Saturday, July 24, 2010

Graphic reporting: My other career.

I've been blogging about my children’s book career for nearly 6 years now. But I’ve rarely discussed my other career: Graphics reporting at the Statesman.

I spend just as much time illustrating and preparing graphics at the Statesman as I do illustrating for children’s publishers. And the Statesman pays better, too.

So, what in the heck is a graphic reporter, you ask? Simply put, a graphic reporter is one who tells and supports news stories with drawings — charts, maps, diagrams, illustrations. I draw for the newspaper!

Here I am today interviewing a couple of Austin police officers about their new in-car video surveillance system. As a graphic reporter, it’s my job to explain to readers, visually, what this system is and how police will use it.

In the photos, I’m taking notes and sketching as officers answers my questions. Am I nervous sitting there in the drivers seat of a cop car? Heck yes! But I play it cool, best as I can.
In the top photo, two reporters and I lob questions at the officers. After the interview, we return to the newsroom to brainstorm ideas on how to best present the graphic. In this case, it's decided that I’ll draw the pictures while Rob V. organizes and lays out the text with my drawings.

Here’s a look at the final graphic and a link to the story.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Around Our Way on Neighbors' Day.

Hey all, my colleague, Tameka Fryer Brown, at the Brown Bookshelf has a book coming out in little less than a month. It's called Around Our Way on Neighbors' Day. It will be released on August 1st, and has already received a nice review from Booklist.

Now here's the thing, in this economy, bookstores are reluctant to take a chance on stocking books by first-time authors (especially books that feature brown faces). So how does one get exposure? Well, as Tameka says, "It will take a 'movement on the ground.'"

Here's what you can do:

1. Purchased a copy of the book, RIGHT AWAY!

2. Call or visit your local independent bookstore, or chain bookstore (Borders, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.) TODAY and tell them you'd like to purchase a copy.

3. Purchase online.

4. PASS ALONG this information. Blog, tweet, email, Facebook.

We must support each other.