Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2011 Conference Series-Distinguished Faculty: Jesse Joshua Watson

Each day we're getting closer to our 20th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children Conference! We still have more AMAZING Faculty to tell you about!! Next up is one of our Distinguished Faculty; Jesse Joshua Watson. Jesse Joshua Watson is an award winning, NY Times Bestselling illustrator and author; some of his books include HOPE FOR HAITI, MARCELO, and he's illustrated CHESS RUMBLE, and the HANK ZIPZER series (among others). He also teaches art to kids, and exhibits fine art (Jesse's artwork has been displayed in galleries, cafes, clubs and a museum).

Here's a Q & A from an interview on Lee & Low Books with Jesse and Tony Medina on their book I AND I BOB MARLEY.
Jesse, are there particular challenges to illustrating a book largely about music – translating or connecting something auditory to something visual?

JJW: Yes, there is a challenge that comes with visually depicting somebody we are all used to hearing. When you get a likeness of a person down but miss the spirit of that person, the work feels hollow. I need to paint to encompass the musician, bringing the spirit of his or her music and message to the canvas. The image then begins to look like that musician and also becomes him or her. I see my duty as being similar to a shaman’s, in a way. I take a piece of art and I give it a heartbeat. If I do my job well, the viewer will hear the music coming from the painting. It dances. It has life within. This is maybe my highest calling as an artist.
The Children's Book Review has a video of Jesse sharing about his book HOPE FOR HAITI (it's a great piece to check out!). You can find out more information about Jesse, and his work on both his website and his blog. A fun fact about Jesse is that he shares on his website bio is that he is "infatuated with growing bamboo".

Since the registration is full, make sure you visit the SCBWI WWA's event website to get your name on the conference waiting list.

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