Archive for March, 2015

Our video debuts on!

Wow, today is a red letter day for us! First, Johnamarie Macias posted our interview with her today over at A screen capture of their homepage is below, and here’s the full interview. A big thanks to Johnamarie and her crew for taking the time to share the news about our books! - Star Wars Epic Yarns

Second, our Star Wars Epic Yarns behind-the-scenes video debuted on! Maybe we’ll stop floating by the end of the day…

Star Wars Epic Yarns Behind the Scenes on Disney Video

UPDATE: You know you’ve been accepted into the Star Wars family when this happens…

Star Wars tweet (cropped)

Epic Yarns: Chronicle Pre-Order Offer!

Star Wars Epic Yarns will be released in a few short weeks–April 14, 2015 to be exact. Pre-order copies of Star Wars Epic Yarns now and take advantage of Chronicle Books’ pre-order offer of goodies like a limited-edition poster or stickers! So what are you waiting for?

Star Wars Epic Yarns - Chronicle Pre-Order

Back from SXSW!

Holman returned yesterday from a very successful and thrilling trip to Austin, Texas for SXSW Interactive.

Holman’s “Core Conversation”, entitled Build a Life, Not A Resume, was fully committed, with both the registration list and the waiting list full. Though the room had an official capacity of 50 people, we managed to cram in about 62 eager participants!

Holman had the pleasure of presenting with Nathan Gebhard of Roadtrip Nation. We talked about why everyone should build a life—not a resume—through a lively discussion that explored the importance of integrating what you love into your work. You are not just your job title! Here’s the sign outside our room (we were on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.):

Star Wars Epic Yarns - SXSW - Build a Life Not A Resume Sign

And here’s Holman and Nate in action. Holman had his felt figures covered with a scarf, and did a figure reveal halfway through the presentation to “oohs”, “aahs” and flashbulbs!

Star Wars Epic Yarns - SXSW - Nate and Holman

Here’s the enthusiastic audience:

Star Wars Epic Yarns - SXSW - Build a Life Not A Resume 2

Star Wars Epic Yarns - SXSW - Build a Life Not A Resume

Holman also got to attend some great Interactive sessions as well, including the panel discussion on the 20-year anniversary of Toy Story, the world’s first feature-length CGI film. Here’s Pete Doctor explaining how he figured out how to animate the movements of some of the toys by flopping around a real-life, loose-limbed doll:

Star Wars Epic Yarns - SXSW - Toy Story Panel

There was lots of other fun had, including watching Nate speak at 20×2, where he had 2 minutes to answer the question “What Choice Did You Have?”, and a late dinner with Albee, Cathy and Allie from Chronicle Books at Easy Tiger.

Star Wars Epic Yarns - SXSW - Nate at 20x2

Star Wars Epic Yarns - SXSW - Easy Tiger

Thanks to the good folks at Chronicle Books for pitching this event! It was a great time down in Austin, and can’t wait to go to “South By” again!

Needle felt with Holman in Anaheim!

Who lives in Orange County, or will be there for Star Wars Celebration? If you do (or will), then come learn to needle felt with Holman at The Makery in Anaheim on April 16th from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm! We’ll be making a Jawa!

$40 includes all material costs, plus a signed copy of Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope. Special thanks to Fan Alley for teaming up for this event, who will be selling copies of other books in the Star Wars Epic Yarns series at the event.

If you don’t live in the O.C., please tell your crafty friends that do! Here are all the event details so you can register before space runs out!

Star Wars Epic Yarns - Jawa How To


Panel proposal for ALA in San Francisco

If you’ve never seen the fabulous work of Canadian children’s author and illustrator Elly Mackay, then you need to check out her website and Etsy store. We first “met” Elly when we gave her a shout out on Twitter and she responded:

Like us, Elly makes makes worlds in miniature. In her case, she makes scenes using paper, light and photography. She refers to her artistic process as paper theater, lightbox illustrations or illuminated papercraft. Here’s just one example of her amazing work:



When she mentioned in her tweet that we were “kindred spirits”, it struck a chord with us. So much so that we thought it would be a great to join forces with Elly somehow. What materialized was an idea to pitch a panel discussion on the book conference circuit, including the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

In addition to Elly, we asked Terry Border to join the panel. Again, if you haven’t seen his work, you need to check out his website. He’s best known for his Bent Objects projects, where he added wire (usually as arms and legs) to ordinary objects to help pose them as living characters, usually telling a story, and then photographing them. The results range from whimsical to hilarious. Here’s a sample:


And if you love children’s classics and want a good laugh, then you need to see Terry’s series My many tries at my first children’s book cover.

Since Jack is in England now, he’s not part of the pitch, but here’s the draft session description the rest of us have come up:


“Crafty” illustration techniques and the push-back against computer-generated images in children’s picture books

Every librarian knows that children’s picture books are waging a fierce battle with “screens”—televisions, computers and mobile devices—for children’s attention. But even when children have a printed book in their hands, digital incursions are everywhere, from flat, lifeless and obviously computer-generated art to more painterly images that are nevertheless digitally rendered or manipulated. In response, there appears to be a growing appetite among book-buyers for images that are not “electronically made.”

Do you have a booklist ready if a parent asks, “Can you show me some books that don’t have computer generated illustrations?”

In this panel discussion, three prominent “maker” illustrators discuss how children’s artists are looking to push beyond the boundaries of digital rendering—and even beyond traditional techniques such as drawing and painting—to bring craft into their artistic processes to create images that are more tactile, immediate, and authentic.

The current cultural resurgence of do-it-yourself handcraft—variously dubbed “makerism,” “craftivism” or “fabriculture”—is beginning to impact the world of children’s picture book illustration. This cultural resurgence informs the work of Elly Mackay, Holman Wang and Terry Border, who each combine a different handcraft with photography to create striking and unique images that collectively constitute a whole new idiom of illustration.

Elly MacKay creates evocative, luminescent worlds through miniature dioramas that she calls “paper theatre”. Holman Wang painstakingly illustrates his books with hand-made, needle-felted figures placed in indoor sets or outdoors on location. Terry Border is best known for adding wire (usually as arms and legs) to ordinary objects to hilariously bring them to life as human-like characters.

Come hear Elly, Holman and Terry reveal the tricks of the trade behind their art, discuss the importance of “making”, and examine the future of illustrating for children.

We don’t know if the ALA will accept. But whatever comes of our panel discussion proposal, it’s nice to know that there are other non-traditional artists out there who, like us, are pushing the boundaries of children’s illustration.