Teaming up for a Cure

Today I'm going a bit off topic. Please bear with me; it's for a good cause. Most of the teams I've worked with were teams assembled in real life. But, through the wonders of technology, today I'm able to participate in a virtual team of bloggers working together to spread the word about an excellent program. Through November, bloggers throughout the kidlitosphere will be featuring some wonderful children's book illustrators as part of the Robert's Snow project. (Note to those of you wondering who the heck I am - this is a cross post. My original blog posts are here.)

Robert’s Snow was founded by children’s book illustrator Grace Lin and her late husband Robert as a fundraiser to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. For the next two months or so, bloggers throughout the kidlitosphere will be showcasing some of the artful snowflakes created by more than 200 children’s book illustrators. These one of a kind wooden snowflakes will be auctioned off, and the proceeds will go to furthering cancer research. You can see the 2007 snowflakes here. Really. Go take a look. I’ll wait.

Today, I have the incredible honor of featuring artist Alexandra Boiger and her fabulous snowflake, entitled "Hurry Up, Rose".

Born in Munich, Germany, Alexandra's first picture book was “While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat,” written by Amy Reichert (listen to the NPR interview, here). She is also the illustrator of “Roxie and the Hooligans,” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and the newly re-published Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald.

I had the chance to ask Ms. Boiger a few questions, which she graciously answered for me. Read on, and be sure to stick with us to the end, when you’ll find out how to win one of Alexandra's gorgeous art prints.

How do you accommodate publisher’s deadlines when you’re not feeling so creative? Or is that ever a problem for an artist?
Oh, it certainly is a problem at times. I have a six year old daughter. Since I became a parent I am always in a "time dilemma", but at the same time it taught me to be disciplined about the time I do have. In short, I sit down at my drawing desk no matter what. Sometimes, on a day I didn't feel creative things go slowly and not much valuable happens, sometimes I just needed to break the ice and all of a sudden I feel like riding a wave.

Do you work on a schedule, or paint and create as the mood strikes?
I would have to say both. I do work on a schedule, because I have to. But I also paint and create when the mood strikes and my life allows it.

What inspires you?
My daughter inspires me. Fellow artist friends inspire me. My idols (The most important one would be Lisbeth Zwerger) inspire me. A good story, an interesting fabric or light. Nature...people! I love to watch people. Oh, the weather inspires me. For example a misty day and a hot cup of tea are a wonderful beginning for a new piece.

Tell me about the images on your snowflake and the how/why of getting involved with this project.
The image on my snowflake is about Christmas from a child's perspective. The character "Rose" is the main character from my first picture book and especially dear to my heart. Lin Grace had sent me a email about the project and invited me to participate. I have to admit, I hadn't known about Robert’s Snow then. But everything about it immediately touched me. I am very happy to be a part of it.

Since my blog readers are primarily educators and those interested in boosting kids’ creativity, do you have a single suggestion for encouraging kids to get out there and be creative?
Give them the material, the space, the time to be creative. Open their eyes to art through nature, museums and books. Let them meet artists. And maybe most importantly... be their biggest fan!

Ms. Boiger has generously offered to send an art print of "Rotkaeppchen" (Little Red Riding Hood, above) to one of my blog visitors (sorry; USA only). Isn't it beautiful? If you'd like to own this print, simply visit the auction site and tell me the name of ONE of the snowflakes that will be auctioned off during Auction #2 OR post a link to the Robert's Snow auction site on your own blog. Leave your answer in the comments section or trackback to this blog before midnight on October 22, and I'll choose one commenter to receive this wonderful gift.

And, while I have your attention, take the time to visit the other blogs featuring some wonderful illustrators today.
Jules and Eisha from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast are organizing this virtual team effort; keep your eyes on their blog for further schedules.

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