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Painting a kids' book? Use your imagination

July 16, 2007|Lynne Heffley

A trio of top children's book artists will discuss how illustrators translate an author's voice into images in "Storytelling With the Paintbrush: Artists and the Children's Book," a free event at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Mark Taper Auditorium at the Richard J. Riordan Central Library in downtown L.A.

Moderated by 2007 Newbery Award recipient Susan Patron ("The Higher Power of Lucky"), the panel features Marla Frazee, who teaches children's book illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and is known for her distinctive pen-and-ink and watercolor work; Kadir Nelson, a recipient of a 2007 Caldecott Honor for his dramatic paintings in "Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom," by Carole Boston Weatherford; and mixed media and computer artist David Diaz.

Diaz, a Caldecott Medal-winner for "Smoky Night," Eve Bunting's child's-eye view of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, plans to ask "if someone has a book with them that they're enjoying."

"I'll have them read a couple of paragraphs until I get a visual in my head," Diaz says. After about 10 minutes of sketches, he says, "I'll do a loose painting of what's been discussed in the text."

Diaz, now working on two book projects, has advice for aspiring illustrators: "This isn't a business to be in if you don't have real passion for it. At 3 or 4 in the morning, the only thing that's going to get you through is passion."

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-- Lynne Heffley

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