Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Self observation

I've learned something about myself. I'm either more dyslexic than I thought, or I have absolutely no idea how to correctly hold a baseball bat.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A grueling four months comes to an end

When I think about my accomplishments over the past four months, I
feel both gratified and exasperated. Here's what I've been up to:

Finished painting She Loved Baseball, a picture book biography about Negro League Baseball owner Effa Manley, written by Audrey Vernick. This book required 23 pieces of art, possibly 24 since the cover has yet to be determined.

Gave 10 speaking presentations at school libraries, writing conferences, and book fairs.

Completed 4 small, in-and-out in a day freelance projects for educational publishing.

Spent 4 days in North Carolina with my Aunt Eleanora, following the sudden passing of her husband, my uncle Zack.

Attended and participated in no less than 20 end-of-the-year school activities, sporting events, summer camp programs, Scouting events.

Wrote and revised a humorous picture book (out to an editor); wrote a first draft of a picture book biography.

Read 10 pages from 5 manuscripts for an upcoming writing/critiquing event.

And don't forget, I work a part-time job at the newspaper three days per week, which allows me to do all these other things.

Things I haven't accomplished:

Working out. Yes, I'm out of shape, fat around the edges, and weak. And to make matters worse, every bodypart jiggles, including those that should be stationary.

Vegas vacation. My wife and son spent 11 days in Las Vegas without me.

My son's track meets. There was no way I could forfeit entire days in order to watch my son run in a 30-second track event. Kudos to my wife who did this.

Several get-togethers and a road trip with local authors and illustrators.

Church. Even though I sleep through most sermons, I don't like to miss church because I think it's important for my son to know I value going to church.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Illustration update

In addition to illustrating children's books, I also work for the newspaper, The American Statesman. My official title is Graphics Reporter, which means I report stories with maps and charts. But I illustrate, too. Here are a couple of recent illustrations.

For a story about teaching your child to grow ingredients to make a pizza.

For a story about mothers who blog, and how powerful (and profitable) this has become.

In other news: Ron's Big Mission received a nice review from Children's Literature review journal. And they had pleasing comments about the illustrations, too: "Don Tate's illustrations are richly colored and vividly expressive. The town's wide-eyed citizens are foolish but well-intentioned; Tate conveys their lack of aggression through the use of sloped, curved lines and quizzical expressions."

A few years ago when I had some down time, I created a bunch of little car images. My licensing agent, Suzanne Cruise, was able to license them to various product manufacturers, particularly scrapbooking companies. When an editor at HarperCollins/HarperFestival discovered the cars on display at a Surtex, a huge licensing show in New York, they hired me to illustrate the pop-up book Zoom: A Book of Things That Go. Recently the cars have been licensed by Miss Elizabeth, A Dollar Tree line of products, and are being used on gift bags. So, if you're so inclined, give ZOOM as a gift, and give it away in a matching bag!

On the picture book front, I'm almost finished illustrating Effa. I'm a little behind due to a sudden burst of speaking engagements toward the end of the school year, followed by a family emergency, followed by one thing after another. But I'm almost there and, I think, it's looking good.

Add Image

Saturday, July 04, 2009

In the meantime. . .

I made my deadline last week . . . well, sort of. I shipped all but a few spreads to HarperCollins, with a promise that the remainder of the art would straggle in over the next few weeks. I felt terrible, but the art director reassured me it was okay, that actually I was "on time" compared to delivery of art by many other artists.

Since I'll be knee-deep in painting for the next few weeks, no telling when I'll be posting here again. So in the meantime, I wanted to help spread the word about a new picture book by writer friend, Chris Barton. His book, The Day-Glow Brothers, released this month to rave reviews and much buzz over the kidlitosphere. In particular, I'd like to direct you to a feature about him and his book on Cynsations. And they're giving books away! Check it out.

And if you're in Austin next weekend, July 11, drop in to BookPeople where the official launch of The Day-Glow Brothers will take place. See you there.