Friday, July 19, 2013

Mazza Museum Summer Conference Day 5

Wow! It's hard to believe it's been a whole week! Today started with a bang with a keynote from Roger Roth. Roger grew up in a family that embraced the arts--his father was a writer and taught radio drama, and his mother went to art school, painted, and took Roger to art museums as a child. Roger himself attended art schools as a youth, and has kept a sketchbook his his first class. After a false start at a university, Roger worked odd jobs, painting in his free time. Eventually, he landed at the Pratt Institute and when he graduated, he worked as a freelance illustrator for the likes of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. After doing an ad about Paris for a travel magazine, an editor contacted him. "We have a book about Paris," she said. "We wonder if you'd like to do it." That became the book (recently released by another publisher) The Giraffe That Walked To Paris. It'sbeauty!

Roger has since illustrated 18 books, including several by Jane Yolan. One fascinating story Roger told was of doing the book The American Story, which is 368 pages long. When he asked when they needed the art they said, "In a year."

Do the math, illustrators.

His answer was "I don't think I can get it to you that quickly," but they agreed to have him illustrate it anyway. For the next two and a half years, Roger delivered a finished drawing to them every three days! This book is worth taking a look at. The art is beautiful and wow--you've got to be impressed by the speed! Roger was a comfortable speaker and put his audience at ease. He shared about his family and hobbies ("Ice fishing is a very slow sport. Great for creative work.") We all enjoyed him.

Following Roger was Chris Raschka. Chris is a meticulous guy who admits to putting away all his art materials every night so "I can see my empty table in the morning." Whoever said creatives are messy? Roger is also very smart. He turned down medical school to pursue his love of art and has published over 50 books in his 20 years in the industry.

One particularly interesting thing Chris shared was that his book Otter and Odder: A Love Story (Candlewick 2012) was actually printed from the color book dummy (blown up 200%) he sent the
publisher. Can you imagine?
Chris won the Caledcott honor in 1994 for Yo! Yes!, and the Caldecott Medal in 1996 for Hello Goodbye Window, and again in 2012 for A Ball for Daisy. 

Chris looks the part of an artist, but on the other hand, I can imagine him a doctor as well. His speaking style is warm and friendly and at the same time to the point, with a "let's not waste time" attitude. It was a treat to hear him speak and to meet him!