Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Best of TLD, 2016




Tada! Isn't it adorable? 

Next month I look forward to celebrating the publication of our latest group effort, which includes 75 poems by 50 DMC poets. But today I'd like to focus on Teresa Robeson, who designed such a delightful cover.

TERESA ROBESON

Teresa Robeson is an author/illustrator who considers herself an author first—she has been writing professionally since 1991. Her poems, stories, and essays have appeared in magazines like Babybug, Ladybug, and Outdoor Indiana, and her speculative fiction appears in the Minnows Literary Group anthologies, where 100% of profits are donated to Doctors Without Borders. Teresa credits her "total nerd/geek-girl status" (her love of science fiction, science, and modern fantasy) to viewing the first lunar landing as a young child and being raised on a healthy dose of Star Trek. She credits her life-long love of children's literature to having never really grown up. Earlier this year, Teresa was competitively selected for a We Need Diverse Books mentorship with none other than Jane Yolen, so no matter where her interests take her, we can expect great things to come!

Born in Hong Kong, raised in Vancouver, and currently living on a Midwest homestead, Teresa has led an interesting life enriched by assorted hobbies and artistic pursuits. You can catch glimpses of these talents by visiting her two blogs: One Good Thing (where she posts her daily doodles) and Growing, Writing, Creating (where she posts about creative endeavors on the homestead). 

I'm not sure whether I was first introduced to Teresa's art or her writing, but I suspect it was probably her art that I first fell in love with on Facebook. I do recall what a pleasant surprise it was to receive her DMC poem, "The AfterMATH," two years ago. That poem now appears in The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2014-2015. Her poem "Elevation" was featured on the blog in May 2017, and you'll find "Win-Win" included in The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2016.

I've invited Teresa to answer a few questions so you, too, can get to know this warmhearted, talented, and hardworking artist and writer.


Welcome, Teresa!

Artistic wannabes like myself tend to think that artists are born with a paintbrush in their hand (or at least a crayon). But surprisingly, you came to illustration much later. How did you come to recognize and nurture your drawing talents?

Art was never something I was interested in as a kid. I have a vivid memory of being in kindergarten feeling annoyed at being forced to paint something. I thought the easel with a blank piece of paper attached to it was rather lovely and didn’t need me to mar its zen-ness.

The first time I began to realize I might have some talent was when I took an art class in 11th grade. It was there that I discovered how much I love doing portraits. For several years I combined that love with my then-hockey obsession. I drew portraits of the players from the Vancouver Canucks and got them to autograph them. That was fun!  

Signed portrait of Rick Lanz  © T. Robeson
But because I was interested in science, I didn’t do much with art except dabble in it.

The second time I realized I did have talent was when I took an art class for non-art majors at the University of Delaware where hubby was working on his Ph.D. The instructor, Bill Mammarella, was knowledgeable, engaging, and kind to all of us noobs, offering us a lot of constructive comments to help us learn and enjoy the process. He never singled me out for praise in class, but one day I was the last to leave class and a bunch of art majors had come in to hang out with him. He gestured to me as I said goodbye and told them that they should be thankful I wasn’t an art major because I’d blow them all away.


An assignment from Teresa Robeson's Drawing for Non-Art Majors class.


That was the single most encouraging thing I had ever heard about my art. Sure, friends had complimented my work, but that’s what friends do because they love you. To have a professional, who is not a friend or family and who knows his stuff, assess my work so highly actually has significant qualitative merit. LOL!

As for nurturing, I don’t know that I’ve done enough for myself. I probably should have signed up to do a fine arts degree immediately after that compliment, but instead I went the autodidact route, taking classes here and there, now and then, to continue learning.


What turns you on, artistically speaking?

Find more portraits by T. Robeson here.
As I mentioned above, I am completely drawn to (no pun intended) portraits because of a fascination with the human face. Funny enough, I almost never see faces in my dreams. 

One year, in lieu of taking a life drawing class, I sketched Jeopardy contestants while we watched the show. Since my family watches it with me, we don’t pause the show for me to draw, so they had to be done quickly. It was an exercise that trained me to observe critically, noting the feature(s) that define a person’s face and makes her/him unique. Giuseppe Castellano, the art director at Penguin who I took a couple of workshops with, thought it was a brilliant idea.


My favorite media are chalk pastels (I love the buttery Schminckes and Unisons), charcoal, ink, and watercolors. Oh, and of course graphite though I mostly use that for rough sketches these days.

I have a great love for yarn and want to start creating art with fibers one day, too.


While your art encompasses a variety of styles (traditional landscapes, portraiture, digital creations, Chinese painting, and more), I'm probably most smitten with your whimsical animal illustrations and sketches.

"Insult and Injury" © Teresa Robeson

They have so much personality—each one with its own little story to tell. What can you tell us about the penguin poet and sea lion on the cover of The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2016?

There are certain animals that I enjoy drawing more than others, penguins being among them, so I really wanted to include one on the cover. Also, it is a nod to my picture book critique group, the Penguin Posse.

The Best of TLD 2016 (back cover)  © Teresa Robeson

I loved one of your suggestions of having something interact with the TLD logo, and thought about animals that could go with the penguin and work with the logo. I’d recently drawn a sea lion in one of those little ink drawings I do for @drawonapostit on Twitter and so it was still fresh on my mind.

I brainstormed a scene involving the two and came up with the cover idea, which was to have the penguin start drawing the seal but then think, “To heck with drawing; I’m a poet!” and scribble an ode to the model instead. I found it amusing and hope you and your readers will, too.

You bet I do! And I love the extra appearances of this little penguin inside the anthology, too! 


Can you share anything that's currently in the works—in terms of writing, illustrating, or both?

Well, it's no longer "in the works," but my recent exciting news is that I signed with an agent, the marvelous Natascha Morris of BookEnds Literary Agency! I also have a manuscript being considered by an editor and I’m writing/revising a young adult novel, the synopsis of which won this spring’s NESCBWI Pitchapalooza.


Tell us where we can see more of your work.

My work can be found at teresarobeson.com (including a page devoted to some of the Jeopardy contestant sketches I drew). I also post nearly-daily drawings at my blog - http://teresarobeson.wordpress.com - and on Instagram - http://www.instagram.com/tmrobeson. I have a Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/teresarobeson and an author page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TeresaRobesonAuthor.

Thank you so much, Michelle, for being a fan of my art and asking me to do the cover for this collection of Today’s Little Ditty poems. I’m thrilled to have both a poem and my artwork in this book!

Thank YOU, Teresa! It's an honor to have your art on the cover of The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2016.


Carrie Clickard's DMC challenge this month is to write a poem about a person, place, or thing that spooked you as a child. This week's daily ditties included poems by Linda Mitchell, Bridget Magee, Rebecca Herzog, and Doraine Bennett. Find more today at the blogs of Elizabeth Steinglass and Linda Mitchell. Post your poem on our October 2017 padlet, then come back next week for our spooky, end-of-month celebration!





Leigh Anne Eck is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at A Day in the Life.



75 comments:

  1. The cover looks great! I love that the seal is playing with the logo.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! Michelle inspired me on that one. :)

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  2. What a charming cover Teresa, I love the dignified look of the seal and the twist the penguin takes–"ode to sea lion," perfect! Thanks for sharing your journey with art, and congrats on your representation and forthcoming books.

    Thanks for sharing Teresa with us Michelle, the cover is delightful, I can't wait to have a copy or two!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. One never forgets her first cover love either!

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    2. Michelle, thank *you* for the kind compliment (you really got it) and for answering all my questions about format! You left me giant footsteps to follow! :D

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  3. The cover is darling. I enjoyed learning more about Teresa and her art.

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  4. I love the cover. What fun. Thank you, Teresa. I can't wait to have the book.

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  5. Cute cover - and that little glimpse of penguin on the back cover is pure adorbs. Great job, Teresa and Michelle.

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    1. Thanks bunches, Katswhiskers! That's my fav part, too. ;)

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  6. Aww... that little writing penguin is adorable! And always fascinating to hear an artist's thoughts and process... thanks to both, and congratulations, Michelle, on this newest volume! xo

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    1. Thanks so much for reading about me, Irene! I'm flattered Michelle entrusted me with the art for her second anthology. :)

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  7. Love it!
    Congrats on all the good news, Teresa.

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    1. Thank you very much, Tabatha! I'm still on a high. :D

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  8. Great art throughout. The cover is darling. Best of luck to Teresa on her art/writing journey. And congrats on getting an agent! I hope more good news is coming for you.

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    1. I really appreciate your good thoughts, Benda! And thank you for the compliments!

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  9. Wow!
    A Seal and a Seal-watcher!
    And a wee penguin, too!

    Appreciations for this beautiful visit with a very talented artist.
    I think you make a great team. And it will be such fun for this new anthology
    to make a splash.

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    1. Your comment made me giggle, Jan! Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

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  10. Michelle, what a wonderful surprise to wake up to this notification! I am so grateful to you for entrusting me with illustrating your wonderful anthology and for your friendship. XOX

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    1. To steal Carrie's line on FB, thank YOU for putting your "seal" of approval on this collection, Teresa! I love everything about this cover! And I love your whimsical sense of humor that so often comes through in both your art and your poetry. You've got such a bright future ahead of you... as a friend and colleague, I look forward to watching it unfold. :) xo

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    2. I really could not reach that bright future without amazing friends like you who help me along the way! Big hugs!

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  11. The cover is simply stunning! Wow! Nicely done!

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    1. I'm so glad you like it, Angie; thank you!

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  12. I can't wait to see the book up close and to search for the little guys inside! Thanks Michelle and Teresa.

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  13. What a wonderful watercolor of a seal to bring Michelle's book and all our words to life fell honored to be apart of this amazing group of writers and artist feathered in this beautiful book thank you for your beautiful art work

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    1. Jessica, I am so glad you're in the volume! :)

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  14. Lovely cover! And thank you for introducing such an interesting artist and poet to me. I can't wait to read it!

