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#GiveBooks with First Book

On Friday, December 11, Jack visited The Hammond School, PS82 in Queens, NY. There, he helped give away hundreds of copies of Star Wars Epic Yarns that our publisher, Chronicle Books, had generously donated to First Book, a non-profit organization that gives new books to children in need. The students were primed for the visit and eager to meet Jack!

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Jack then gave a presentation that took students through the original trilogy and behind the scenes of the making of Epic Yarns. There were so many students that he gave the presentation twice, to two packed auditoriums! Each time a new character appeared in the story, he would put a hand to his ear and the students would call out the character’s name.

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Then to the surprise and delight—and fear!—of students, Darth Vader arrived! Thankfully, this Darth came bearing hugs as well as books, which he and Jack helped to give out to all the kids. Thanks to Ted Moy of the Empire City Garrison of the 501st Legion for coming out when two other Darths couldn’t make it!

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For years to come, these kids will be talking about the day Darth Vader showed up at their school! It was a day to remember for Jack, too, who was thrilled to sign books, make new fans, and see so much joy and excitement. Thanks to Lara Starr of Chronicle Books, Julia Hornaday of First Book, AnnMarie O’Neill of PS82, and everyone else who helped to make it happen. And remember, #GiveBooks when you can!

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Photo credit: Tim Ryan Smith Photography

A galaxy far, far away… Haida Gwaii!

Holman had the privilege of going up to Haida Gwaii last week to give artists talks and felting workshops. He was invited by Beng Favreau of Literacy Haida Gwaii and Kiki van der Heiden of Sun Studio. Kiki is an incredible visual and fiber artist who created the felt artwork for the picture book Taan’s Moons in collaboration with children from Haida Gwaii. Holman gives a quick visual tour of his trip.

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Haida Gwaii was named one of National Geographic Traveler’s 20 must-see places in the world for 2015, and I was lucky enough to be invited there! The natural landscape is simply stunning, as evidenced by this sunrise right outside the home I was staying in:

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The first stop was the local high school in Queen Charlotte, where I gave a talk about my work to an art class. It was a chance to share my artistic process with students, hopefully inspire them, and plug the youth felting workshop I was giving the same night!

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The afternoon turned into a “crafternoon”, as I visited Sun Studio and tried my hand at wet felting for the first time. Kiki taught me some wet felting techniques that I will try and incorporate into the next Cozy Classics!

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The youth felting workshop in Queen Charlotte was held in the evening, and the keen gathering of young people tried their hand at making Jawas.

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The next day, the adults of Queen Charlotte got their opportunity to needle felt.

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We brought along other colours of wool in case any participant wanted to make a figure other than a Jawa, and Kiki took full advantage by making a figure of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum!

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Afterwards, I gave another talk about my work:

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The next day, I set off with Beng for the long drive to Masset, where I gave two workshops back-to-back. First it was the adults’ turn:

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And here are some happy Jawa-makers!

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Again, some participants took full advantage of the opportunity to create non-Jawa figures, like this beautiful ballerina:

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Then it was time for the youth of Masset to take their turn. I was completely blown away by the skill and determination of the some of the young participants!

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I also managed to get some sightseeing and tourist-y activities in while I was in Haida Gwaii, including visiting this carving center were the carvers had been working full-time on this totem pole since June. Apparently, it can take up to 10,000 hours of labour to complete a single pole!

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Here are some of the breathtaking views around Queen Charlotte:

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Here I am relaxing with a book on my final night in Haida Gwaii, in the home generously offered to me by local Fran Fowler (doesn’t it look cozy?):

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It was an incredible trip that I won’t soon forget. Haawa (thank you in Haida) to Beng, Kiki and their families for their kindness and hospitality. The epilogue to the story is that my mother-in-law has already promised to fly the family up to Haida Gwaii for her 70th birthday in two years. So with any luck, it won’t be long before I’m up in Haida Gwaii again!

The Original Art Exhibition, NYC

We had the incredible honour of having our illustrations from Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope selected for The Original Art exhibition curated by the Society of Illustrators, showcasing illustrations from the year’s best children’s books published in the U.S.

The jury saw fit to include us in the exhibition with the likes of Sophie Blackall, Eric Carle, Emma Chichester Clark, Mike Curato, Tony DiTerlizzi, Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen, Nikki McClure, Julie Morstad, Jerry Pinkney, Chris Raschka, Sergio Ruzzier, Peter Sis, Hervé Tullet and Mo Willems. Here’s the complete list of exhibitors. There were so many kidlit legends in the show that we had to pinch ourselves that we were there!

