Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grandfather Gandhi Updates!

It has been a great couple of months for Grandfather Gandhi!

Today it was announced that Grandfather Gandhi is one of 20 titles on the 2015-2016 Texas Bluebonnet Award list of nominees! Kids then read 5 of the books, and will be able to vote for their favorite book for the award. Such an honor!

At the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show

Also this week, I was so pleased to be a part of the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show! I went to the show several years ago (I remember ogling Ed Young's brilliant artwork for Tsunami) when I was an intern at Penguin, and it felt great to be there now with work hanging in the show! So nice to meet and see illustrators I've admired the work of, and reconnect with great art directors and editors.

I did a mini-interview with John Schu of "Watch. Read. Connect." where I finished his sentences on a variety of topics: Grandfather Gandhi, Morocco, reading, and tragic stories involving obscure animals. Check it out here:

I also did an interview with the always wonderful Bethany Hegedus for the Hunger Mountain VCFA journal. She asked some great questions, so take a look!

Finally, back in September, and also with the fabulous Bethany Hegedus, I had the chance to do a couple school visits in the New York area! We stopped by the Lincoln School in Fairview, New Jersey where we talked about the themes in Grandfather Gandhi, and how it relates to bullying. The wonderful Sammy Juliano did an amazing job setting up the talks, and we had a fantastic time with great kids!

Next, Bethany and I went to the Sycamore Avenue School in Long Island where we had the privilege to talk to another wonderful group of kids. The principal, Stu Pollak, even asked me to paint a mural on their wall. How could I say no? So much fun! A couple highlights:

A girl in the 5th grade who is blind came up and was able to feel the collage illustrations for the book as her teacher and I explained what she was feeling. It was amazing! I had never thought of collage artwork being experienced in that way. She could feel the outlines of the shadows, the puffs of cotton, and the yarn of Gandhi's mustache.

My favorite question from a student came for Bethany. She talked a bit about how, like the Boston Tea Party in the United States, India rebelled against British rule and taxes. A third grader then asked, "Why did Britain want to own so many countries?" Ha! That is a good question. A very good question.

If you are interested in booking me for a visit, please contact my fantastic booking agent, Carmen Oliver, at The Booking Biz.

Michael Mahin (Photo by Roxanne Young); Evan Turk (Photo by Veronica Lawlor)

In non-Grandfather Gandhi related news, an upcoming book project was just announced!

"Reka Simonsen at Atheneum has bought world rights to Muddy by Michael Mahin (l.), to be illustrated by Evan Turk. It's a picture-book biography of blues musician Muddy Waters, whose fierce and electric sound laid the groundwork for what would become rock and roll. The book is tentatively scheduled for summer 2017; Minju Chang at BookStop Literary represented the author and Brenda Bowen at Sanford J. Greenburger represented the illustrator."

So excited for this story, and to learn more about Muddy!

*Whew* That's all for now!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rainy England


It was a rainy day in New York City today, so I thought I'd post some drawings from some of the rainier days of my trip to England this summer. It rained for about half the trip, and although it impeded some drawing opportunities, I don't think I'd have had it any other way. The countryside just looked so much more English on the rainy days. The painting above is from the village of Ebrington in the Cotswolds, which is possibly one of the quaintest places on the planet. I started the painting during a brief break in the rain, but soon the rain began to pick up. The colors started to blend into one another, and everything took on a soft, squishy look that was much more what the village felt like. The mist dappled the watercolors and made them feel just like the moss that covered every surface.

Continuing the soft and squishy trend of the English countryside were the flocks of adorable sheep that dotted the hillsides. I painted these one very rainy morning from our bedroom in a local farm house that overlooked a field covered with sheep.

Sheep are hilarious looking animals, with silly, huggable shapes that seem predestined for nursery rooms and plush toys.

I couldn't get over how cute the lambs were. Often, two of them would run at their mother from a distance and begin suckling on either side with their tiny tails wagging.

The last rainy painting was from our journey to Highclere Castle, or as it's more commonly known, Downton Abbey. Like all good American tourists, my knowledge of English culture is dictated by a melodramatic soap opera with gorgeous production values! I have to say, TV show aside, the Highclere estate really is incredible. The house is surrounded by lush, rolling hillsides covered with dark forests, scurrying white lambs, and enormous bushes of rhododendrons and azaleas in sunset colors.

For more of Evan Turk's travel illustration, check out the link below: