from the post office, having just mailed the signed contract for my first picture book off to my publisher. It was quite a moment. After wanting to make a children’s book for more than fifteen years, I was finally about to embark on the process for the very first time. So it was hard to not feel a bit superstitious when, while crossing the slushy street, I saw a lone red ball rolling gently in the grey periphery. After all, this was the same red from the book. The red that can be made real from a child’s marker. And somehow it was there, popping off the page and into this literal crossroad. I picked it up and took it home, hoping its previous owner wouldn’t mind.
Since Journey published, what has surprised me the most is the feeling that this book is not something I created. At any given point in the book making process, I found myself working hard, but working hard at details; small moments of attention that would slowly build a book: a thumbnail gesture, a castle’s brick work, a dip of a brush in water. I rarely stopped to see the whole, and found that even upon publication, in reading the book to children, (though I recognized the places, the characters, the lines, and colors) I felt as if the end result could not have come from me. Like the red ball, it appeared.
A few weeks ago I received the honor of a lifetime: to illustrate the cover of the Children’s issue of the New York Times Book Review! I was given free reign and enjoyed every minute of it. For those of you who missed it in the issue this past weekend, fear not! The artwork is available now as a limited edition gicleé print.