FREE Event: Scholastic Reading Under the Covers Pajama Jam! October 07, 2014 15:29

Reading-Under-the-covers
New York area friends, an exciting event is coming up in a couple weeks. Scholastic, in partnership with EVEREADY, is hosting a Reading Under the Covers Pajama Jam! The FREE event begins with a concert by Tim and the Space Cadets, followed by a “pajama jam” complete with a DJ, magician, crafts, and an exclusive book signing by yours truly, for my book WE BELONG TOGETHER. I hear there will even be a CLIFFORD appearance! @_@ This event will be held on Saturday 10/18, from 4-7pm at THE GREENHOUSE which is a fabulous atrium space and auditorium on the rooftop of The Scholastic Store in Soho. Please RSVP at this link here: http://www.scholastic.com/sohostore/rsvp.htm Come in your cutest PJ's! (I know I will.)

Hope to see you there!
xo-Joyce

Please Help Me Support Smile Train September 16, 2014 15:30

***UPDATE*** The draw-a-thon was a huge success. We raised over $12,000 to support Smile Train which is double the previous years fundraisers. THANK YOU to those of you who helped us support such an amazing cause. Because of you, dozens of children in developing countries will get a second chance at a better life. All of this GOOD that came out of something so heartbreaking has been healing and I really do appreciate all your support this past year. Here's a link to see some of the amazing art that was produced: http://willdrawforgood.com/archive/2014/10 ***

Some of you may know that in February of this year I gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Evelyn, who was born with a cleft lip and palette. Unfortunately, Evelyn passed away 6 weeks after she was born due to an undetected abdominal anomaly and she never had a chance to get her surgeries (the first of which would have occurred at 10 weeks old). I will be participating in a draw-a-thon that is being hosted by a friend who runs a design studio in Brooklyn called Orange You Glad. They host a draw-a-thon every year to support a good cause and she has helped raised thousands for a food bank in 2012 and a no-kill animal shelter in 2013. This year they will be supporting Smile Train in memory of Evelyn.

Donate ($25 or more), Tell us What Makes You Smile, and one of the amazing artists contributing their time and talents (I'll be drawing too!) will draw it for you on Friday, October 3rd. Get a lovely, little piece of original art while supporting a wonderful cause.

Donate here and be sure to include a note about What Makes You Smile: http://www.gofundme.com/willdrawforsmiles

Knowing that Evie's spirit will live on in the lives of these children who will get a chance for a better life is heartwarming and healing. Thank you for your continued support!

xo-Joyce
{Evelyn Audrey Hsu * 2.07.14 ~ 3.20.14 * forever in our hearts and memories}


My Writing Process - A Blog Tour! June 02, 2014 18:41 3 Comments

I'm delighted to participate in this blog tour that enables authors/illustrators to share their process and latest work by way of their blogs. It's kind of like a chain letter for authors/illustrators who blog, only much nicer and without creepy death threats for not participating!

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Many thanks to my lovely and uber talented friend Samantha Berger for tagging me on her post and giving me the opportunity to share. Samantha is the author of over 70 (Yes, 70!) children's books including CRANKENSTEIN, MARTHA DOESN'T SAY SORRY, MARTHA DOESN'T SHARE, PRINCESS POTTY, PIRATE POTTY, and the upcoming WITCH SPA and SNOOZEFEST. I met Samantha at an SCBWI conference years ago (and here we are at the Black & White Ball at last year's SCBWI Summer Conference) and I've been in awe of her ingenuity, quick wit, and overall brilliance ever since. She's a tough act to follow, but I will certainly try my best! I’ll answer a few questions, then pass the baton to two others! Here goes:


What am I currently working on?
One of my favorite things about being an author/illustrator is that I get to wear many different hats so there's never a dull moment.

I'm constantly promoting my existing books with a current emphasis on the latest picture book that I illustrated, SLEEPYHEADS, written by Sandra J. Howatt and published by Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schuster. I recently finished the art for a picture book that I wrote called THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL that will be out next year from FSG, Macmillan. I'm working on two PEEK-A-BOO themed board books for Cartwheel, Scholastic. I will also be illustrating two picture books PEEP & EGG: I'M NOT HATCHING and PEEP & EGG: I'M NOT TRICK OR TREATING written by Laura Gehl for FSG and a third picture book PUG & PIG, written by Sue Gallion for Beach Lane Books. In between all of that I also run a stationery and gift company that I started way before I even got into publishing. In fact, it was through my stationery company that I got my foot in the door of publishing when I met my first publisher at the New York International Gift Show seven years ago!


How does my work differ from others of its genre?
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I'm often told that my work appeals to both children and adults. Young children love my bold, round, colorful shapes and adults appreciate and find joy in the clean lines and simple silhouettes that are inspired by Japanese pop art and Scandinavian design. I've also been told that my work is sweet but not overly saccharine. I'm always working on finding the perfect combination between simple, yet fetching art, and lively, playful text.

Why do I write what I write?
I am constantly drawn to creating books for very young children. It's such a privilege and so exciting for me to be right there at the start when young children are first discovering the joy of books and everything is new to them. At that age, books are also more about the joyful and loving connection between babies/toddlers and their grownups which means a lot to me. I believe that if you make reading time fun and special right from the start, your child will develop a lifelong love for reading and books. To me this is both fulfilling and meaningful work.

