Valleycott Awards 2018

Valleycott Awards 2018

Grade 2 library classes, recently studying Caldecott Award winning picture books (awarded as such by the American Library Association for outstanding artwork), spent January evaluating some of 2017's best illustrated picture books and handed-out their annual Valleycott Awards. The Valleycott Award winners represent what the 2nd graders felt were outstanding examples of picture book artwork. Each 2nd grade class also chose one winning illustrator to write a letter of congratulations to, and you can see the winners' email responses below, reproduced with permission... 
Picture book, "Legend of Rock Paper Scissors" The 2nd graders wrote to Adam Rex, illustrator of 2018 Valleycott winner "The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors" by Drew Daywalt.  Here are their questions and his answers:

1) Which of the illustrations in the book is your favorite and why?

My favorite is the one in which Rock tells Apricot he looks like a fuzzy little butt. I think I probably like that painting because it reminds me of that line, but it’s also a painting where everything turned out just how I wanted it to. You might guess that a professional illustrator always makes pictures that turn out exactly as planned, but it isn’t the case. A lot of times I can’t quite make a project look as good as it looks in my imagination.
2)  What materials did you use to create the illustrations?  

I mostly painted with oil paint on very thick paper. On some of the pages I also painted or fixed mistakes using a computer program called Photoshop. 

3)  Did you and the author plan out the pictures together or did you get to plan them all by yourself?  

I mostly got to plan them all by myself. The illustrator decides what the book looks like, and then the editor and sometimes the author will suggest ways it could be improved. Sometimes I take these suggestions, and sometimes I disagree and have to explain why I think my idea is best. 

4)  How long did it take to create the illustrations from start to finish?  

Three or four months?  Something like that. 

5)  How long have you been drawing pictures and what inspired you become an artist?

I’ve always drawn pictures. I probably started at the same age all of you did—at two or three years old. The reason I’m good at it isn’t that I started younger, but rather because I never stopped!
Adam Rex, February 2018

Questions for Peter Brown

Picture book, "Creepy Pair of Underwear"
The 2nd graders also wrote to Peter Brown, illustrator of "Creepy Pair of Underwear" by author Aaron Reynolds.  Here are their questions and his answers:
1) How did you get the underwear to look like it was glowing?

Most books are printed with four different colors of ink: cyan, magenta, black and yellow. But for Creepy Underwear we used a special fifth ink, which is that bright green color you see throughout the book. By putting that glowy green color in those black-and-white illustrations, it gives the illusion that the underwear is glowing!

2) What materials did you use to create the pictures?
I made lots of pencil drawings on paper, scanned them into my computer, and layered them overtop of each other, kind of like a collage.

3) How long did it take to create the book from start to finish?
Since Aaron Reynolds wrote all the words, that meant less work for me. But I still spent about six months on the artwork.

4) Do you find it challenging only using a few colors, like in "Creepy Carrots" and "Creepy Pair of Underwear"?
Every kind of art presents its own challenges, and the Creepy books are no exception. But since color is such a big part of my usual illustration process, I actually enjoyed trying something new and making books that are mostly black-and-white.

5) How long have you been interested in drawing, and do you prefer creating your very own books or working with other authors?

I’ve loved drawing ever since I could first pick up a crayon. Most kids move on to other interests and hobbies, but I never did, and over time I got better and better at it. But I love writing just as much, and I feel very lucky that my job allows me to do my two favorite things.

6) Do you have any of your own creepy underwear???????
Haha! No, my undies are not creepy at all. But I think someone should sell green, Creepy pairs of underwear. I’d buy a pair!
Peter Brown, February, 2018 
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