Holman headed to New York City from Vancouver, while Jack had the much shorter trip from Ithaca. Here’s a visual tour of what we got up to in the Big Apple.

After getting off the red-eye, Holman headed straight to The Museum of American Illustration at 63rd and Lexington to set up the Epic Yarns display. Not only did we have a backlit print in the show, but we were also asked to display two felt figures. Here’s Holman setting up the figures:

01_Holman_Wang_Setting_Up_The_Original_Art.jpgHere’s the display after it was set up:

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We decided to take in the exhibition before the crowds arrived for the reception, which proved to be a prescient move. Here’s Jack checking out the exhibition in a quiet moment:

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Before the reception, we met up with our agent, Emily Van Beek of Folio Jr. We had worked with Emily by phone and email, but had never met her. Meeting up in NYC was an opportunity that we couldn’t miss! Emily is an absolute dynamo and we couldn’t be happier to have her represent us.

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The reception for The Original Art show was definitely overly warm and loud, but there was an incredible atmosphere: artists, editors, agents, and other guests all enjoying the best in children’s illustration:

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We had the chance to meet many incredible authors / illustrators, including Sara Gillingham, who’s also from Vancouver. Not only was she in the show, but we had another connection: Sara is the original Cozy Classics book designer who helped our books look so beautiful!

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Here’s Holman with Kelly Light, author of one of his kids’ favorites books, Louise Loves Art:

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Holman also ran into Jon Klassen:

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After the reception, we went to a dinner / drinks event hosted by Chronicle Books, where Hervé Tullet signed books for Jack:

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Before leaving NYC, we visited HarperCollins‘ new offices near the Financial District, and met with editors there to discuss future book projects:

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It was amazing to see such beautiful, thoughtful, and exuberant children’s artwork at The Original Art exhibition (check out the show until December 23, 2015 if you’re in NYC!). The whole trip was very inspiring, and we can’t wait to get back to making kids books!

Star Wars Reads Day in Canada!

Holman hosts the ONLY official Star Wars Reads Day event in Canada! It will be held at 2:30 at Black Bond Books in Coquitlam Center on Saturday, October 10. Don’t miss this chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Star Wars Epic Yarns was made!

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Star Wars Epic Yarns at The Strong

Our original felt artwork from Star Wars Epic Yarns is now on display at The Strong – National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York! The exhibition runs from September 2015 to January 2016. Here are some behind-the-scenes images of the set-up.

The original felt artwork was housed in Vancouver, British Columbia, and had to be shipped to New York. Here’s Jack and his intrepid assistant, Danica Kelley, unloading some of the figures:

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Danica is a double major in art history and theater studies, and has interned at art galleries. Her assistance was greatly appreciated. Here she and Jack are carefully removing film from the backlit frames so that the frames could be mounted directly to the walls (safer than just hanging the frames):

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Here Jack and Danica are carefully removing plastic wrap and bubble wrap from the Tauntaun:

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And here’s Jack mounting the Tauntaun on a block of fake ice made of styrofoam:

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After the backlit frames were mounted on the walls, the pieces of film were carefully placed back in before the sides of the frames were snapped back into place:

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Our felt figures don’t stand up on their own, so Jack works to pin them onto a piece of styrofoam covered in black fabric. The Millennium Falcon is mounted on metal rods:

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The Ewoks find a home! And you can see some of the museum in the background. If you’ve never been to The Strong, you should definitely visit if you’re ever in upstate New York. It’s a children’s paradise!

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Here’s one of three display vitrines the museum was kind enough to provide for us. This one includes a photo frame displaying behind-the-scenes images of our artistic process:

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Almost done!

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Ta-da! Here’s one of the displays with the glass casing on, and the backlit images fired up. Jack is with Corrie Kraai, Director, Public Programs at The Strong. Corrie was instrumental in bringing our work to The Strong, and we are grateful for all her kind assistance throughout the process.

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After Jack finished his portion of the set-up, there were a few final touches to put on the display: signage, a few plants, and casing to cover wire. The end result: fabulous!

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Please check out our display if you’re in the Rochester area. And May the Felt be with you!

Star Wars Epic Yarns Book Review Contest!