How does my individual writing/illustrating process work?
It varies depending on the type of project I'm working on. I'm usually bouncing between board books and picture books that I've written to illustrating other authors' picture book texts. A lot of my early book ideas were inspired by my greeting card designs. YOU ARE MY CUPCAKE is based on a line of my New Baby cards and WE BELONG TOGETHER off of a line of my Wedding cards. Even my latest board book, MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON, is inspired by a line of Zodiac cards. With my board books it usually starts as a concept with some simple text and doodles. Here is the concept sketch when I first came up with the idea for YOU ARE MY CUPCAKE back in 2009:

cupcake-sketch

After this phase, I will do more detailed sketches to size, scan, and take it to finish. For picture books with a recurring character I may do character studies first like this one from THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL:

whale-boy-character

With picture books I also like to create a visual storyboard like this one from SLEEPYHEADS. This helps me plan the general layout of each page and text placement without having to worry too much about the details at this point. I also jot down any other ideas or questions I may have for each page.

sleepyheads-thumbnails

Generally, the books that I write myself start with a concept, then I write the words, and then I draw the pictures. As I'm writing the words, I have pictures in my head. When I start drawing the pictures, the text may change. It's a constant dialogue back and forth between words and pictures. Sometimes, actually, most of the time, it feels like a chaotic process but somehow it all works out beautifully in the end!

Next up on the blog tour:

Melissa Guion
babypenguinseverywhere
When I first came across Melissa Guion's art at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, my heart just melted. She is the author and illustrator of BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE and the follow-up to that book BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA. These are two of the sweetest picture books you will EVER see and in person she's as warm and funny as she is talented. You can follow Melissa on her website at melissaguion.com, facebook, and twitter.

Trisha Speed Shaskan
cinderellasoannoying
Trisha Speed Shaskan is an award-winning author of over 40 books for children including SERIOUSLY, CINDERELLA IS SO ANNOYING! THE STORY OF CINDERELLA AS TOLD BY THE WICKED STEPMOTHER and HONESTLY, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD WAS ROTTEN! THE STORY OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AS TOLD BY THE WOLF both illustrated by Gerald Guerlais, TRULY WE BOTH LOVED BEAUTY DEARLY! THE STORY OF SLEEPING BEAUTY AS TOLD BY THE GOOD AND BAD FAIRIES illustrated by Amit Tayal, and the upcoming PUNK SKUNKS which will be illustrated by her husband Stephen Shaskan (what an incredible duo these two make!). Trisha is every bit as clever and fun as her books and I have been lucky enough to call her a friend ever since I met her at an SCBWI conference a few years ago. You can follow Trisha on her website at trishaspeedshaskan.com and facebook.

Melissa and Trisha will post answers to these questions about their work next week so be sure to check back on their blogs! Isn't this fun? Thanks for letting me share! xo-Joyce

**UPDATE**
Read Melissa's post here: http://www.melissaguion.com/blog/2014/06/09/my-writing-process-blog-tour
Read Trisha's post here: http://www.worddisco.com/my-writing-process-a-blog-tour-by-trisha-speed-shaskan/


SLEEPYHEADS is here! May 06, 2014 06:00


It's finally here! I am very excited to announce the official release of my latest book, Sleepyheads, a picture book I illustrated by debut author Sandra J. Howatt and published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. I first received the wonderful manuscript for Sleepyheads back in June 2011. Sandra was writing and submitting it to publishers way before I even saw it so this has been a project years in the making. Originally, I was a little nervous about this book as I had decided to create the art in a style and medium that is different from a lot of my previous work. When I first read Sandra's rhythmic, rhyming text, I envisioned pictures that were soft and dreamy which I felt would be best achieved with a good old fashioned pencil and paper. I proceeded to create a world that was warm, inviting and cozy with characters that were round and cuddly. I wanted this to be a book that you just want to hug and I believe I succeeded. The book has been getting positive buzz everywhere including a starred review from Kirkus (and they are tough)!

Here's a sneak peak:


Reviews:

“Sleepyhead readers explore a hushed woodland at dusk, where they discover animals nestled in their cozy places at bedtime. Yawning little listeners will fall immediately and effortlessly into the rhetorical rhythms of this surefire good-night book. Gentle narration, soft exclamations and soothing “s” sounds surface again and again, streaming together sweetly. The earthy, mellow artwork, with its dusky greens and browns and thick linework, comforts too. . . . A superb execution of soporific shapes and sounds perfect for the bedside table.” — Kirkus Reviews, April 2014, *STARRED REVIEW

“Through rhyming text and cozy illustrations, readers are brought around the property of a farm and into a house at night to seek out all the sleepyheads. . . warm and inviting. A glowing crescent moon is visible with every page turn, and all the sleepyheads are endearing and cuddly. This book will make an excellent addition, especially where pajama storytime is popular.” — School Library Journal, April 2014

“Howatt debuts with a bedtime story that, true to its theme, is quiet and somnolent in tone…. The repetitive structure of Howatt’s sturdy rhymed couplets is soothing…. [Wan] portrays the animals in soft, rounded shapes to create an inviting and secure atmosphere.” — Publishers Weekly, March 2014

“As the rhythmic, rhyming text flows on, small children will enjoy naming the plump little animals depicted throughout the book…the repetitive sounds of the text and the dimly lit, rounded forms of sleeping animals have their own soothing, soporific effect. Good bedtime reading for young children.” — Booklist, May 2014

Hardcover and e-book editions with audio recording are available:
Amazon: http://bit.ly/1iKBuxy
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1iEXWmD
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1kjHpWA
iBookstore: http://bit.ly/1pQixOO?

