UNICEF - Call to Illustrators!

UNICEF is doing an amazing collaboration with writers, illustrators, artists of any kind to contribute to their Instagram account. They are asking artists to share in our own way our thoughts on the treatment of refugee and migrant children. As a mom of three, seeing the suffering of children hits too close to home. Please use your gift of creating to show how this situation is affecting you.

Melody and Me

Working at breakneck speed, I've completed 28(ish) illustrations for Steinway and Sons Pianos.  They will be selling a collection of lovely piano songs on CD and little illustrated Melody will be an accompaniment.  More details on the final CD project to follow!  In the meantime, please enjoy a few of these handpicked Melody favorites!bread_butterspaghettielephanthideandseekgreen_bean_queen_mikela_prevost

Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell

Some authors' stories read as if they were giggling quietly to themselves the entire time they were writing.  When I saw the cover of 

Trouble Gum

, the image of a giant pink bubble being blown by a small piglet, I knew I found such a book.  Matthew Cordell wrote and illustrated 

Trouble Gum.  

Matthew Cordell (from my estimation) has fun for a living.   So being the nosy person that I am, I had to include this talented author/illustrator in our Mini Interview line up...

Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell

Please describe your career as an author-illustrator in 5 words:

Still. Figuring. It. All. Out.

richard scarry
richard scarry

Which books, that were your favorite when you were little, have had the greatest influence on your work?

I wish I could point to some really obscure and never-heard-of illustrators as my childhood inspirations, like that would make me sound cool, maybe. However,  I think I'm not too different from most in that I can remember the "classics" being read during my own childhood. Specifically, I can remember being drawn to Maurice Sendak (WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE), Dr. Seuss (GREEN EGGS AND HAM), and Richard Scarry (WHAT DO PEOPLE DO ALL DAY?) as a child. And I still love all three of them. Maybe this still makes me sound cool?

Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell

Please share an instance in which you had an idea or experience that started out small, but took root and grew to become a book.

My first author-illustrator book, TROUBLE GUM, started out with this image I had in my head of a pig who blew a massive bubble gum bubble and it lifted him or her up into the air and took flight. I didn't have a story to wrap around that image, but I was very much in love with the possibility of making a book that somehow used that visual. I knew very little about writing picture books at the time, so it took me many incarnations of this bubble gum pig story, over the span of several years, before it actually, you know, took flight. But eventually one of those incarnations landed into the hands of my lovely editors at Feiwel and Friends, Liz Szabla and Rebecca Davis, and they helped me officially find its way to publication.

Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell

Do you ever hide little images, names or personal details in your illustrations? Please give us a peek

I do! Occasionally, when there's a place to hide some text or if there's a background character or element I could use as a tip o' the hat to someone I love, I'll take advantage. For instance, on this page from ANOTHER BROTHER, I've used these letter blocks to spell out the names of my daughter, Romy, and wife, Julie. These are always fun things to point at at school visits! Kids get into the whole secret message thing.

Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell

Daily routines are important for both writers and illustrators. Could you describe your typical work day, and tell us the one little thing you absolutely cannot begin your day without (besides caffeine)?

Lately I've been trying to do some work before doing the actual "work." Meaning, some kind of warm-up routine to get the creative juices pumping. I didn't want to put a huge amount of time into thinking about subject, so I decided to start doing portraits of friends, family, co-workers. It's been a great deal of fun and I love surprising folks with my interpretation of themselves on Facebook.

Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell

Your books are so amazingly different - do you ever talk yourself out a of good idea because it skews the mainstream industry?

There was a time that I felt like I had to be a certain way and do a certain type of book and stick to it. Like I could ONLY do funny books. Or I could ONLY do sincere books. Or I could ONLY draw this way or that. For me, it gets old fast to think that way. So I'm happy to hear that you find my books so different from one another! One of my favorite contemporary author-illustrators, David Ezra Stein, has shown me that each book can be approached completely as an individual and the means of production can flow from within. And this kind of artistic freedom and sincerity... THAT is your style. That is your moniker. Now that I've opened myself up to whatever comes, I feel so much more free and able to create without being put in a self-imposed box. I don't know if it's good or bad or whatever, but I know it makes me feel better not having to live up to just one ideal or aesthetic.

Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews - Matthew Cordell
Mini Interviews 2013
Mini Interviews 2013

Matthew Cordell is the illustrator and author of many acclaimed books for young readers. Though he spent most of his life in small town South Carolina, at the turn of the century he migrated midwest to set up shop in Chicago. It was there that he met his soon-to-be bride, his passion for children’s books, and deep dish pizza.  Matthew is the illustrator of many books including the Justin Case series by Rachel Vail, 

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It

 by Gail Carson Levine, and 

Toby and the Snowflakes

 by Julie Halpern. He is the illustrator and author of 

hello! hello!, Another Brother, 

and

 Trouble Gum

.  Matthew now lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his talented wife, author Julie Halpern, and their two children.

Be on the look out in 2014 for ROOTING FOR YOUa picture book by Susan Hood with illustrations by Matthew. He is currently working on his third author-illustrator book, WISH, and illustrations for a picture book by Philip C. Stead titled SPECIAL DELIVERY.

Stay connected with Matthew through...

web: 

matthewcordell.com

blog: 

matthewcordell.blogspot.com/

facebook: 

facebook.com/cordellmatthew

twitter:

@matthewcordell

In Everything...

This is probably one of my favorite verses.  This is the one I would get tattooed in some cool hipster style on my shoulder if I was a cool hipster and not a middle age mom of three. Getting tattoos after that point in life, people start getting concerned. I first noticed this verse in the book The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.  I absolutely recommend reading it.  Especially if you like crying.  A LOT.  Basically the story of two Christian sisters sent to concentration camp during WWII.  Really amazing example of faith.

In Everything Give Thanks - Mikela Prevost
In Everything Give Thanks - Mikela Prevost

Please feel free to download!  http://db.tt/yI3d9hza

Open your homes...

This was such a great verse I heard at church the other week.  I usually doodle out the sermon notes in a little sketchbook, but this one was really demanding my attention...

Open Your Homes - Mikela Prevost
Open Your Homes - Mikela Prevost

If this tickles your fancy well go on and download a high-res version! http://db.tt/wlKsfj23

Illustrated verses are also great as smartphone wallpaper too!  Just snap a pic with your phone and select it as your wallpaper.

More verses to come...