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Happy Birthday, Walt!

December 5, 2018– Ok, so today is Walt Disney’s birthday and I know he wasn’t an author, but he was one hell of an entrepreneur! We talk a lot about entrepreneurs on this blog, and as authors and illustrators, well, we are entrepreneurs. Walt was an artist, producer, and game-changer. To celebrate his birthday, let’s look at some interesting facts about the man behind the magic!

  1. He failed. A lot. Legend has it that Walt failed an epic 320 times before getting the financing for his dream of Disneyland. Imagine if he had of given up!
  2. He helped with the war effort. Even though the Disney Company was not in a good financial position at the beginning World War II, Walt decided it was vital that he and his company help in the war effort.  Walt Disney Training Films unit was created which were instruction films for the American military and propaganda films for the American public.  He won an Academy Award in 1943 for his short propaganda film, Der Fuehrer’s Face.
  3. He learned to draw by doing this. Walt spent most of his time at school doodling. He learned to draw by copying newspaper cartoons, specifically from an American Midwest newspaper called Appeal to Reason which his father was an avid reader of. Walt wasn’t interested in the political editorials, but he enjoyed looking at the front page cartoons. At this time there were no animated films or comic books, Walt found the cartoons exciting and the style demonstrated in the cartoons would later appear in his own!

Happy birthday to the legend that is Walt Disney!

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A Couple of Things I learned in London!

November 30, 2017-Well, it took me long enough! After visiting the London Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world, in March of this year, I’ve finally decided to share a few of my notes. The presenters were phenomenal, and I learned so much. I’m happy to say that at Pandamonium Publishing House, we are constantly trying to implement these ideas in our works. Here’s just a taste of a seminar I attended titled, Children’s Picture Books, Today and Tomorrow which was presented by Christine Baker…she’s the person who introduced Harry Potter to France!

  • Visual and aesthetic changes based on what is coming out of Europe
  • Core is sharing a story between kids and adults
  • Globalization of illustrative talent
  • Smaller publishers=different esthetics, different graphic styles, RETRO styling and online media influence of graphic styles
  • The changes currently are in regards to children’s books polarization in how to sell to people in the market. Books about food (donut on the front or about a shopping trolley sell insane amounts of books in supermarkets)
  • There is a large spectrum of illustrations, and a slightly alternative style is forthcoming
  • DIVERSITY IS HUGE. Be willing to take risks and be experimental, this will open a lot of doors. It’s good to see things from other countries because that itself lends to diversity. The Gruffalo is a great example of this.
  • Rhyming books can be hard to translate, and books for kids don’t always need to rhyme, but rhyming is fun if you do it right!
  • Non-Fiction Narrative is up and coming in this market
  • Unusual measurements-BIG HUGE books are popular
  • Push the boundaries of art
  • The scale is almost furniture size for up and coming picture books. A couple of kids gathered around a huge book as they read it in front of the fireplace on the floor. ­­­
  • Digital content-This is not so important to have books in an app because there isn’t really a demand for it.
  • Non-fiction books can have illustrations rather than photographs. Eg. Great White Shark
  • Screens and tablets can never replace books
  • Physical touching of a book is best, kids with their parents turning the pages, sitting on laps
  • Apps are only good if what you’re doing is interactive. It must be intelligent because apps are difficult to sell.
  • Heavily illustrated early reader novels (5-8 years) are here to stay!
  • Kids always read up!
  • Cross over books are books between picture books and middle-grade novels
  • Tons of writing is told in the imagery
  • Be untraditional, non-traditional, odd, with a different style. Don’t look like everything else in the market! Stand out!
  • Define and describe new categories illustratively
  • Your book is a work of art, be unique and interesting.
  • It’s all about fantastic stories, adventure, characters kids care about that they want to share with their parents, intriguing covers make you want to know what the book is about.
  • The US is the biggest market for books right now, but the UK is the biggest market for picture books.

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