A teacher's guide for Sleepyheads is also available for download. The teacher's guide is designed for students in kindergarten through second grade and it offers activities to help teachers integrate Sleepyheads into English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies curricula.

I also want to take a moment to thank you wholeheartedly for all your notes of love, sympathy and support I have received during our time of loss. It's been a really tough few weeks, but being able to create and share my art with you has given me so much to be grateful for and look forward to. I hope you and your little one enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed creating it for you! SWEET DREAMS!

xo-Joyce

Forever in Our Hearts & Memories April 07, 2014 18:13 5 Comments

Back in September of last year, I had announced on this blog that I was expecting my first child. Evelyn (we called her Evie) was born on February 7th, three weeks early, but passed away unexpectedly six weeks later on March 20th from an undetected intestinal abnormality. It's been a painful time for me and my husband but the love, strength, and prayers from family, friends, colleagues, and our church has really helped us cope with her death. My daughter Evie was also born with a cleft lip and palate. We had known about this since my 20-week ultrasound and had already been meeting with the surgical team that would be performing the repairs but the first surgery would not have been until she was at least 10 weeks old. For those of you who would like to help us honor her memory, we have set up a memorial in her name with Smile Train, an international children’s charity that provides free surgery to poor children suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate.

EVIE-web

The response has been overwhelming and the memorial has raised over $12,000 to date. We have been so moved by people's support and generosity. Knowing that Evie's spirit lives on in the lives of these children who will get a second lease on life has been both heartwarming and healing for us. If you would like to see more pictures or know more about the time we had with Evie, I had been working on a personal digital scrapbook that I was planning to share with her one day. Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense but one thing that’s for sure is Evie has taught us to cherish each and every day with your loved ones as you never know if you'll have 60 years or just 6 weeks with them. It’s so easy to take people for granted but every day you have with them is truly a blessing. Thanks again for your prayers, condolences, and notes of sympathy and support.

xo-Joyce

Happy Year of the Horse 2014 January 30, 2014 07:38

January 31, 2014 marks the start of the Lunar New Year as well as the Year of the Horse.

welcomehorse
Although the holiday is also known as Chinese New Year, the Chinese aren't the only ones who observe it. The holiday is also celebrated in other Asian countries including Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan. The Lunar New Year is like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years rolled up into one giant celebration. For the Chinese in particular, the Lunar New Year is celebrated with big family dinners, the exchange of "lucky money" contained in red envelopes, and vibrant, lively festivals with lion dancing and firecrackers. The lunar calendar is based upon the cycles of the moon and has 12 animals signs, one to represent each year of the cycle. The Horse is the seventh sign of the cycle, with the others being the Rat (I like to say Mouse ^_^), Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Sheep (or Goat), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Don't know what zodiac sign you are? Look it up on this chart I created here. According to Chinese tradition, a person’s birth sign has a profound influence on personality, behavior, and destiny. Those born under this sign are hardworking, independent, resilient, and friendly. They are natural extroverts who love social gatherings with plenty of people. They are also known to be fickle, impulsive, and have a strong reckless streak. Adventurers at heart, their spirit is continually restless and searching. Famous Horses include James Dean, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney, Janet Jackson, Sandra Day O’Connor, Nelson Mandela, Ang Lee, Chopin, Jerry Seinfeld, Muhammad Ali, Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey, and Rembrandt.

MYLUCKYLITTLEDRAGON-cover

Not only is the Year of the Horse my sign, this year is special to me as it marked the release of MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON, my latest book inspired by the animals of the zodiac. For all my friends in the New York area, come on down to the The Scholastic Store this Saturday, February 1st at 3PM to celebrate the Year of the Horse with a reading of MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON and some crafty fun. More info about this event here. Hope to see you there! May we gallop into prosperity as we welcome the Year of the Horse. Hoping this year brings good fortune to you all!

xo-Joyce

New Year, New Book, MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON is Here! (And Giveaway Time Too!) January 07, 2014 03:09 25 Comments

It all started with some lunch break doodling in 2003. Twelve little doodles of the zodiac animals to be exact. I was a few years out of college and had a full-time job at an architectural firm. I was just beginning to realize that a career in architecture was not really for me. I don't think I knew exactly what I wanted at the time but what I did know, and have always known, was I loved to draw and I wanted to draw for a living. Having no formal art training, I took a leap of faith as well as some continuing education courses at the School of Visual Arts. Eventually, those doodles became the very first designs I released when I launched my greeting card studio Wanart (and still some of my best-selling designs today). Now, over 10 years later I'm excited to announce the release of my latest book from Cartwheel/Scholastic, inspired by those zodiac animals, MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON.



