The Journey Trilogy

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by Aaron Becker (box set to be released November 7, 2017, Candlewick Press)

I’m so excited to bring you this glimmer of good news today. Aaron Becker’s stunning wordless trilogy is being released as a box set by Candlewick just in time for the warm winter holidays, or any time your soul needs a boost.

Here’s a look at the magic.

I asked Aaron a little bit about his incredible past few years in publishing. Here he is!

So, how does it feel to know there’s a box set for the Journey Trilogy?

I am more than thrilled! I’ve always loved this sort of thing in the series that I follow, but I never imagined when I wrote Journey that it would grow into something like this. It’s such an honor and I’m so excited to see it come together.

Had you always planned a trilogy?

When I was editing Journey, the one thing I didn’t have room for was a resolution for the girl’s initial (and significant) disconnect with her family. Instead, she finds a way out of her loneliness through her imagination and the adventures and friends she makes along the way. This felt closer to life to me; that the things we desire deep down don’t always pan out the way we might hope.

At the same time there was this nagging question when the layouts were finished – What about the girl’s family? Will she ever be seen by them? Well before Journey published (as you know, it’s a long process from completion of artwork to final publication) I talked to my editor at Candlewick (Mary Lee Donovan) about extending the story into a trilogy to help finish the larger arc of the girl’s journey. At that point, I wrote out a synopsis of the final two books. It was important to me that the story not turn into an ongoing series, but end as a succinct story with three purposeful acts, where Quest delves us deeper into the worlds of Journey and Return comes full circle to resolve the girl’s initial rift.

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Journey was your debut and landed in the book-world like a meteor. Was it hard to follow up on that kind of success?

Luckily I avoided any of that pressure – the paintings for Quest were finished by the time Journey published! Return was harder to figure out, but mostly because the story needed to work both as a stand alone story and a book end to the trilogy – in 40 wordless pages!

Your book trailers are amazing. How do they get made?

Thanks! I used to work in the film industry, so when the time came to promote Journey, I took what I knew of animation and film making and put it to use. It’s a really fun part of the process for me, and I wanted to do something special to celebrate the release of the box set that was different than my animations from the trilogy. I filmed the lanterns and books in our back yard with some fancy new camera equipment. It was a blast, though waiting for the perfect sunset took some patience!

For the music in all of my trailers, I work with Jacob Montague, a composer from the band Branches. Jacob takes my temp track and scores original music based on the timing of the edit. Books are a relatively solitary process, so it’s nice to have the chance for some collaboration.

Now that the trilogy is complete and the box set is coming out, do you have plans ever to go back to the worlds from Journey?

I do have an idea about the girl’s father when he was a boy. It’s the back story of it all that explains the crayons and the mythology of the kingdom. Actually, if you look carefully, a lot of it is already there on the cave painting in Return. I think I prefer keeping it there instead of elaborating too literally for the reader. There’s such a large part of these stories that belong to the readers themselves and I’d hate to take that away by explaining it too much!

I’ll have to take a look at that cave myself! So what’s next?

I have an entirely new wordless book coming out in Spring of 2018, A Stone for Sascha. It’s hard to explain in words how lucky I feel to be doing this job of telling my own stories. Now if only I had more time! I have so many I want to tell.

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Picture Book Month

This is near and dear to me. Celebrate with us at picturebookmonth.com and tweet with the hashtag #picturebkmonth!

Oh No, George!

I love this book. I love lots and lots of books, but I really love this book.

Chris Haughton is the author/illustrator of Oh No, George! and he’s especially awesome because he tweeted me this link once:

You’re welcome.

Anyway. George is just as dear as Denver and Macy. He just loves cake so much! And dirt! And Cat! Despite George being a mischievous soul, Harry loves him unconditionally. Who doesn’t need assurance from the people we love every once in a while?

And the colors…oh, the colors.

Warm oranges, maroons, magentas, and purples dominate the color palette. So rich and gorgeous.

And check out this color wheel. See how those oranges, reds, and purples are next to each other? Those are called analogous colors, and so this color scheme is called an analogous color harmony. These colors work beautifully together because of their location on the color wheel.

