A November Mazza Morning

“The best work that I do is when I’m having fun.” ~ Divya Srinivasan

Divya’s winding path to picture book illustration took many turns, including comic strip art, animation, music videos, album covers, theatre posters, textbook art, computer apps and magazine illustration. Her work for a greeting card company further solidified her desire to draw for children.

Little Owl’s Night was a project Divya worked on out of a need to do something just for herself. She drew from many of her previous art experiences to create a setting – a night forest – and a character – Little Owl. Octopus Alone and Little Owl’s Day soon followed.

Because Divya’s art is computer-generated, her studio travels with her. And, today, it traveled with her to us, as she demonstrated how to create a very simple fish in Photo Shop.

divya mazza

And then, the morning continued with another incredible artist.

Go draw something.” ~ Ginanna Marino’s mother

Shy and fascinated with Mickey Mouse, Gianna spent her childhood rescuing or “rehoming” animals. After finding art school disappointing (oh, the rules!), Gianna traveled widely, writing and drawing along the way. When she took a class on writing and illustration, she met others who shared a desire to write for children. Her first two books sold rather quickly.

But when unsuccessful attempts to sell another book led to rejection after rejection, Gianna eventually revisited her travel journals and found inspiration in the animals she’d seen on her worldwide adventures. With Meet Me at the Moon, emotional impact returned to her work. Too Tall Houses and Following Papa’s Song connect young readers to everyday problems and everyday relationships.

Luckily, Gianna’s muse continues to find her in the most unexpected places. In tents. On mountains. While traveling far and wide. And we’re so glad it does.

mazza gianna 2

How can Mazza’s Dr. Jerry Mallett inspire Gianna?

Wait. Don’t go yet.

The morning isn’t over.

And this next artist is one whose name I learned to spell several years ago.

B-a-g-r-a-m   I-b-a-t-o-u-l-l-i-n-e

I could never say it properly. But I could spell it.

I know how to spell it because I have been writing that name on my Mazza Conference suggestion form for many years following the question “Which illustrator would you like to see at the Mazza Museum?”

And, guess what?

He’s here!

mazza bagram

When Bagram reads a text, he puts himself in the place of the characters in order to connect with the emotions of the character as he illustrates. Here he explains a double page spread from Crossing by Philip Booth.

Bagram’s illustrations have brought to life the words of Jane Yolen, Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, and so many more.

Born and raised in Russia, Bagram spent his early years in Siberia before moving to a milder climate and attending the Art Institute in Moscow. Since 1991, he and his wife have lived in the United States.

I, for one, am thrilled to have finally met Bagram Ibatoulline. I can now stop writing his name on those conference forms. And, finally, I can say it properly!

Can you believe this day is only half done?

Come back this evening. Jen Corace and Ashley Bryan are coming up next….

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