My journey getting here has not been easy, but thinking back on those twelve little doodles in my sketch book many years ago and now holding this published book in my hands is a very proud and special moment for me. My life has come full circle and it has all been worth it. Here's a little sneak peak of the book:



What people are saying (click on links to see full review):

"Set against subtly patterned backgrounds, the bold, friendly animals pop off the page with energy."—Kirkus Reviews

"This is a delightful little board book with an unusually subtle underlying structure – one that will be clear to those familiar with the Chinese zodiac but obscure to others, who will nevertheless enjoy the sweet sentiments and delightful drawings."—infodad.com

"Adorable read out loud book!"—Maria's Space

Find/order this book at your local bookstore, on amazon.com, or Barnes & Nobles. As usual, I LOVE celebrating a book release with a giveaway! So, I’m giving away 3 signed copies of this book with a bunch of little Wanart goodies. Just leave a comment telling me your zodiac sign. If you need a little help you can look it up on this chart I've posted here. The giveaway ends a week from today, Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:59PM EST. Three winners will be chosen randomly and will be announced on the following Wednesday. Open to U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!

xo-Joyce

***UPDATE: The winners for the MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON giveaway are Andrea, Annie, and Linda! I've contacted the winners via email to claim their prize. Congratulations! *Throws confetti and blows horns* A huge heartfelt thank you to all of you who entered. I always love reading the comments and learning a little more about all of you. xo

Happy Book Birthday & Giveaway! November 26, 2013 13:37 25 Comments

I am excited to announce the release of my latest book from Cartwheel/Scholastic, HUG YOU KISS YOU LOVE YOU!



A new ode to the best emotion in the world—LOVE! With a glittery cover and bold, outlined illustrations throughout, celebrate the small joys and big wonders of parental love with a cast of endearing mommy and baby animals. I hug you, tickle you, sing to you softly, carry you, bathe you, kiss you always. Baby, this sweet board book is the perfect way to say I LOVE YOU! Here's a little sneak peek of the book:



What people are saying:

"The book maintains the chunky digital graphics of Wan’s previous titles, and clever visual details are everywhere, from thematically patterned backgrounds of bones, waves, and leaves to the recurring heart elements incorporated into the animals." -Publisher's Weekly

"Simple, boldly outlined art, rests atop bright, patterned backgrounds, and the type is large and playful. An affectionate little book for preschoolers—with glitter on the cover!" -Booklist

Find/order this book at your local bookstore, on amazon.com, or barnesandnoble.com. To celebrate I'm giving away 3 signed copies of this book with a bunch of little Wanart goodies. Just leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about the holiday season. Giveaway ends a week from now Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Three winners will be chosen randomly and will be announced here. Open to U.S. residents only, please. Good luck! Happy Thanksgiving!

xo-Joyce

**UPDATE** I am pleased to announce the winners selected via random.org for the book birthday giveaway are Margaret P., Jessica Perilla, and Kathy Rupff. Please email me at info@wanart.com to provide me with your details and who you would like me to sign the book to. Thanks again everyone for entering the giveaway! It was truly a gift for me to read all your heartwarming answers. xoxo

Fall is in the Air: Festivals & Free Printables October 20, 2013 01:46

I love fall time. There's just this cozy feeling that fills the air. For me, it always brings back fond childhood memories in New England of picking apples, carving pumpkins, and watching the leaves change into a kaleidoscope of glorious colors. I also get excited about fall flavors especially the return of every pumpkin-flavored food, drink, and treat you can imagine. By the way, have any of you tried the pumpkin smoothie at Jamba Juice? With fall also comes book festivals galore! I participated in two this year—the Princeton Children's Book Festival and the Brooklyn Book Festival. Thanks to those of you who stopped by to say hello. I can't tell you how much I love meeting all the kids and their parents! At the Brooklyn Book Festival I even took silly drawing requests from the kids on the Children's Stage in a 'Draw-Off' with fellow author and illustrator David Ezra Stein. We had a blast fielding such requests as "a TV with spikes" and a "dragon made of candy in a garden with a rainbow". I just love the way kids' minds work. bookfestivals2013 Yes, a young girl even asked me to sign her pants. How cute is that? For the festivals, I created two new learn-how-to-draw printables based on my latest books Frog & Friends and Owl & Friends and figured I'd upload them here for your budding little artist as well! Click on the pictures below to download the PDF's or you can also always find free printables on my website here. DRAW-THE-OWL DRAW-THE-FROG owl&frog-bookbirthdaya Enjoy!!! xo-Joyce

