Harriett's Homecoming

And the Winners Are......Flora and Hayden!

We are so excited to finally announce the winner's of the Harriett's Homecoming Scavenger Hunt! It was so fun to see all of the submitted photos, and we love how much fun all of our Cincinnati families had exploring their city with Harriett. Thank you to all who participated, and thank you for adventuring with our favorite peregrine falcon chick! Flora and Hayden are the recipients of the VIP Grand Prize: a signed copy of the book, a stuffed peregrine falcon toy, and an exclusive trip to Raptor, Inc. in Milford, Ohio! Raptor, Inc. has played a huge part in Harriett's tour around Cincinnati, visiting schools with author Susan Levine and now hosting the winners of our Queen City scavenger hunt. We are so grateful for their help, and for everything they do for raptors in Southwest Ohio!

Here are Hayden and Flora's submitted photos from around the Queen City:

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072

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Congratulations, Hayden and Flora!

Harriett's Homecoming Book Signing

This Saturday Orange Frazer had the opportunity to join Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati for a truly one-of-a-kind book signing for our author, Susan Levine. Susan read her book, Harriett's Homecoming: A High-Flying Tour of Cincinnati, and a representative from Raptor, Inc. brought a live peregrine falcon. As an adult, I probably learned just as much as all of the kids there (Did you know the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth, clocking in at 200 mph? Now I do!). Here are two of my favorite snapshots from the event (cell phone snapshots, that is--didn't want to startle the falcon!). Harriett's Homecoming book signing with Susan Levine

Harriett's Homecoming: The Scavenger Hunt Begins!

  Harriett’s Homecoming: A High-Flying Tour of Cincinnati is taking flight and will be arriving in stores in the greater Cincinnati area this week!

To celebrate the release of our newest children’s book, Harriett’s Homecoming: A High-Flying Tour of Cincinnati, Orange Frazer is hosting a citywide scavenger hunt tracing the path of Harriett’s journey! If you and your child visit 5 of the 20 locations mentioned in the book, and take a photo of your child holding the book at each and send them in to us, we will enter you in a drawing for the VIP Grand Prize! The winning family will get a free, signed copy of the book, a stuffed peregrine falcon toy, and a chance to visit the real Harriett Falcon at Raptor, Inc.

For details, rules, and suggested activities, visit our website page dedicated to the Harriett Scavenger Hunt! We cannot wait to see where you find yourself, and we hope that you have just as much fun exploring the Queen City as Harriett did.

Where can you get a copy of Harriett's Homecoming?

Participating Locations:

Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati

Barnes & Noble (all Cincinnati locations)

Wild About Birds

Cincinnati Public Library

Cincinnati Museum Center

Email [email protected] with any questions about the scavenger hunt, locations, rules or activities!

Harriett's Homecoming: An Interview with the Illustrator

While the focus of this blog is primarily on our custom books division, I couldn't help but shine the spotlight on the illustrator of a commercial children's book we are doing this year. The book is Harriett's Homecoming: A High-Flying Tour of Cincinnati, and it is the entertaining story of Harriett, a Peregrine Falcon chick, and her adventures (and misadventures) in downtown Cincinnati. Harriett's discoveries—Eden Park, The Newport Aquarium, The Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and many more—are woven throughout the narrative in brilliant watercolor illustrations. Erin Burchwell, illustrator, took some time to talk to me about her artistic history and training, her process in creating the unique, layered illustrations, and her personal relationship with her work:

How did you become an illustrator, and what brought you to watercolor illustrating specifically?

Well, I believe a person’s art is a reflection of their whole life in some way—from childhood experiences, to schooling, education, etc. And my life is no exception to this belief.

I grew up in an artistic family, although I was the only visual artist of the bunch. My father taught voice and directed operas (my sister followed in his path), and my mother taught Shakespeare. So while many of our friends were going to summer camp or weekend ballgames, my sister and I were going to operas, art museums and Shakespeare plays. We also travelled in the summers with a choir that my father directed across much of Europe. The travelling, especially in eastern Europe, I think had a huge impact on my artistic ventures.

