Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Manifesto For 2016: Done is Better Than Perfect

Right. That's my manifesto this year, damn it. Launch my passion project. Get it out there, measure, fail in public, learn something new, grow my community, embrace change, iterate, rest & repeat.
  "Perfection kills creativity." - James Victore
When I need a kick ass pep talk on a late Sunday night about how to stay creatively focused I listen to James Victore. Again.

"The more authentic I can be, the greater impact it's going to have. Then your work becomes a gift" -James Victore

Inspired? Share it.
What are you making?
Find more of my notes on twitter: @cynthiajabar.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lilli Carre Animation: Like A Lantern

Well this is a nice piece of expressionistic animation from artist Lilli Carre. Love the retro, printmaking vibe, limited palette and sparkling music.

Title: Like A Lantern
Animation: Lilli Carre
Sound: Andrew Dorsett, Eli Moore & Ashley Eriksson
Like a Lantern from Lilli Carre on Vimeo.

Making Picture Books: Lauren Child's New Book; One Thing, Featuring Charlie and Lola

YAY! The first Charlie & Lola book in five years is here. If you're interested in making picture books, Lauren Child is someone you'll want to study.

  • The dialog in the Charlie and Lola series is as timeless as A. A. Milne's Winnie The Pooh, filled with friendship, vulnerability, creativity and kindness.
  • Her sophisticated use of typography, color and collage illustration perfectly compliment the modern tone of the story.
  • I enjoy being swept up into Charlie and Lola's eccentric story world through Child's quirky honest humor and sophisticated visual rhythm. Before I know it, I'm hooked. I want to hang out &  be Charlie & Lola's friends. I'm emotionally connected & I want more. This is no easy feat. Child says, "it takes a lot of time to get it just right." Brand extensions include: activity books, an animated TV series beautifully adapted by Tiger Aspect, licensed toys & much more.
  • I find Lola's humongous and also BIG #GIRLPOWER refreshing! Her best friend is a brown girl with black curly hair named Lotta Zehybe - awesome. We need to see more of this in the picture book world - especially if it depicts girls of all colors.
Watch this interesting BBC video of Lauren Child in her studio sharing her picture book making process.  I absolutely love seeing how other picture book artists work.


1. An Annotated / paginated manuscript from One Thing, Featuring Charlie and Lola, written and illustrated by Lauren Child and published by Orchard Books.

2. Visual Experiments. In the BBC interview, Child says she started to use collage because she likes to move things around on the page and "it takes a lot of time to get it just right." For sure!

3. A storyboard from One Thing, Featuring Charlie and Lola

Listen to this insightful 2015 Bologna Book Fair interview from children's book writer Lucy Coats about Lauren Child's new book, One Thing, featuring Charlie and Lola.

 Charlie & Lola website here.
Charlie & Lola animated series on Cbeebies.
Charlie & Lola on Amazon.
Lauren Child's interactive website; Milk Monitor.
2015 is the 15th anniversary of I Will Not Ever Never Eat A Tomato which won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2000.
Writer Lucy Coats interviews Lauren Child about One Thing at the Bologna Book Fair 2015.
Lucy Coats website

If you enjoyed my MAKING PICTURE BOOK NOTES,  join me on Twitter @cynthiajabar for more transmedia publishing + picture book + MakerEd stuff to fuel your making process.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Coding #GirlPower: Jessica Hische, Self Proclaimed Type Nerd

"You have to learn the tools to make cool stuff." - Jessica Hische

Stumbled upon these great thoughts from illustrator & type designer Jessica Hische (2012!) about why it's important to learn how to code. Total #GIRLPOWER. Love her work & delivery.

  • In Progress, See Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process from Pencil to Vector

Monday, September 21, 2015

Making Picture Books: Christian Robinson's Joy

I absolutely adore this animated piece, What Is Music? from picture book artist & animator Christian Robinson. The timing of the children's voices paired with vibrant illustration stills, questions, simple animated Gif-like movements & photographs is a grand lesson in the value of LESS IS MORE. So much heart & depth packed into this deceptively simple piece. WOW. BRAVO.

What is Music? from Christian Robinson on Vimeo.

His award winning picture books are filled with the joy and curiosity of childhood. A few of my favorites include:

Harlem's Little Blackbird Story by Renee Watson & Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Cover Illustration, Harlem's Little Blackbird c. 2015 Christian Robinson

Interior Illustration, Harlem's Little Blackbird c 2015 Christian Robinson
Rain! Story by Linda Ashman & Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Cover Illustration, Rain! c. 2015 Christian Robinson

 Last Stop On Market Street Story by Matt DePena & Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Cover Illustration, Last Stop On Market Street c. 2015 Christian Robinson
Read more about award winning picture book author & illustrator Christian Robinson here.

I hope you enjoyed reading my #PictureBookNotes, join me on twitter: @cynthiajabar & instagram: @NycBookNerd for more bookish inspiration & goodness.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Animation: Les Poings Sur Les Iles

What lovely illustration & animation!