Summer 2013 + MAJOR Happy News September 02, 2013 08:00 21 Comments

Maybe you've noticed it’s been a bit quiet over here this summer, but I have a good excuse, I promise! In addition to some MAJOR happy news that I'll share with you at the end of this post, here's a recap of my summer: njscbwi13b I attended the New Jersey SCBWI Annual Conference in Princeton where I also gave a workshop called WHAT IS YOUR BRAND?: Set Yourself APART With Branding. I made everyone switch gears for a bit—from the creative side to the business side of things—to think about their own marketing messages. I'm happy to say the workshop was well attended and ran smoothly (my top two fears!). For those of you interested in becoming an author or illustrator and don't know where to start, look up your SCBWI regional chapters here. See what's going on, get involved, and attend some events! sleepyheads-beara I turned in my final drawings for Sleepyheads, a picture book by Sandra Howatt for Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster that will be out Fall 2014. The book was drawn entirely in pencil and colored digitally in Photoshop which was a first for me! Above is a picture of one of the preliminary color proofs. I was nervous at first with the new technique but I'm really happy with the way it came out and I can't wait to share this book with you! owl&frog-bookbirthdaya I celebrated the release of two of my latest books published by PSS!/Penguin, Owl & Friends and Frog & Friends. These books got some awesome reviews here and here! lascbwi13b I had a fabulous, yet exhausting, time at the Annual SCBWI International Conference in Los Angeles. You know how much I love this conference as I've been attending for years and have blogged about it before here, here, and here! It was a cool summer in southern California and I attended a workshop given by Henry Winkler (aka The Fonz), need I say more? epcot-norway-family-a I conquered Disney's Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom in 4 days with my in-laws and 4 kids (nieces & nephews) ages 5-8. The trip had its moments but I felt like I needed a vacation after the vacation, you know what I mean? The kids had a BLAST though and that's what's important. scholasticmeetinga I had a lovely brainstorming meeting at Scholastic and received advance copies of my two upcoming Cartwheel/Scholastic board books: Hug You, Kiss You, Love You (November 2013) and My Lucky Little Dragon (January 2014)! The books are adorned with glittery covers and absolutely adorable. They are available for pre-order on Amazon now. I can't wait to share these books with you too! And now for the BIG news! With today being Labor Day and all, I thought it would be the perfect day to announce that my DH and I are expecting our first child in February—a girl! We are SO excited and can't wait to welcome our very own little Cupcake to the world! joyce-pregnanta I can't say I've had the easiest first-trimester. I've been begrudgingly taking some time off (for anyone who knows me that may be hard to believe!) as I was hit pretty hard with that first-trimester ickiness that include nausea, fatigue, and strong food aversions. Having a job where I work for myself during this time has been both a blessing and a curse. I found it hard to get motivated some mornings and the temptation to take an afternoon nap was all too great on some days (ok, many days) that I gave in and did. Much to my relief, I'm FINALLY starting to feel like myself again and I'm ready to really get back to work! (I'm sure my Editors would be happy about that!) I hope you've all had a super lovely weekend, friends. Happy Labor Day! xo Joyce

Happy Book Birthday and Giveaway! June 27, 2013 05:55 14 Comments

I am excited to announce the release of my two latest books: owl&frog-bookbirthday-blog Cute chubby critters and surprise endings - what's there NOT to love? See a sneak peek of these books on the blog Design of the Picture Book! The highly esteemed Kirkus Reviews gave Frog & Friends a rave review calling it "An engaging riddle book with standout illustrations"! Squeee! Read the full review here. Find these and my other books at your local bookseller or on amazon.com. To celebrate I am giving away 2 autographed sets of these books! To enter, leave a comment with your favorite animal. Two people will be selected by random drawing. The giveaway ends on July 4th, 2013 at midnight EST. Two winners will be announced within two days of the end of the giveaway. The winners must provide their name and mailing address in order to receive the prize. If the winner does not respond within two weeks of winning, the prize is forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected.  (The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.) Happy Fourth! xo-Joyce **UPDATE** Using random.org's True Random Number Generator, the winners of the Happy Book Birthday and Giveaway are Aurelia and Joanna! Many thanks to all those who entered - I loved reading your comments! (and I learned about a couple of new adorable animals too) Stay tuned for more giveaways soon! xo

Next BIG Thing: Blog Tour May 01, 2013 13:04 2 Comments

The Next Big Thing blog tour, which first started in Australia, brings awareness to authors and illustrators and their work by way of their blogs. Many thanks to the lovely and wonderfully talented author Trisha Speed Shaskan for inviting me to participate. Her latest book TRULY, WE BOTH LOVED BEAUTY DEARLY! THE STORY OF SLEEPING BEAUTY AS TOLD BY THE GOOD AND BAD FAIRIES illustrated by Amit Tayal will be published in August. I’ll answer some questions about my latest work, then pass it on to a few other authors/illustrators. Now, onto the questions! 1) What is the working title of your next book?
Owl&Friends-web-cover Frog&Friends-web-cover
My next two soon-to-be released books are Owl & Friends and Frog & Friends. They will be published by Price Stern Sloan in June 2013. 2) Where did the idea come from for the book? I really love wood grain textures and even offer a line of cards printed on actual birch wood veneer made from sustainably harvested trees. I wanted to incorporate scanned wood textures into my illustrations which led to the initial idea of some sort of tree book. I also love surprise endings in books (and movies for that matter!) and came up with a concept that put the two things together. 3) What genre does your book fall under? Board Book 4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? For these particular books I imagine animated shorts (they are board books after all) with Morgan Freeman's friendly, soothing voice over narration. That man could read a telephone book and I'd hang on every word! lol 5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A board book series that introduces young children to the joys of nature's cutest creatures and their natural habitats. 6) Who is publishing your book? Price Stern Sloan, an imprint of Penguin Group. These are the same folks who publish the beloved Mad Libs series. Cool, eh? 7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? It's hard to say because the books were originally written as a single picture book and then was broken down into two board books. I would say the very first draft of the picture book version took about a couple of weeks. However, I'd like to add that I usually let ideas simmer in my head for months (if not years) before I actually put it down on paper. 8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Board books are one of my favorite genres as a book lover and a sweet spot for me as an illustrator. A lot of the Eric Carle books teach practical lessons about nature in a fun and colorful way and there are also the "IN MY" series by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich that also deal with animals and their habitats. 9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? Children and nature - there is just SO much cuteness in both I can hardly stand it sometimes! 10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? Each book contains a fold-out final page that reveals a fun surprise ending. Thank you so much for stopping by! The Next Big Thing Blog Tour continues with the following 2 wonderful authors/illustrators who are also represented by my extraordinary agent Teresa Kietlinski of Prospect Agency: Annie Bach will talk about her latest NIGHT-NIGHT, FOREST FRIENDS (Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin) FORESTFRIENDS               Brooke Boynton Hughes will talk about her upcoming BABY LOVE by Angela DiTerlizzi (Beach Lane Books/S&S) and CUPCAKE COUSINS by Kate Hannigan (Hyperion/Disney) BabySample_BBH           And last, but not least, Stefan Jolet will talk about his upcoming CINDERELLAPHANT by Dianne de las Casas (Pelican Publishing Co.): Ella-Cover                 xo-Joyce

