day in winchester

I went to the SCBWI writers’ conference this weekend. It felt really different than the usual illustrator events I go to. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it … perhaps ‘earnest’ is the word? Possibly illustrators are a bit more playful? Not sure. The morning trains to Winchester promised to be a mess, so I stayed overnight with the fabulous Sue Eves. It was so much fun seeing where she works. Among her many professional skills, she’s a puppeteer and the person behind the BBC’s Tamba puppet. She showed me a puppet that she had made to look like her dog, and it looked so real that she said it totally freaked him. I begged to see what he when she pulled out the puppet, but then her normally docile pet went into such hysterics that – in between giggles – I felt very guilty about asking.
Oh, cool, she just e-mailed me a link to her partner’s website. He’s really into world music and gave me some CDs to listen to. (I’m listening to one right now. I love a lot of the world music I hear, but I never know which artists to look up!)

Writer David Almond was the keynote speaker and I bought a gorgeous copy of his new chapter book, ‘My Dad’s a Birdman’. I have no idea if the story’s any good yet, but the full colour illustrations by Polly Dunbar are really lush, especially the endpapers. (I reviewed her ‘Penguin‘ book awhile ago.) Candy Gourlay also gave a good talk about web networking and I pushed a sheet about Livejournal under people’s noses. I was supposed to be on her panel, but she had so much to say about blogging that it didn’t happen, and I was able to breathe easier. She does a good blog called Notes from the Slush Pile. She posted this great clip, Bernard Black’s response to a rejection letter:

Here’s a detail from a flier I just did for my local church. (You can click here to see the whole thing.) Originally I thought I was only going to do it in two-colour printing (red and black), but the brief changed at the last minute to full colour. I kept the limited palette but added a yellowed background and brown. Now the black people don’t have red skin, possibly a very good thing, even though the white people still have a hundreds of pimples. I kind of like the retro look.

Oh, can anyone please please help me? See the fabric of the baby carrier in this image? I couldn’t figure out how in Photoshop to get rid of the white undertones and make them yellowish. Does anyone know how to do that? I did it in Monotone, making the colors red. But when I tried Duotone with the yellow-cream, it just made the red more pinkish. If I turned up the yellow in the Color Balance, it just affected the reds, not the white. How do I get it to turn the white into yellow-cream?

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