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  15. Michelle-great interview! And Teresa--can't wait to see your illustration in person!

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  16. What a cute cover and what an adorable little penguin!

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  17. I love the cover, and I'm inspired by Teresa's accomplishments! The "Jeopardy" sketches sound so fun -- I'm looking forward to checking them out.

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    1. Hi Jesse (thanks for following me on Twitter)! I hope you like the Jeopardy sketches. I had such fun doing them!

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  18. Terrific cover and idea to have that penguin choose what it loves best-poetry! Thanks Michelle for sharing more about Teresa, and thank you, Teresa, for your whimsical art!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Linda! :)

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  19. Teresa is as kind as she is talented! Love this post!

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  20. Teresa, I love the cover and look forward to seeing the penguins inside the book. I can't wait for your YA to get published! Your reading at the Pitchapalooza was so amazing. :-)

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    1. You're making me blush, Maria! :D Thank you, dear friend!

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  21. Wonderful cover--I love your ode-writing penguin. Nice to learn more about you, Teresa!

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    1. Thanks so much, Buffy! I'm glad you like the cover!

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  22. There's just something about penguins, isn't there? What an adorable cover. Enjoyed seeing more of Teresa's work and learning about her background. Thanks, both of you!

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    1. See, you get it about penguins, Jama...LOL! And, thank you!

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  23. T is for Teresa
    T is for talent
    T is for TERRIFIC!
    U R amazing. Love this interview!

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    1. Cathy, you are so funny! I hope we can hang out for a longer time next time we meet. x

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  24. Many congratulations on another collection, Michelle! This is a charming and whimsical cover, and such a wonderful sneak peek. Teresa has such a varied range in her art too! I love learning from creative people. You are so generous... xx

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    1. Thank you, Amy! Michelle really is the most generous person!

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  25. It's a beautiful cover! Very peaceful...and FUN! Kudos to Michele, Teresa, and all the poets for another issue of Today's Little Ditty.

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    1. Thank you, Carol! <3 I'm so glad you like it!

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  26. Great cover! I look forward to seeing the new anthology!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! I can't wait to read the anthology, too.

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  27. I love the cover...and really look forward to seeing the new book. Teresa is new to me. I must check out her blog. I've been itching to get my hands into a certain kind of visual art as well. I didn't know that could become a thing as a grown up. But, I might as well give in to it. The pull just won't go away. Details to follow. Thanks for the inspiration Michelle AND Teresa. I'm off to check out her blogs.

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    1. Thank you, Linda! I hope you'll find the visual arts form that makes you the most happy. :)

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  28. Love the cover, and also hearing Teresa's journey as an artist! Never say "never," right?!?!

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    1. You're absolutely right, Mary! And, thank you!

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  29. Perfect cover, perfect choice of artist Michelle. A magical "balance" of writing/illustrating from a person I've admired so much. Thanks for you art here and in our writing community Teresa. Can't wait to get my hands on this anthology.

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    1. You are so very kind, Damon; thank you! I'm so glad to be a part of the same writing community with you!

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  30. I'm so excited about this new cover. What whimsy and talent! Teresa is a marvel with her variety of styles and choices in making art. What a gift to have her illustrate our book!

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    1. Goodness, I'm blushing, Margaret! :D Thank you for your high praise!

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  31. Love, love, love this cover and getting to know Teresa! And yay for penguins! Waddle-waddle... =)

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    1. Hooray...another penguin fan! Thank you, Bridget! I'm so glad you like the cover so much. :)

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  32. I love the cover art. It's so cute. I really, really love Teresa's lighthouse picture. Wow! It's terrific! Thanks for this post.

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    1. Aww, thanks, Rosi! Would you believe I have the lighthouse painting tucked away somewhere in a dusty corner my art room? :D

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  33. Oh how I love this cover, and I also love getting a sneak peek into an artist's creative process and learning about their creative journey, it's so inspiring!

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    1. Thank you, Jane! I love reading about how other artists work, too, and I'm glad you enjoyed my account. :)

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  34. The multi-talented Teresa strikes again. This is your year, m'lady. Feel th tape snap as you cross that finish line again.

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    1. Jane, this *has* been an amazing year, and it all started with you choosing me to mentor!! I truly believe you have the magic touch that started the snowballing of wonderful events in my life. XOXO

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  35. Teresa's cover is so sweet, and I enjoyed learning about her journey to becoming an artist. Looking forward to seeing the finished book! Thank you, Michelle, for all you do for this community!

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    1. Thank you, Catherine! And I second your thanks to Michelle!

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  36. I love this cover. Just wonderful, Teresa.

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    1. Thanks, David! I'm so glad you like it. :)

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  37. Teresa & Michelle - I am floating like a flutter-by to be included in this wonderful book. You are both so nourishing. Here is the URL where I took some with it in a found poem...
    Bookseedstudio 20 June 2018
    https://bookseedstudio.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/poetry-found-poem-todays-little-ditty-twist/

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