When I was 13 years old, I got my first set of watercolors at an outdoor open market in Moscow. I had no clue how to use them “correctly”—in fact, at the same market I bought wooden boxes and things to paint with the watercolor. Somehow, I managed to get the paint to stay on the wood, and I used clear fingernail polish as a sealer.  I’m still not sure how I managed that “technique!”

From there I moved to paper with my watercolors, but I was already in the habit of really saturating the paper, and still had no instruction in painting. By the time someone showed me how to actually use watercolors, I thought, “those colors look weak,” and kept doing things my own way.

I went on in college to major in theatre with an art minor (still no painting classes, however), and after graduating, I taught high school drama and directed school plays for 7 years until my daughter was born. I loved teaching, but I always had this idea in the back of my head that I wanted to write and illustrate children’s books someday. So, when I quit teaching to stay home, I decided to actually start pursuing the book idea. I joined a local group in Columbus (COSCBWI) with other aspiring authors and illustrators and after about a year, I sat next to Susan Levine (the author) and the rest is history!

What research was involved in the falcon books (Harriett’s Homecoming and Packard Takes Flight)?

Well, first off, I had to learn a LOT about birds, falcons in particular. It’s funny, now, because I see them everywhere when I’m driving around, whereas before I never really noticed them. Several bird sanctuaries have been very helpful in answering my many, many questions, and letting me get up close to see various birds in person. I used a human dummy model and a picture of a bird skeleton to help me get my poses. I used both because, of course, our birds are doing things that real birds can’t do, like picking up things with “fingers” etc. Then, of course, I had to get familiar with all of the places in the books. I visited most of them in person and took lots and lots of photos (I think I took 2,000 photos for Packard, and even more for Harriett). It’s killing our desktop computer.

What was your process for these illustrations (the layering, etc.)?

Again, I think my childhood travels and theatre training all influenced my artistic choices, here especially. My mom gave me a book on British toy theaters when I was in junior high, and I have been fascinated with them ever since. I felt comfortable designing in “levels” or layers similar to my stage experience, so I began to design my pages like I would a set for a stage, with the backdrop (background), the center stage (middle) and forestage (upfront). I started cutting out and using puffy stickers to get the effect I was looking for—a miniature theater. Surprisingly, I really liked the scanned images. I felt like it added a lot of depth, and the originals looked beautiful in framed shadow boxes. It’s a tedious process, cutting out each individual piece or character, but it frees me psychologically from the fear of messing up in the final hour.

How do you reward yourself after such a time-consuming project?

Books really are very time-consuming projects. I think we calculated around 450 hours for Harriett (my husband is a nerd accountant). And I’m sort of ADD, so something that big is tough to get through, and it is nice to look forward to a little reward of some kind. For years, I had joked with my husband about getting a hairless cat. I thought the logic would appeal to him—they’re perfect pets. You don’t have to walk them or let them out, yet they have the personality of a dog without the shedding fur. Genius! He didn’t think so. So we had an “agreement” that I would get a Sphynx cat if I ever got published. So, the very day after I signed on for Packard, and before I ever even did one painting, I found a breeder and drove a few hours one way to pick up my new baby, “Harry.” He is quite the character. He has gotten into my workspace in the basement more than once and eaten (yes, eaten) some of my Packards and Harrietts right off the page. But he’s still worth it. I think I’m going to have to stop talking about him to kids at school visits, because it seems to be the only thing they remember.

When I talk with kids about art and illustrating in the many schools that we visit, I like to reiterate to them that if they get a chance to take art classes they should eat them up. However, if they love art, if they are passionate about art, if they constantly pick up a book and just look at the pictures, with enough practice and determination, they can illustrate without the formal training. I know a lot of artists cringe at this idea, but illustrating books for children is an art form very different from any other.

 

Harriett's Homecoming will be available the week of October 15, 2012. Order online at www.orangefrazer.com or purchase at your local bookstore.