Tugeau 2 artists chat Robert Smalls

Be sure to check out an interview with illustrator Duane Smith, conducted by Don Tate, both Tugeau 2 artists. The interview can be found at The Brown Bookshelf, and is about Duane’s new book, Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story.


First color proofs

Over the past year, I’ve mistakenly referred to Corrine Naden’s and my book, Ron’s Big Mission, as Ron’s Mission, Little Ron’s Big Mission, and Little Ron on a Big Mission. It’s not entirely my fault because the title did change several times.

But to make matters worse, until recently, I’d also posted that the book would publish with Dial. And to make matters worse than that, I addressed emails to my editor as Ron. His name is Steve. He was patient with me.

I’ve got it straight now. The book that I illustrated is called Ron’s Big Mission. It’s edited by Steve. And it will publish with Dutton later this year . . . um, I think. Possibly early next.

Anyway, I received 1st color proofs and they look great! Dutton did a fantastic job. I’d used a rougher than normal watercolor paper, so I was worried about the reproduction. My 140-pound watercolor paper turned out to be 300-pound extra rough, but I didn’t realize it until half way through the project. I continued to paint, and I just hoped everything would turn out OK.

I have no idea what kind of scanning process Dutton used, but the rough paper texture is gone. I couldn’t be happier.

“The Best Mariachi in the World” Blog

I have created a new website to help promote my latest picture book, due to be released by Raven Tree Press in September. The blog will be updated with news, activities, and info about the book.

Check it out here: http://mariachibook.blogspot.com

Hello! Announcing the publication of a new book!

Hello, this is the first time I’ve ever Blogged!  However, I’m happy to do so as Nicole has encouraged me to participate and I trust her judgment and direction.  I also am delighted to announce the publication, and reviews for my book, A Boy Named Beckoning:  The True Story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma (Lerner/Carolrhoda).


I’m thrilled that the book has earned starred reviews from School Library Journal and Booklist…and, a Book of the Month from Rutgers University.  Also, I’ve had the pleasure be interviewed on Bookbites web cast.  You can hear it at www.blogtalkradio.com/bookbitesforkids


This project has been an inspiring 12 years in the making.  The research has been exhilarating and daunting at the same time.  I firmly believe that while A Boy Named Beckoning is a Native American story it also reaches out to everyone who needs and wants a hero.  For me, there have never been enough words to describe how profound of an influence Carlos Montezuma has had on my own life. 


I was also challenged by the art while illustrating the story.  My usual medium is watercolor but this book called out for acrylic.  I experimented with different types of papers for each spread.  Contact papers with wood patterns, rice paper, and even an archival newspaper of the Chicago Tribune dated in the late 1800’s.  What fun I had!  To be honest, I look forward to doing this type of work again.  Sure, there are a few things that I would do differently but overall I’m very pleased and proud of the book.


We’ve built a temporary website for this book.  You can see it at www.beckoning-carlosmontezuma.com.  Also, Dani is graciously uploading a number of images for the book on the Tuguea2 website.  Thanks for your hard work Dani! Go Tugeau2 team-you’re the best!


Thanks for reading my first blog. 

Best to all,

Gina Capaldi

A Note

Hi.  I’ve had several emails come in referencing my recent post entitled, “Something For Your Pocket?” (June) 


One comment in particular seemed to be the catalyst:


“…the Publisher I was speaking with went on about how it would take innovation and creativity on behalf of the book publishers to look for and create books that ‘make sense’ in the current market.  Books, perhaps, that could work on many different levels – interfacing with web platforms and social networks, for instance.  And, yes, these sorts of books just might call for an illustrator(s) that have experience in all areas of this ‘interface.’  Illustrators for these concepts are likely to require not only digital submissions but vector art creation, basic knowledge of web development, animation, etc.  Are you all ready for that?”


Me again. 


The emails I received were in sharp response to this suggestion. 


“What does that mean for me, children’s book illustrator with no digital aptitude whatsoever?”  

“I’m concerned!” 

“This is very depressing!”


So we’re clear, I do not believe that this will happen overnight.  I do not believe that multi-platform books/networks will ‘take over’ the children’s industry just as I don’t believe that Kindles or Sony Readers will significantly hurt book sales in our children’s market.  Bookmakers simply want to be a part of this emerging genre.  They want to be on the front lines of something new and exciting.  One or two popular books in this genre could mean big earnings for a mid-sized publisher, so they have to entertain the ideas and plans and ideas into motion.  


Just the other day, my husband was speaking with a senior editor who thought it was high time for a resurgence of children’s book classics – Three Pigs and Billy Goats, for instance.  Our industry has strayed far away from ‘classic.’  Kids need modern tellings of these old tales. 

So don’t despair, just be aware!  And embrace what’s new as you find your path in this industry. 

Thank you!




Reading the latest Publisher’s Weekly (July 7), I’ve come accross a starred review for OLD BEAR, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, due to release in August of this year from Greenwillow.  The reviewer had this to say:

In time for autumn, Henkes masterfully tells of a hibernating bear who “dreamed that spring had come and he was a cub again.” Henke’s surefooted art guides readers through time: a terracotta dust jacket and acorn-brown frontpapers inked with dark brown leaves set the season.  The tawny bear, pictured in full-page or four-to-a-page images, curls in his den, his eyes closed and his paws relaxed.  full-bleed spereads depict his dreams, first of being small among enormous flowers (“He took a nap in a giant pink crocus”), then of wandering on lush green summer hillsides (“The sky clouded over over, and it rained blueberries”).  His hibernation vision of fall includes rust-colored birds and orange fish, and his imaginary winter is a cool blue expanse under stars “of all colors.”  When the bear’s eyes open on a real spring day, he feels refreshed, if larger and older than his dream self.  Lyrically describing the young-at-heart, Henkes plays an artist’s game of hot and cold watercolor hues.  Lilac endpapers crowded with flowers and butterflies and a back cover image of the bear in springtime balance the cover’s imagery and gently and calmly acknowledge the annual cycle. (Publisher’s Weekly, July 7, 2008, page 57)

Isn’t that a lovely description of the art?  Surefooted. 

Confident, capable. 

Not liable to stumble or fall. 

What an essential element of art and writing!  Especially for this age range (2-7 years). 

I think it’s an adjetive we can all strive for – to be surefooted in our art and our storytelling.  Goes along with consistency.  It’s not just the handling of one aspect – of line or color, for example.  It’s the combination of composition, line, color, hue, writing, timing.  Surefooted.  Take it with you!



Staying on top of the kids’ trends

Want to stay on top of trends in the kid’s markets? I want to share a good little resource with you. Big Blue Dot is a multimedia firm (web, print and TV) devoted to serving the kids’ industry. They have a bi-monthly email newsletter called Trend Update, which tracks trends in the kid’s world. It’s a cool tip-sheet and a free, effortless way way to stay on top of what’s hot and going on at the moment. Check it out!

Many companies like BBD, plus children’s publishers, put out similar newsletters. Happy web surfing, and if you happen upon any that you find useful and would like to share, please do (in the comments)!