Monday, October 06, 2008

Inside Story Presentation -

Yesterday, Jo Gershsman - fellow POBL member, friend and co-illustrator, and I gave our Inside Story presentation at University Bookstore.

We were on a panel with a number of other local professionals - including another POBL-member Kathleen Kemly, and hero-artist Richard Jesse Watson.

Jo and I went for a somewhat silly, light-hearted approach (that actually mimicked real life more than one might think). (The text will be attached below if you are interested.)

Kathleen gave a fun presentation on her two historical picture books published this year.

A couple of other POBL members also attended - which made for a lovely, supportive evening for all.

[Ed. note, added later: Jaime Temarik, our intrepid Inside Story organizer, has written up a review of the first half of the evening on her blog here].

Inside Story Presentation:

Hello, I’m Tara Larsen Chang. And I’m Jo Gershman. And we’re sharing with you a very brief and abbreviated version of our latest collaborative adventure in illustration and chocolate -


Jo: hello

Tara: Hey Jo, the publisher, Feiwel & Friends just offered me a new series to illustrate. It’s about flying Fairy Horses based on Breyer’s Wind Dancer models, and has just a handful of illustrations per book. I should be able to fit *that* into my schedule in a couple of months when we begin.

Jo: Oh, that sounds like fun….I’m working on elves and Santa Claus… I wish I could work on horses too…

3 months later-


Tara: hello

Jo: Hi Tara. Guess what - I just took the most incredible drawing class on horse anatomy.

Tara: No kidding??? Do you remember that ‘easy’ fairy horse project? NOW they’re asking for between 40-50 illustrations per book, and they need the first four books completed in only 10 weeks!

Do you want to help??

Jo: Yes! Absolutely!

Some time Later. 3pm


Jo: hello

Tara: Hi Jo, we need to coordinate the next book’s art list and divvy up the work in the most visually unified way possible .

Jo: It’s a good thing we’ve worked on projects together before, or it would be much more difficult to harmonize the look of these books.

Tara: Well I can’t tell you how nice it is to collaborate with you on this project! With the schedule and the hours we’re keeping, it makes all the difference to have someone else intimately involved in the details and decision making.

Jo: I may need to make a major investment in Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Some time later. 6 pm


Jo: hello

Tara: Hey Jo, you know the horse characters in these books? Each one has its own personality and will do a number of non-horsey things – like combing their hair, making pies and flying. And since Breyer is commissioning these books they also have to be anatomically accurate –

Jo: You know, Breyer’s been known as the ‘Home to the World’s Finest Model Horses’ for over 50 years now. They’ll be checking our horse anatomy with a fine tooth currycomb.

Tara: So the trick will be conveying human expressions and actions as well as magical ones (like all the flying) while still keeping them realistic enough!

Jo: Tricky, but doable – kind of like those reindeer who fly and talk with Santa.

Some time later: 9pm


Jo: hello

Tara: Needing a chocolate fix to stay awake.

Jo: Do you think it’ll help the visual consistency if we eat the same kind?

Tara: It might be worth a try. :-)

Jo: Speaking of visual consistency, we need to be sure we’re painting on the same paper and using the exact same color palette.

Tara: Our choices are limited by the nine colors on these Wind Dancer models. So we’ll have to pull out our “color mixing-fu” and mix colors for everything else in these books from these —that way everything will be consistent!

Jo: We’re going to need more chocolate.

Some time later: Midnight


Tara: hello

Jo: Wings -

Tara: and chocolate -

Jo: and halos -

Tara: and chocolate -

Jo: and jewels -

Tara: and chocolate -

Both: Oh my…

Some time later: 2:30 am


Jo: hello

Tara: Finished!

Jo: Sixteen hours of day for the final three weeks

Tara: We’re still alive.

Jo: And we’re still speaking to each other.

Tara: Did you see the East Coast email that just came from the art director? She wants to know if we’re ready to start thinking about the next four books?!!

(Both sigh and hang up the phone: “We’re going to bed!”)


maren said...

Having been a witness from the sidelines of this project, I say you captured it right on. What a cute presentation.

Sandi McBride said...

LOL, horses baking pies? Wings I could see...eating chocolate??? But I'd love to see those books...I can say I know the illustrator! What a proud moment that would be!

d. moll, said...

LOL, and they all have to be anatomically correct while brushing hair and baking pies, love it. Chocolate permeated pages doubtless have powerful attractive forces for readers.

LDahl said...

!!!Giggle!!! true to life and yet how funny...
What would we do without our Chocolate? I applaud you for a job well done!

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

Tara, you absolutely amaze me. You are so involved with all these extra artistic activities and yet you still output so many completed jobs. How do you do it? Having your network of wonderful illustrator friends must fuel your artistic tank. I'm envious. Thank you for sharing your escapades. They are light-hearted and inspiring.
FYI- I bit the bullet and signed up for IMC 2009. Surprisingly, I've had no second thoughts. I'm excited. I hope I can see you there but can understand your reasons for holding off.

Britt-Arnhild said...

Lovely Tara. You are roo funny :-)

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

Ha! too funny, I would have enjoyed that presentation for sure! i hate when people drone on and on, i have no attention span!

Karen said...

What a great presentation! :)
My daughter loves anything horsey, including the Breyer ones. We shall definitely look out for your books.

Gail said...

It sounds like a great presentation Tara. I've been looking at the photos and things from your retreat - it looks like you all had a wonderful time - I'm envious ;-)

Tatiana said...

Very cute! I guess artists don't really need to sleep.

cinderelly said...

so cute! wow, it sounds like it must have been an intense and exhasting process! (how did the horses do those things without fingers?);]

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Tara. (Note to self: do dot read funnies whed hab cod id da nose!)

Merisi said...

Oh yeah, as soon as the bucketful of fine chocolates arrives, you will work 36 hours a day, wouldn't you?

Very funny, went well with my cappuccino break. Now, why is there no chocolate in this house??? :-)))

Ash said...

Wow! I know SOME stress is good for us but I admire you both for coping with all that colour matching/ anatomically correct/happy smiley horsey stuff. Phew, quite tires me out just thinking about it all!
Now DOGS, that I could relate to.... and the chocolate bit, obviously

Soozcat said...

Sounds like it's time to rev up the Chocolate Ambulance again.