Star Wars Epic Yarns Poster

 

Win this one-of-a-kind, signed 11″ x 17″ Star Wars Epic Yarns poster, mounted as a plaque with beveled edges. The poster is one-of-a-kind because it has a “felty” Star Wars logo. Only a few escaped into the world before Chronicle Books was asked to use the standard hard-edged Star Wars logo for the poster.

We’ll also throw in signed copies of all three Epic Yarns books, so the winner gets a lot of goodies!

To enter to win, you need to write a review of a Star Wars Epic Yarns book on an English-language website and let us know by posting below or writing us at info@jackandholman.com (let us know the site, your username, etc.). Review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, your own website, wherever. The more you review, the more times you’ll be entered! For example, reviewing all three Epic Yarns titles on a website = 3 entries. Reviewing on multiple sites means even more entries!

Contest closes 5 p.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, so start reviewing!

p.s. We reserve all rights to adjudicate this contest, and by entering you agree that you will abide by any final decisions we make concerning any dispute or change in rules.

ABC Best Books — including us!

We’re delighted to announced that all three Star Wars Epic Yarns titles have been selected for the 2015 ABC Best Books for Young Readers catalog, produced by the American Booksellers Association! It is incredible to be a part of such esteemed company. Here’s the entire list of Best Book titles to help you with your next purchase at an indie book store!

2015 ABC Best Books for Young Readers catalog cover

 

The Original Art Exhibition

We’re thrilled to announce that artwork from Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope has been selected for the 2015 Original Art Exhibition presented at the Museum of American Illustration in New York City! The Original Art is an annual exhibit run by the Society of Illustrators to showcase illustrations from the year’s best children’s books published in the U.S. This is a juried exhibition, and we’re beside ourselves that we’ve been included in an exhibition with the likes of Sophie Blackall, Eric Carle, Emma Chichester Clark, Mike Curato, Tony DiTerlizzi, Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen, Nikki McClure, Julie Morstad, Jerry Pinkney, Chris Raschka, Sergio Ruzzier, Peter Sis, Herve Tullet and Mo Willems. And little ol’ us! Wow! Here’s the complete list of exhibitors.

Holman is making the trip from Vancouver and Jack is making the trip from Ithaca for the reception and awards ceremony on October 29, 2015. If you’re going to be there, drop us a line. We’d love to connect in the Big Apple!

Here are some images of the exhibition from years past:

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We’re getting a museum exhibit!

Help us create an EPIC museum exhibition!

We’re thrilled to announce that we have been invited to exhibit original felt artwork from Star Wars Epic Yarns at The Strong – National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York from September 2015 to January 2016!

The plan is to house the fuzzy friends you see below in display cases for an estimated 175,000+ visitors during the exhibition.

Star Wars Epic Yarns - felted figures (small) - © TM Lucasfilm Ltd

We have an invitation, but we need the funds to make the exhibit happen!

In addition to the costs of shipping and mounting the figures, we also want to  enhance the quality and educational value of our display with several oversized images from the books, reproduced as backlit images in LED frames, as well as with digital photo frames to show looping slide shows of behind-the-scenes images describing our artistic process.

We have been invited by The Strong to exhibit our work as independent artists. There is no corporate assistance, so we need your help.

Help us spark the imagination and creativity of thousands of children. Please help us make our exhibition at The Strong happen by contributing to our GoFundMe campaign. Thank you!

MORE ABOUT THE STRONG:

We speak from experience when we say The Strong is an awesome museum! Here’s Holman’s son oohing and aahing over a display of Star Wars toys last year:

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According to Forbes magazine, The Strong is “one of the most unique and impressive children’s museums on earth.”

The Strong — The National Museum of Play — is a not-for-profit, family-friendly history museum with the most comprehensive collection of play-related artifacts in the United States. Each year, over 550,000 guests enjoy its dynamic, innovative exhibitions and events that explore play to encourage learning, creativity, and discovery.

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In addition to its general collections, The Strong is also home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, and the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

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San Diego Comic Con

Holman had the great pleasure of going to San Diego Comic-Con 2015 to promote Star Wars Epic Yarns. Here’s his report:

Wow! What a thrill to go to San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend! Let me give you a quick visual tour of my whirlwind Thursday to Saturday trip.

When I arrived, it was impossible to miss that Comic-Con was happening. Conan O’Brien made sure of that, since he filmed his show all week at Comic-Con, and his marketing materials were plastered all over the airport (not to mention on entire downtown buildings!):

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My first stop was my hotel, the Horton Grand, a charming Victorian-style boutique hotel that was more than worthy of a future Cozy Classics shoot! Here’s the exterior:

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Here are some public spaces:

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And here are some pictures of my charming room, complete with a Victorian-style pull chain toilet!