And Harry is also created in an analogous color harmony, with greens, turquoise and navy. So is the cake-eating couple in the park. {I love her hat.}

Together, these harmonies create a soothing and very appealing palette. Whether color palette is the first thing that makes you pick up a book or not, the colors in Oh No, George! create a unique reading experience.

Of course, George does that, too. He’s so sweet.

AND! How fun are the endpapers? I love how they bookend the action in the pages.

And if you’re not entirely convinced to read this book, maybe this trailer will push you over the edge:

George. You rascal.

Picture Book Month Celebrates Moms!

This is for moms and all who love them! Grab the embed codes and share with your favorite mom!

I Want My Hat Back {the preview}

This Twitter exchange today made me wobble in my knees a little bit:

THE Jon Klassen replied to my tweet? On an enormous award-winning day? Yeah, I squealed a bit.

I’ve been planning a post for I Want My Hat Back this week, and have had a hard time putting its perfection into words that haven’t already been said. Motion graphics to the rescue. I didn’t create this trailer, but I love it. Get your feet wet on this, run out and read it, and I’ll be back with more. It’s just that great.

Picture Book Month 2011 Teaser

Picture Book Month 2011 Trailer

You saw that amazing trailer first thing yesterday morning, right? The one that you woke up early to watch? And then proceeded to watch eight more times in rapid succession, until you could pry your eyes away from the action to tweet about it? The one that gave you chills and made your pulse race and want to re-read each book on your bookshelf?

No, not The Hunger Games trailer….this one!

I had the amazing opportunity to create this trailer for the very first Picture Book Month, and I kinda love it. I’ve been so interested in this movement this year, because duh, I love picture books, so I reached out to Dianne de Las Casas because I knew I could help spread the word.

Why did I make it look like that? Here are a few reasons why:

ELEMENTS OF DESIGN IN MOTION

LINE: Obviously, a dotted line winds throughout the piece. My goal was to use that line to direct your eye from one moment to the next. But also, because this trailer highlights quotes from the Picture Book Month essays, I thought it would make sense to connect them together, almost blending one into the other. Each quoted champion stands alone as an ambassador for picture books, but together they are a mighty, mighty team, linked by a single mission. I debated between a solid line and a dotted one, and ultimately chose the dotted one because there was a bit more quirk to it; it felt more lively. I also liked the way the dots played off of the tiny stars as a similarly weighted graphic element.

TEXTURE: I wanted the background to have a rich, but subtle texture. Inspired by the texture and feeling of the printed page, I chose the look of heavy, pulpy paper.

SHAPE: Joyce Wan‘s sweet logo had a handful of bright and cheery stars, so I used those as a motif to anchor each quotation. By using these as recurring elements, the piece has a sense of unity.

COLOR: Why blue? I took this cue straight from the Picture Book Month website, in order to stay within their brand and already developed style. I feel like the shades of blue create a sense of calm and quietness, and because this is a a piece with a deep message, that color makes so much sense. And it’s pretty. But also, remember the end resolve with the logo and website address? The logo has warm reds, oranges, and browns, so I added text in those same colors. Overall, the piece finishes in a quasi-blue-orange-complementary color scheme. Because of the vibrancy in their contrast, colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel create bold color schemes when you want to signify something’s importance. Like here. Picture Book Month. So important.

TYPOGRAPHY: I used Gotham Thin juxtaposed with Gotham Bold. Gotham is currently enjoying somewhat of a trendiness in graphic design, but I don’t care. I love it. I think it’s beautiful, easy to read, and very pleasantly shaped and formed. AND! I didn’t realize this, but Gotham was inspired by architectural signage in New York City. This is fun to think of as NYC is one of the great homes to childrens’ book publishing. I love the idea that words are (duh) foundational to books, and the typeface to frame these particular words was inspired by something to guide and help people. A stretch? Sure, but I realized it after I picked it and it’s still cool, right?

Off to curl up with a picture book. Or ten.