Friday, February 26, 2010

A Gem in Disguise

Well, here it is, I must confess...

I judged a book by its cover.  *cringe*

"gASp!" you say, "By George, how COULD you??!!??"

"But I couldn't help myself!" I protest, "It had Trina's work on the front, and I HAD to have it!"

So I got it.  Don't worry, I'm being good and buying used and unwanted books, so I'm not harming any trees.  But the is quite the gem!  Here it is:

"Celebrate Cricket: 30 Years of Stories and Art"

I should have known that a book with such a beautiful cover should also be filled with other beautiful things, but I was only focused on having that image in my possession.  So when it came in the mail yesterday and I cracked that baby open-


Some of you may know that one way to get things rolling in an illustration career, specifically a children's book illustration career, is to take a stab at submitting to Cricket magazine and its subsidaries.  (I am in the workings of doing just that.)  I got on eBay a lovely stack of old issues of Cricket, Ladybug, and Babybug, and I was shocked to realize that many well-known artists had their beginnings with Cricket.  I shouldn't have been, but I'm new to the scene, so this was indeed a learning experience!

So, when I opened my new book yesterday, there they were- images and words by Trina Schart Hyman, Tomie dePaola, David Wiesner, Chris Van Allsburg, and so many more!  All of my favorites in one book, all telling their story of how they got their big breaks, or how they started off their careers working for Cricket.  I have barely begun to read it, and I'm already talking about it!  I started rambling on to my husband about how awesome this was, but all I got in response was a glazed stare.

He really isn't all that into this stuff.

But YOU are!  So check it out!  Go to the library and read all about it!  Have fun learning all about this little world I've barely bugn to know, because I sure am!

And do your Illustration Friday- the topic is: Perspective
(Huh, funny how that relates to today's blog entry....)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Illustration Friday(s)

Although I haven't posted them yet, it doesn't mean I'm not doing them! Here are my recent sketches for Illustration Friday, in no particular order. The first one is my favorite though!

Also, ALL of these images are Copyright 2010 Melanie Linden Chan! Do NOT steal them, that is bad for your karma!




and his poor kitty!

Focused #1

Focused #2


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I'm a new subscriber to the Horn Book Magazine (it's all about book reviews, and it's GREAT!) and the cover art for this month's issue was not only SO CUTE, but it also looked very familiar:

Come to find out, this very pleasing design was done by Leslie Patricelli, the same talented artist who did this little fella:

I had almost purchased this book a few weeks ago, in addition to "I Love You, Daddy," but I had restrained myself! Shame on me, because now I have to go back and get it! Leslie's work is just adorable, and fun, and guess what my little nephew is now getting for his first birthday?

Yep, Leslie books!

Check out her site:, it also happens to have a similar look I'm trying to achieve with my own website... *teeth grinding* I will get there someday!!

Long Time No See...

No kidding, right?

Well, I have finally finished that business course I had been taking, and I'm glad to have seen the end of it...for now. Truth is, that sort of thing is going to be a regular part of my life. But for now my mind needs a break, and while I have a week until my Spring classes start, I am trying to update my website. No, no... not my blog... that would be too easy!

My website is so so sooo out of touch with the real world, and it sort of made me sad to see the dust and mold sitting on it. But I've got my chisel here, and I'm going at it a little bit every day until it's glistening and polished, and professional looking! Yes!

So hang in there for a bit whilst I whistle and I work.

(Oh, and Hey- I've got some Illustration Friday drawings in my sketchbook! Yay for me! I will post them here as soon as I can.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Attn: RI Artists

Anyone need some 30"x40" canvas? I've got 5 of them, and I am trying to make some space! Plus, I will be working much smaller now that I am doing Children's Books. $6.75 each, but you must be a local because I won't be shipping them. Email me if you're interested!

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Book You MUST Have!

Greetings Visual Artists!

Just wanted to let you know about this book I just purchased, and boy is it a gem! It's been around for ages, but I learned about it in my portfolio class a few weeks ago, and I finally got it. I swear it's like a business class for people like us!

Here it is, the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines!

Now don't forget to check Illustration Friday for today's theme!!
Lata, I'm off to work!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Time to get ORGANIZED...join a club!

One of the best ways one can stay "in the loop" and up to date with their careers is to join an organization or subscribe to some sort of publication. Here is a lost of some of the most important groups in the world of Children's Books:

The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators,
(For the New England chapter, go to
The Graphic Artist's Guild,
The Author's Guild,
The Picture Book Artist Association,

The Horn Book Magazine; get a subscription, follow their blog, or sign up for their newsletter!
Publisher's Weekly; check out their children's book reviews or get a subscription,

Illustration Friday is a great place to see some fresh art, and get some good ideas! There is also a blog link on the site,

It is also a good idea to join a critique group, or make your own!

If you want to be an author or illustrator, it is imperative that you learn as much as you can about the market, trends, publishing process, new releases, and book awards. These organizations will help you do just that!

I will keep the list updated as I find out more information!


I just purchased this very cute book, "I Love You, Daddy," by Jillian Harker.

The story is sweet, but what caught my eye was, of course, the illustrations. Newly added to my favorites list, UK illustrator Jillian Harker has such a nice, loose style. It looks cartoony, but definitely hand drawn with a sketchy feel. She works mostly in pencil, with watercolor washes for color. I looked her up on Amazon and found quite the collection! Apparently she had been doing this for a while. Great Job Kristina, if you're reading this!