Nothing Says Love Like Handmade April 22, 2013 16:37 7 Comments

There is something truly special about handmade goodies, imperfections and all. Seeing all the wonderful DIY and craft projects on Pinterest, Etsy, and craft fairs has got me itching to do some myself so I created some Cut-&-Sew Plushie projects and posted them to Spoonflower. For those of you who don't know, Spoonflower makes it possible for people to design, print, and sell their own fabric and let me tell ya, I've been having SEW much fun! Here are some of my finished projects: bacon&egg-plush cupcake-plush neko-plush Pretty darn cute, if I may say so myself. I don't even really sew (only buttons every now and then). I even butchered one of my old throw pillows for the stuffing! I'm not planning to sell the plushies themselves but I've decided to give them away as gifts with my books. It's also made me want to round up some friends to have a sewing party! You can get the fabric here if you want to make some yourself. Send me pictures if you do or post them to the Facebook page–I'd LOVE to see all your cute creations! :D xo-Joyce

Never Stop Learning March 12, 2013 19:07 5 Comments

dreams-thoreau Every now and then I receive emails from people whose dream is to have a children's book published but they don't know where to start. I know from my own experience it takes dedication, perseverance, continuing education, and tons of moral support and that doesn't stop even after your first book is published. With no formal art education other than a college figure drawing class, I started Wanart in 2003 and I spent the next several years absorbing everything I could, trying many things, making many mistakes, spending lots of money, and drawing—lots of drawing, relying on nothing but hope and passion to keep me going most of the time. Between the trial and error (and tears!) were some small successes and then I met my first publisher in 2008. I've had 3 books published now with 6 more on the way in the next couple of years. My designs are also found on stationery and gift products sold all over the world. It is a dream come true. If there is some goal in life that you are working toward, a dream you are striving to turn into reality – don’t ever give up. Even if you can't afford to give up all of your commitments, there are other options. Maybe keeping your day job is in your best interest at the moment as you pursue the ins and outs of your dream after hours (which is what I had to do the first couple of years of my business). But also have the courage to put yourself out there, surround yourself with people who believe in you, be honest with yourself, focus on your core strengths, figure out how to maximize what you do best, create from your heart and soul (not what the next guy is doing), and never stop learning. Ever since I took that first continuing education course at SVA in 2003, I've experienced the power of continuing education and how it can enrich your life (it's why I also now teach courses at SVA). A great place to start learning about publishing is to join the Society Of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. They have many regional conferences and two national ones in New York City and Los Angeles every year. You may have even seen me post about these awesome conferences on my blog. You will not find a more supportive group of people in your life. Having attended many over the years, the New Jersey SCBWI Annual Conference is one of the best. This conference has a great variety of workshops, top-notch faculty, and is a real value for the cost. For the first time, I will actually be leading a workshop on branding so I hope you can join me! The workshop is called "What's Your Brand?" and will explore the meaning and benefits of branding for writers and illustrators, ways to identify and communicate your brand, and how it can provide inspiration and focus in your creative work and marketing activities. Invest in yourself and register today! NJSCBWI_PB_Banner Also, it's over my birthday weekend so I hope you can celebrate with me too! :) xo Joyce

2013 Year of the Water Snake February 09, 2013 17:13 3 Comments

Happy New Year -- again! February 10th marks the start of the Lunar New Year as well as the Year of the Snake (specifically the Water Snake). As the most significant holiday in China, the Lunar New Year is like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year rolled up into one giant celebration. Personally, this has always been one of my favorite holidays as it always brings back childhood memories of the smell of fresh cut flowers, red envelopes filled with "lucky money", big family dinners, and vibrant, lively festivals with lion dancing and firecrackers. Chinese culture has always been a great source of inspiration for my work. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animal signs that include the Rat (or Mouse), Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Sheep (or Goat), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Don't know what zodiac sign you are? Look it up on this handy little chart I created here. According to Chinese tradition, a person’s birth sign has a profound influence on personality and destiny. Those born under this sign are said to be charming, clever, analytical, and shrewd. Fired with intense determination, they hate to fail at anything and are determined to achieve their goals. Snakes tend to gravitate toward the finer things in life and so are sometimes deemed materialistic. Quick learners, lead by wisdom and intuition, Snakes will find that success comes easily to them. Famous Snakes include Alfred Nobel, Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan, Audrey Hepburn, Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey, John F. Kennedy, and J. K. Rowling. Wishing you a ssssssssuper year! May the Year of the Snake bring good fortune to you all! xo Joyce