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After settling in, it was time to head off to the San Diego Convention Center to catch the last few hours of Comic-Con on Thursday. The first stop was the Chronicle Books booth, #1506. Now, I knew that our Epic Yarns images were going to be featured on the Chronicle banner. What I didn’t know was that the banner was massive!

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And here’s a Jeffrey Brown sighting (he’s holding the coffee) at the booth:

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There was so much going on at Comic-Con that I’m not even going to try and capture the entire experience through photographs. The cosplay alone would take up dozens of shots! So I’ll just show you two things from Thursday afternoon. First, there was a giant banner of Eren from Attack on Titan at the Funimation booth. I recently discovered Attack on Titan quite by chance on Netflix, and I’ve become a big fan.

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And in a totally unrelated highlight, I got a Family Circus cartoon (a Star Wars one, no less!) autographed by Jeff Keane, son of the legendary Bil Keane.

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Thursday night was a free evening for me, and I did what I always promised myself I would do if I ever found myself in San Diego: eat at the restaurant that honors the late great singer-songwriter Jim Croce. He has always been a favorite of mine. Jim’s wife, Ingrid Croce, runs Croce Park West, and she was there to confirm for me that Croce is pronounced “Cro-chee”, not “Cro-Shay”. There’s a great painting of Jim in the restaurant, and many of the cocktails are named after his songs:

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In the end, the bartender sold me on his special variation on a Manhattan with Grand Marnier, and it was literally a knockout drink! And I only had one!

Friday morning started early with a Star Wars breakfast at the Edgewater Grill, where dozens of enthusiastic Star Wars fans gathered. I would have gone just for the door prizes, which were amazing (including one of our books — look closely and you’ll see a corner of it):

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During breakfast, I had the great pleasure of sitting with some Star Wars luminaries such as Jeffrey Brown, Steve Sansweet, and Daniel Wallace. If you don’t know, Steve runs Rancho Obi-Wan, which is self-described as:

…a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation whose specific purpose is to serve the public through the collection, conservation, exhibition and interpretation of Star Wars memorabilia and artifacts, using the collection to provide meaningful educational, aesthetic, intellectual and cultural experiences for a wide array of audiences and to carry out other charitable and educational activities associated with this goal.

Basically, it’s the world’s awesomest Star Wars collection, and thankfully our books are there! Here’s me and Steve:

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And here’s me and Daniel Wallace, who’s the author of a number of Star Wars books, including The Jedi Path and The Bounty Hunter Code.

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After breakfast, I was off to work in earnest! First, I made a stop at the Chronicle Books booth to set up a number of Star Wars felt figures on a rotating turntable. The moving figures were incredibly eye-catching:

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Then it was off to join an 11:00 am panel on Star Wars Publishing. Just as I was heading on-stage, I met another Star Wars luminary heading off-stage: Tom Angleberger of Origami Yoda fame! Here’s our author selfie:

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Here are some shots of me getting ready for the panel, the expectant crowd of hundreds, and the panel:

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The panel consisted of other Star Wars authors (including Star Wars rock stars like Adam Bray and Christie Golden) and a number of editors from Lucasfilm. But don’t let me tell you how much fun the panel was. See for yourself! Check out these bootleg videos of the Star Wars Publishing Panel by SW Action News:

After lunch, it was on to a book signing at the Chronicle Booth.

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Early Friday evening, Jeffrey Brown and I also did a signing at Kitson San Diego, where they had a generous display of all our Star Wars books:

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I had another book signing on Saturday, and then some more free time to explore Comic-Con. I had a chance to meet Jackie Huang of Woolbuddy, who’s a kindred spirit in the world of crafting:

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And I also picked up some souvenirs, including this great drawing by Diana Levin of my kids — made creepy cute:

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Comic-Con was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget. Truth be told, I enjoyed it even more than Star Wars Celebration (heresy, I know!). You can definitely get your Star Wars fix at Comic-Con, but there’s so much more to explore in terms of comic books, anime, movies, television, original art, etc.

A big thanks to Julia, Lia, Sarah, April, Naomi and others at the Chronicle Booth for all their help. It was a pleasure to work with them. I really hope I have a chance to go back one day. If you’re listening Chronicle… pretty please with a cherry on top!