Pre-Order Swag is a Thing!

Happy July friends! We are getting closer and closer to the release date for JOSIE'S LOST TOOTH, and I've got some excellent gifts for those of you who are organized enough to pre-order my book from your favorite independent bookstore or other good source. If you pre-order, and send me a note to let me know, I will send you these *RARE* Josie buttons, AND, this super cool shark's tooth necklace, just like Josie's! Your gap-toothed imp might need a shark's tooth to fill that gap! And if you order my book from Eagle Harbor Book Company, you can request that I sign it before they send it off to you. Supplies are limited, so get a move on!

Josie swag.jpg

PiBoIdMo--oh yeah!

I rarely commit to public writing or drawing events, because I don't like to announce to the world that I am going to do something when I know very well that I probably won't. I feel the same way about book groups--I just am never sure I can truly commit to reading that book that we are all going to talk about next month. 

But, for some reason, this year I have decided to actually commit, yes, to this terrific picture book endeavor called PiBoIdMo. I, Jennifer K. Mann, will try my hardest to come up with THIRTY (maybe more) new picture book ideas before the end of November!

And I am off to a good start, because just by deciding to commit (personally and publicly) the ideas have been flowing in. I'm collecting the extras up front, because there will be more than a few days this month when I may be distracted with other responsibilities. 

Now, you should know, there is no one checking to see that my ideas are good ones--I guess I will need to be the judge of that. I sure am hoping that there is at least one great idea among the many I hope to come up with. And even if all I have is a ton of not-so good ideas, at least I will have tried. Right?

You can find lots of information about PiBoIdMoand, and inspiration from guest bloggers at Tara Lazar's blog, here. Tara has created an amazing, supportive and inspiring community of writers and illustrators all in pursuit of the elusive perfect picture book idea. You don't have to be published to jump in--you just have to want to jot down thirty ideas for possible picture books before the end of November. If I can do it, you can do it.

A Character Design Workshop for kids

So, today I taught a really fun workshop to a bunch of really creative kids at the Bainbridge Island branch of the Kitsap Regional Library. It was a full house, with twelve bums in chairs doing the hard work of CHARACTER DESIGN!

I brought a stack of favorite books with wonderfully designed characters.

I loaded up a couple of tables with a lot of collage materials and markers and glue and scissors and hole punchers and string and stuff.

I talked for a minute or two about character design (clothes, hair, eyes, accessories, setting, backstory, size, shape, species, etc etc).

I asked them to think of themselves as characters--human, animal, whatever they thought was right. What could they express about themselves with a drawing or a collage or both?

I taught them how to use tracing paper to make patterns for cutting out collage materials to give their characters (or their settings) some, well, character! 

And then I let the kids get making.

And make they did.

Their infectious creativity inspired me.

And two hours was not nearly enough for all the fun we had.