For Your Little Valentine... February 04, 2013 12:22

Valentine's Day is right around the corner! The perfect keepsake gifts for your little Valentine that can be enjoyed beyond February 14th!
Order these sweet little books on amazon.com or, find them at/order them from your local bookstore! Or, why wait for Valentine's Day? Tell someone how much you care by sending them one of our kiwi and pear e-cards! xo Joyce

A New Year's Greeting from Me to You! December 31, 2012 19:37 1 Comment

xo Joyce

Last Call for Dragon Onesies! December 10, 2012 22:50

Chinese New Year is not till February 10, 2013, but I wanted to let everyone know that we have less than a dozen pieces left of our popular Year of the Dragon onesies in size 6-12m and once they're gone, they're gone for good. Don't wait to purchase one for all the little dragons in your life. Click HERE to order yours now! xo-Joyce p.s. Next up, the Year of the Snake! :)

A Week in Paris November 20, 2012 04:35 4 Comments

I just returned from a week in Paris. Despite it being cold and gray the entire week that I was there, Paris is as beautiful and charming as I had hoped. It's a city I've been wanting to visit for years. I took French for 7 years when I was younger. The French did not quite come back to me but my Frenglish was excellent! I stayed at the Hotel La Belle Juliette, a lovely boutique hotel located in the St.-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris. The hotel was charming and stylish with many cute Parisian details. The view outside my window. Marche aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves (the flea market at Porte de Vanves). Oddities, curiosities, and antiques galore! The Notre Dame Cathedral--a masterpiece of solemn beauty. After climbing 400 steps of a spiral staircase--a breathtaking view from the top of the Notre Dame. Never having been to the Eiffel Tower before but having looked at an image of the Eiffel Tower many times because of a very popular illustration I created of Kiwi and Pear at the Eiffel Tower, it was a little surreal to finally be there. The Pont de Solférino, a footbridge over the River Seine. What was especially intriguing to me about this bridge were the thousands of love locks attached to the railings on the bridge. I had never seen anything like this before, however, it's apparently quite common to find love locks on bridges all over Europe and Asia and I read they are even starting to pop up on the Brooklyn Bridge. Couples inscribe their names on padlocks, attach them to the bridges, and then toss the keys into the river to symbolize everlasting love. Cute huh? Climbed more steps, 234 to be exact, at The Arc de Triomphe to behold beautiful night views of Champs-Élysées Avenue and the Eiffel Tower. A view from the underbelly of The Arc de Triomphe. Housed in a former railway station built in the late 19th century, the interior of The Musée d'Orsay was stunning. French impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh set against the backdrop of charming, old railway station details like big, beautiful clock windows. I was surely in art heaven. One of my favorite parts of the trip was a visit to Montmartre. Perched up high on a hill in the northern part of Paris, Montmartre was once the Bohemian artistic quarter of Paris where artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali, and Renoir once lived and worked. With its steep, winding cobblestone streets, ivy-covered buildings, and many cafes, Montmartre has retained a quaint and charming 'village' ambiance. Movies such as Amelie and Moulin Rouge are set in Montmartre. I didn't catch a show here but, as I was standing outside, it was fun to think what the Moulin Rouge must have been like in its heyday. The Musée du Louvre was spectacular. The building itself, a former royal palace, was incredibly ornate and massive with elaborately painted and plastered ceilings and walls. The Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo were just some of the many treasures I saw at the Louvre. Galeries Lafayette Haussman, must be one of the most stunning department stores I have ever been to. The center of the 10-story building is open and atrium-like, and it’s capped by a huge, gorgeous dome made of glass and steel which uses hundreds of lights in a dazzling display of multi-colored illumination. At the Bon Marche Grand Epicerie, an international food market, the food displays were a delight in their own way and it was such a fun place to browse. One thing I learned on this trip was that the French do sweets like nobody's business and they do things with chocolate that you would not believe! I had some of the best desserts I ever had in my life in Paris and, yes, that's a chocolate ape! For anyone with the faintest interest in desserts, Pierre Hermé is undoubtedly a must-visit when in Paris. Some highlights of French food. The crêpe in the lower left (chocolate with toasted almonds, salted butter caramel, vanilla ice cream, and fresh whipped cream) was the best I ever had and was from a place called Little Breizh. Yes, I know it's Paris - but I can't live without my Asian food! Above some highlights of Asian food in Paris. If you're looking for a nice and affordable meal around the Louvre (or a little reprieve from French food), I discovered a little gem right around the corner from the Rue de Rivoli side of the Louvre, a Japanese ramen (lamen in French) restaurant called Higuma. Can you tell how excited I was to be there? Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Gobble, gobble! xo Joyce ps. Photos were taken on an iPhone, edited with the app Camera+, and joined together using the app Pic Jointer. All edited and put together on the plane ride back from Paris. I LOVE technology!

