Lately, I’ve received numerous requests from teachers asking for short videos of encouragement on final school assignments that utilize comics and graphic novels.
For any educators who’d like a little word of encouragement and sendoff for their students doing these types of projects, I made a short video. Feel free to use it at will.
Also, THANK YOU to educators who have tried their hardest under these tough circumstances to boost their students’ mood and make learning fun online. I know it hasn’t been easy, and you are so appreciated!
Join me virtually on Tuesday, May 19 at 4 pm EST for a virtual event with RJ Julia Booksellers! Info here.
Very excited to chat with bestselling author Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil) during his fantastic kids’ virtual writing workshop. Tune in on Wednesday, May 13 at 2:45 EST to hear our quick 15-minute Q&A or at 2 pm to watch the entire workshop, which is soooo good.
Join Terri and Erin Entrada Kelly LIVE as we discuss our new books with Politics & Prose. Details here!
Thrilled to announce that JUST JAIME was chosen for the 2020 ILA-CBC Children’s Choices list! This is a cooperative project of the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC).
“The books in these lists are read and voted on by 12,500 children across the US each year. These Children’s Choices can be counted on as books children really enjoy reading.
Each year, children from Kindergarten – 6th grade in five regions of the United States read newly-published children’s trade books and vote for the ones they like best. These Children’s Choices, selected from hundreds of titles, can be counted on as books children really enjoy reading.”
For more info, click here.
Hey, everyone! If you’re like my own kids, you’re going to be home for a while, waiting out the worst of the COVID-19 virus. At first, being “stuck at home” may not sound so bad. It’s an escape from tests, work, and maybe even those kids and teachers you try and avoid most days at school. But after a while, it can get pretty boring. So here are a few ideas for some screen-free fun time:
1. Well, of course, I’m going to say this…READ! This is such a great opportunity to take a break from your phone, video games, and other electronics and escape into someone else’s imagination.
2. Get outside. Okay, so you may have to avoid crowds of people, but it’s probably okay to ride your bike or walk to a park or wherever else you like to go (just ask a parent first if this is okay).
3. Have a game day (or night). If you’re gonna be stuck with your family, take out your frustrations on a friendly competition. It’s probably healthier than a family screaming match.
4. Whip out those neglected art supplies. Remember when you were in kindergarten and used to draw, paint, and craft with abandon? I’ll bet there are still some art supplies lying around. It’s a perfect time to get creative. Make your own comics! Try a collage from old paper scraps! Paint your little brother all the colors of the rainbow! Okay, kidding about that last one…maybe.
5. Along those lines, it’s also a great time to catch up on writing in a journal. Or start a novel. Believe it or not, boredom can weirdly spark your imagination.
6. Write letters to faraway friends and family. Once upon a time, people corresponded with pen, paper, and the written word. You can still do that! You can also draw funny pictures they can keep. But if that seems too old-fashioned, you can still FaceTime them your funny faces.
7. Finally, if you go to “Fun Stuff” in the menu above, there are some cool little games and videos. Also, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, BECOMING BRIANNA:
That portion and the rest of BECOMMING BRIANNA comes out May 5, 2020. In the meantime, hunker down, stay healthy, and keep reading and creating!
For the past four years, I’ve had two incredibly fulfilling careers: one as a children’s book author and one — much longer — as a syndicated newspaper cartoonist. Well, it’s reached the point where one career had to give. The Pajama Diaries has had a good 14-year run and I’ve decided to retire it permanently.
Bittersweet is an understatement, but I’m so thankful to have had even this long a stint. The strip has rewarded me with incredible fans, a big-time award, and so many industry friends. Below is my official goodbye letter to my readers, who made this my ultimate dream job.
After almost fourteen incredible years, it’s with mixed feelings that I’m announcing the retirement of my syndicated comic strip, The Pajama Diaries. This is truly bittersweet. I’ve always loved writing and illustrating the strip. However, I’ve been fortunate to have other exciting and challenging projects thrown my way, and I just can’t do it all — trust me, I’ve tried.
The Kaplan family characters age just like we do, and now that the child characters are nearly grown and Jill and Rob are practically empty nesters, this seems an appropriate time as any to hang up my (digital) pen. The final strip will be published on January 4, 2020.
I want to extend my unwavering thanks to the folks at King Features Syndicate who have given PJD a home all these years and have continued to champion it. I’d also like to thank you, readers, who’ve made this job such a joy, as well as the newspaper editors (with fine taste) who have given it a home on their funny pages. Finally, I’d like to thank my friends and colleagues in the industry whom I’ve looked up to for so long.
ComicsKingdom.com will run The Pajama Diaries archives starting January 5, so you can see where it all began (in all its cringy glory!). You’ll also be able to read it in many online newspapers or link up to it from my personal website and PJD Facebook page.
Thank you so much for your support!
-Terri Libenson, December 10, 2019
Thought I’d share a fun peek into creating the art for Becoming Brianna, upcoming in the Emmie & Friends series. The process pretty much follows the same path as the first three books, except I kinda actually know what I’m doing now.
Each book is told in two different styles: graphic novel (like a comic book) and illustrated novel (lots of text with spot art). For the spot art, I create many rough illustrations in pencil on paper, and then I scan them in. Here’s an illustration I scanned for chapter 1:
Next, I redraw and color the image in Photoshop on my digital drawing tablet. A technique I often use is “tracing” over the rough image in order to create the new image. This is what the final illustration looks like:
I use the same technique for the graphic novel portion of the book. The only difference is I start with a page template so that I get the size right. Here’s what the template looks like:
Not much to look at, huh? But it really helps me. The pink part is my working area (note: this is reduced; it’s really about 5 inches by 8 inches). On the digital tablet, I can “layer” it under my drawing and remove it when I’m done. I’m then left with the artwork with the correct proportions..
Here’s what a rough scan of the graphic novel artwork looks like (from chapter 2), layered on top of the pink template. You can see I adjusted the opacity of the pink part so that it’s lighter and easier to see under the rough drawing.
Here’s the final black line art. I traced it over the rough art, not yet removing the pink template:
And here’s what it looks like, all colored and finished (pink layer removed):
And that’s it! Now multiply that by a billion times (okay, math isn’t my strong point), and I’ve got an entire book. In reality, it takes me about a month to do all the rough art and four months to do the final art.
Becoming Brianna comes out in May, 2020. You can pre-order here. Hope you enjoy it!