'Les poings sur les iles' For CJ animation
Text Elise fontenaille
Illustration Violeta lopiz
Directed by LuBing
Animated by LuBing, Kang Suhyun, Kim Soyoung, Lee Minhwee
Sound effect Lee Sungrok
Music by Lee Taehoon
Voice of Han Gil
Script by Kwon Seulki
Picture book coodinator Choun Sanghyun
Translator Kim Sangyoon
_CJ Culture Foundation
Les poings sur les iles Spanish subtitled from LUBING on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Adult Coloring Books Are Popular, But Why?

Part of my daily doodle exercise. Illustration c. Cynthia Jabar 2015
In May while skimming the #BEA15 hashtag, I read a tweet from Jane Friedman saying coloring books were wildly popular.
She sounded puzzled.
I wanted to tweet back to her in caps: I KNOW WHY, but my manners kicked in.

But I do know why: R E L A X A T I O N. It's something we need to cultivate in our fast paced digital lives. I get to draw everyday as part of my job so I know how meditative drawing can be. But it appears I'm not alone.

The Boston Globe reports that coloring books are flying off the shelves and are among the top sellers at Amazon & Barnes & Noble. Five of the top 30 titles on Amazon's best seller list are coloring books aimed at adults.

Sarah Deaver, president of the American Art Therapy Association says, " I think it probably speaks to people's enjoyment in doing this kind of relaxing hobby or distraction from everyday life."

Coloring books have always been around but I think publishers started paying attention when Taro Gomi's coloring books landed here from Japan and started selling and fueling the doodle book explosion for kids. He is the DOODLE BOOK KING in my humble opinion. His books are fun & sophisticated - and kids LOVE them! I like giving this one away: The Grumpy Doodle Book, it always gets a good chuckle.

I joined the craze with a doodle picture book hybrid I illustrated called Hello My New Baby written by Leslie Kimmelman and published by Blue Apple Books.

 It looks like this stress relieving trend is here to stay- at least until the next one emerges.

So grab some markers, put on some music, chill out & color with a few friends, you've got so many great illustration choices!

Here's a Few Awesome Ones To get You Started


The Indie Rock Coloring Book  (2009) by Yellow Bird Project & Andy J. Miller.

Just Add Color: Folk Art: 30 Original Illustrations To Color, Customize & Hang (2014) by artist Lisa Congdon.

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt & Coloring Book (2013) by Johanna Basford (over 1 million copies sold- she's working on her 3rd book,) published by Laurence King


CNN: Adult Coloring Books Topping Best Seller Lists
The Guardian: I'm A Grown-Up, But I Still Love Colouring Books by Matt Cain
The Guardian: Colouring In Can Free Your Mind. Let's Learn How To Play Again by Philippa Perry
New York Times: Grown-Ups Get Out Their Crayons by Alexandra Alter
The Boston Globe: Coloring Books For dults Are Flying Off Shelves by Dugan Arnett
The Huffington Post: Coloring Isn't Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Cope With Stress


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Drawing, Doodling & Writing On Paper Builds Creative Thinking Skills

All kinds of makers & children instinctively know this to be true: there is something satisfying about putting pen to paper and making marks.
Drawing, doodling and writing can be a joyful meditative exercise in letting the mind roam. A way to be mindful and slow down. Connect. It's also a cornerstone to what John Debes termed in 1969 as visual literacy, an important 21st century skill kids need.

Therefore I wasn't surprised when I read this article about how "in a digital chapter, paper notebooks are as relevant as ever."A few interesting facts I discovered:
"The Italian company that makes Moleskines — all 500 versions — is red hot, consistently recording double-digit sales growth. Oddly enough, the analog company's success has grown in tandem with the digital revolution. In fact, when conducting market research, the company detected something even more perplexing: a direct correlation between sales of its little black notebooks and proximity to an Apple store."
 In a recent study:
"The students who used paper scored significantly higher than those who used laptops. Mueller attributes this unexpected finding — published in the journal, Psychological Science — to the fact that the "analog" note takers were forced to synthesize rather than merely transcribe. It's a phenomenon known as "desirable difficulty."
"Desirable difficulty is some small roadblock that is in your path that actually improves your understanding of a topic."
Drawing actually builds creative design thinking skills we need to solve the world's problems. Just ask a working artist, architect, designer or engineer how important drawing is to their work.

But the great thing about drawing is you don't have to be  professional to enjoy it! A box of crayons and sheet of paper will do the trick. I recently read the smell of crayons can reduce stress.  I haven't see any science to back it up, but I don't think it really matters to my niece.

How has drawing made your life richer?


Here's a link to the paper: The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard by Pam A Mueller & Daniel M. Oppenheimer.
The Big Draw, The World's Biggest Drawing Festival, UK (RAD!)
Draw Yourself Happy: Drawing, Creativity + Your Brain
This is Your Brain On Writing, The New York Times 
Artistic Creativity & The Brain, Essays On Science & Society
How Arts Develop The Young Brain

I hope you enjoyed my notes.
Join me on twitter: @cynthiajabar

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mary Oliver On Writing Poetry & Listening To The World

A wonderfully inspiring interview.
"What is is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life. - Mary Oliver

"Often quoted, but rarely interviewed, Mary Oliver is one of our greatest and most beloved poets. At 79, she honors us with an intimate conversation on the wisdom of the world, the salvation of poetry, and the life behind her writing." - On Being with Krista Tippett

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
-Mary Oliver

Dream Work