New York Comic Con 2012: A Celebration of Pop Culture October 14, 2012 16:44

The New York Comic Con, a pop culture cornucopia that brings together the comic book, movie, music, and TV worlds, descended upon New York City this past weekend. For the first time in it's seven-year history, the convention was sold out with over 115,000 people in attendance. I was lucky enough to nab a professional four-day pass before they were sold out - one of the perks of being an author and teacher. I had such a fun time! Larger-than-life exhibitor booths, installations, and costumed characters filled the show floor. As I was leaving the show Friday night, a 9 foot tall Transformers Bumble Bee came walking up the front door of the Javits (lower-left pic) - just another normal day at the NY Comic Con LOL Costumes galore - I LOVE all the fervent fandom! I don't think you will find a more passionate group of people. Products galore - everything from samurai swords to old-timey aviator goggles and never-ending walls of t-shirts and plush dolls. Comic Con silliness! It wasn't all fun and games - I managed to attend some educational/professional panels on pitching ideas, building community through social media, and making designer toys. I gathered lots of interesting info I can share with my students at SVA. My spoils from the show! (clockwise from top-left) A cotton dress by Pammy Cakes, a Domokun fuzzy backpack, a t-shirt by Ex-Boyfriend, and socks by Shinzi Katoh.      

Words of Wisdom from the SCBWI Summer Conference 2012 August 13, 2012 14:49 6 Comments

I just returned from the 41st Annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Summer Conference in Los Angeles. I came home feeling so inspired and empowered. One of the main messages of the conference that really resonated with me was to create in a way that speaks to the inner child within you. Here are a few other words of wisdom from the conference that I wanted to share with you to add positive and inspiring thoughts to your day! "Play every day." Melissa Sweet, author and illustrator "Give yourself permission to be imperfect — at least at first." Arthur Levine, Editorial Director Arthur A. Levine Books and a Vice President of Scholastic (also, the American editor for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series) "There is a doorway that will change your life, if you just walk through it." Bryan Collier, author and illustrator There are no shortcuts. Slow down. Focus on what you can control." Steven Malk, Literary agent with Writers House For anyone out there thinking about writing or illustrating children's books and don't know where to start - my first piece of advice is to join SCBWI. Through SCBWI, immerse yourself in the craft, business, inspiration, and community - you won't regret it! Here are a few photos from the conference: [caption id="attachment_3029" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="The best thing I love about attending these conferences are the people - whether novice or expert, everyone is so encouraging and supportive. It is unlike any industry and I feel truly blessed to be part of it."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_3032" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Signing copies of my book WE BELONG TOGETHER at the Pizza & Wine Book Signing Party with author Trisha Speed Shashkan."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_3035" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Every year there is a poolside costume dance party. This year's theme was a 60's Hippie Hop! Needless to say - it was a groovy time. *Peace, Love, and Children's Books* Photo Credit: Debbie Ridpath Ohi (DebbieOhi.com)"][/caption] For an in-depth recap of the event and more photos, read the article SCBWI Summer Conference: A Gathering of Kindred Spirits featured in Publisher’s Weekly.
To quote Bryan Collier "It is a privilege to be able to create and express yourself" ...and I am so grateful to all of you every day for allowing me that privilege. xo Joyce


Summer Courses in NYC! June 01, 2012 11:17

Looking to expand your creative potential? Want to make extra income from your creative pursuits but not sure where to start? Or, maybe, you already started a creative business and want to stay motivated. Well, now you can! (Do I sound like an infomercial? :P) I am teaching two courses this summer at SVA's Continuing Education program. One course is on greeting card design, the other course on art licensing basics. Here are the links to the classes: Greeting Card Design Tuesdays Jun 12 – Aug 7 6:30PM - 9:30PM Art Licensing Wednesdays Jun 13 – Aug 8 6:30PM - 9:30PM If you have any questions about these courses feel free to contact me. Having taken these and other courses at SVA over the years I believe in the value of continuing education and have experienced first-hand how it can enrich your life. Never stop learning! xo Joyce ps. Sorry for those of you not in the New York City area. Much love to you guys and thanks for your support! ♥

My Book Reading at Macy's Herald Square, NYC - May 5, 2012 May 07, 2012 13:30 2 Comments

My book reading at Macy's was wonderful! For those of you couldn't join us, here are some pictures and even a video clip from the event: [caption id="attachment_2893" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Signage in the store! Is that REALLY me?!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2898" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Signing books for the kids!"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_2899" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pictures with the kids! They were TOO cute. I wanted to take them all home with me!"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_2900" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The smile on my face says it all, don't you think? What a FABULOUS day!"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_2901" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Following the reading, the kids got to decorate cupcakes courtesy of Macy's. Based on the evidence we found, looks like some were also eaten!"][/caption]
What better way to end a reading then with a little song!
     

Join Me at Macy's Herald Square, NYC - Saturday, May 5th, 2012 April 30, 2012 19:07

Join me for a reading of my books "You Are My Cupcake" and "We Belong Together" at Macy's Herald Square, NYC this Saturday, May 5th! Scholastic has partnered with Macy's to offer guests a free signed copy of a book with any purchase in the Kids Department of $25 or more (while supplies last). So, if you're in the NYC area, or will be, this weekend - it would be great to see you! Do I really need to give you all a reason to go shopping? ;)

Event:
Macy's Reading Circle with Joyce Wan

Date:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Time: Noon

Place:
Macy's Herald Square 151 W 34th Street 7th Floor, Kids' Department New York, NY