Thursday, October 17, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Best of TLD, 2017-2018




Tada! Isn't it charming?

Next month I look forward to celebrating the publication of this jam-packed third volume. The largest and arguably the best yet, it includes a whopping 96 poems by 57 poets! But today I'd like to focus on my talented daughter, Miranda Barnes, who designed such a whimsical cover.


MIRANDA BARNES

Miranda Barnes is a 16-year-old artist who was born in Sydney, Australia, but lost her accent 10 years ago when she moved to Florida. She's a senior at PK Yonge Developmental Research School, where she has taken every single art class available. She also enjoys psychology and is currently working on a senior thesis based on color theory and how the perception of color might be linked to specific emotional responses.

Miranda has won awards at the Alachua County Teen Art Show for the past five years, but the accomplishment she's most proud of is her Girl Scout gold award. Her gold award project, "The True Face of Teenage Beauty," involved photographing her peers as a way to combat the misrepresentation of teens in media, while raising awareness about the problem so that she and her peers could have an easier time learning to love themselves. She credits Girl Scouts with helping her grow immensely, both as a leader and as a more confident and capable person in general. 

Besides art, Miranda loves cats (as you can see on her website) and dreams of one day having a big studio with picture windows—a cat or two perched at each one, tons of art supplies, paint splattered everywhere, and art all over the walls. She hopes one day to have a career as a children's book illustrator, a surface designer (illustrating clothing, wrapping paper, etc.), a graphic designer, or some combination of the three. She's very excited about doing the cover for The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2017-2018, her first publication as an illustrator!

Needless to say, I wouldn't trust the cover of our third TLD collection to just any 16-year-old artist, but I thought she was ready for a challenge like this one and hope that you'll agree. (She's sketched some delightful interior illustrations as well!) While I'm tempted to go on about how wonderful Miranda is in every other way (goodness knows I've mentioned and featured her on the blog a few times), perhaps you'd rather hear from her directly.


Welcome, Miranda!
Have you always known you wanted to be an artist?

Pretty much. I scribbled about as much as any other kid, but I also went to art camp every summer since I was seven, and I think that was what really kindled my passion.

First gallery show and self-portrait (age 7)

I didn't seriously consider being an artist until 9th grade, though. My first high school art class inspired me to start drawing outside of school and develop my own style. Fast forward to now and I'm taking my second AP art class and applying to art schools, so I think it's safe to say art is my life.

What turns you on, artistically speaking?

I enjoy experimenting with different media, but especially love working in watercolor, colored pencil, and Micron pens. My favorite things to draw are definitely animals and people, but don't ask me to pick between the two! I really enjoy trying to put meaning into everything I do. If it doesn't mean anything and it's just a realistic portrait or a nice landscape with no context behind it, I get bored quickly. That's why, although I like photography and I've done a lot of it, I think I'll always find more satisfaction in other forms of art. Creating a representation of something meaningful fulfills and interests me much more than if the goal is just to make a pretty picture.

What can you tell us about the cover of The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2017-2018?

"Earl Grey" by Miranda Barnes, © 2018
(Miranda’s mixed media portrait of ME,
mounted on tea bags and colored with tea.)
The cover art was originally part of a concentration (themed portfolio) I did for AP 2-D design last year. The overarching theme for that portfolio was to make 12 pieces, each functioning as a portrait of someone important in my life—"portrait" not in the sense of their face (although some did include the subject's face), more in the sense of capturing a part of their personality, their sort of aura or vibe, or what they mean to me.

The art on this cover was originally dedicated to my maternal grandmother. She loves teddy bears and antiques, and tends to collect things. While I was making the piece my grandparents were in the process of moving, so I painted a teddy bear pulling a wagon piled with things that remind me of my grandmother, to represent her taking all those sentimental items to a new home. 

As the cover of this year's TLD anthology, the art takes on new meaning. It represents whimsy through the natural setting, and through all those happy little things (or one might even say ditties) piled in the wagon. You'll notice there are several books as well as a pencil and a quill, and everything else in the wagon could be things that the teddy bear might be inspired to write a poem about.

Thank you to Renée LaTulippe for her help with fonts and formatting!

Do you have any other projects currently in the pipeline, or are there other specific project that you hope to pursue?

I'm now in my second year of AP art, so I'm working on a totally different concentration that I'm really excited about. The driving question is "What is the relationship between vulnerability and the role of women in society, and how can art represent and explore it?" I've finished three pieces so far. 

An animal character from Miranda's
sketchbook, © 2019 (click to enlarge)


As for the future, recently I've started experimenting with drawing people with animal features.  I'm having a lot of fun with it, and I'd absolutely love to turn these characters into a graphic novel—I feel like they deserve a home outside of my sketchbook! The only problem is I have absolutely no ideas for a plot and I don't have a terribly good history with following through on writing projects. So my dream right now would be to collaborate with an author to write a graphic novel. Even if it doesn't happen any time soon, I'd love to pursue a project like that in college.




Where can readers connect with you to see more of your work?

I have an Instagram account for my art (@wildflower.ss) where I post sketches and updates about my current projects. I also have a website for finished work (http://mbarnes03.wixsite.com/mirandabarnes), including my entire concentration for last year, the best of my sketchbook, and some graphic design pieces as well. Feel free to stop by and say hello!


Thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to be with us today, Miranda. (And I do know just how busy it is!) I'm so proud and pleased to have your work on the cover of The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2017-2018!


This was also a busy week on the padlet. LOTS of terrific ditties about things monsters might be afraid of found their way there, including poems by Kate O'Neil, Linda Mitchell, Donna JT Smith, Dianne Moritz, Pat Simmons, David McMullin, Michelle Kogan, Janie Lazo, Aimee Rocha, Kathleen Mazurowski, and Mindy Gars Dolandis. I'll try to share more daily ditties leading up to Halloween, but in the meantime, be sure to check out our monster menagerie so far.


You'll find this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Jama is showcasing Charles Ghigna's latest, a beautiful reflective book on the creative process called Dear Poet: Notes to a Young Writer, and complementing it with exquisite artwork by Charles' son, Chip. Grab a cup of tea and a macaron and enjoy this week's delicious poetry offerings.


30 comments:

  1. Wow! Talent certainly runs in this family....but more than simply talent. Miranda shows through her responses to Michelle's questions that she has what we poets also have--thoughts about how and why we write. This kid is well grounded and I'm looking forward to seeing more work from her as a teen and working artist. You go, Miranda! Thanks for the peek into a teen's process, Michelle. This is a special gift to us in addition to a superb new cover.

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  2. Yes, the cover is wonderfully charming! As is the artist. It's wonderful to get to know Miranda a little better through your interview. As a cat lover myself, I absolutely adore Earl Grey.

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  3. Congratulations, Michelle! And Miranda, you ARE an artist, and vulnerability is rich ground to explore... I am in love with Earl Grey.. how wonderful that you used tea to color it. Brilliant! I do hope more mother-daughter projects are in the works! xo

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  4. I looked and thought....Michelle Kogan maybe.... but no, Miranda Barnes! Love the whimsey, the color, all of it. Your daughter is so artistic. I always wished I was. Can't wait to see and hold this! Janet Clare F.

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    1. And just in case, it was a huge compliment to be mistaken for a professional, adult artist, just in case that comment might have come off wrong. I mean, it is so impressive. Congratulations, Miranda. I just love it. Janet Clare F.

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    2. No worries, Janet. Miranda is well-aware of Michelle's work, and trust me, she took it as a BIG compliment!

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  5. Congratulations on the new TLD volume, Michelle, and hooray for featuring Miranda’s fabulous art!! I still remember clearly the beautiful bird piece you showed me. I’m so proud of her! đŸ’—

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  6. Yay! The new cover! Can't wait to see the book :-) Miranda did a terrific job of creating visual interest and layers of meaning.
    I'm impressed by her website, too!

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  7. Thanks for sharing, Miranda. Your cover is excellent. I love the playful approach.

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  8. Wow, totally amazing Miranda. I love your art. It's so much fun and whimsical and the cover is perfect. I remember when you were little in Sydney and you drew me some pictures. Who knew what you would become even though even then your pictures were good! Super talented! xoxo

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  9. Mira, I am so honored to be the inspiration for your "Today's Little Ditty" cover artwork. Even when you showed me what you had done for the "Ditty" cover, I didn't realize I had been your inspiration. Thank you, Sweetheart, from the bottom of my heart for making me feel special instead of a bit odd. Love, Grammie

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  10. You chose a fine illustrator for the cover of this one, Michelle! Thanks to Miranda for telling us more about the cover--I love the whimsy of a teddy bear pulling her loaded wagon, and all the treasures stacked up high.

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  11. Gaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!! Earl Grey is brilliant. I am completely in love with it! And I am intrigued by your animal people. Brava, Miranda, on ALL your art projects and career ideas. I have a young artist in the house as well, and you've given me a couple of ideas for him to try. And of course your TLD cover is delightful!

    And brava to Mamma Michelle, editor and collector of poems extraordinaire. <3

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    1. Unknown???? It's me, your pal Renée!!!! :D :D

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    2. I knew immediately it was YOU. I got it on my email so it was the first comment than your follow-up!!! I want to come to Italy and just take a course with you for 2 weeks. I could provide some childcare and housekeeping, too. (Cooking....not so much.) LOL. You could probably make a fortune that way. Are you doing LLL anymore. I need you. Janet Clare F.

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    3. No worries, pal. Your "Gaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!" is unmistakable. I've given Blogger a stern talking to. ;)

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  12. Congrats on the third volume -- and of course I love the cover. Miranda is an artist after my own heart. Hooray for teddy bears :). So enjoyed learning more about her, and look forward to seeing her first published graphic novel or picture book.

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  13. Michelle & Miranda, I love the cover! How exciting for you two to be able to work together (and to interview your daughter!) I CAN'T wait to get my author copies. I look forward to seeing what she does next.

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  14. Congratulations on volume 3 and high praise to the cover artist! It will be a joy to hold the new TLD anthology in my hands. Best wishes to Miranda on all of her future endeavors in art.

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  15. What a fun, delightful, and mysterious cover so excited for both of you–and looking forward to it! Congrats Miranda! I enjoyed seeing more of your artwork and hearing about your interests and directions with your art. All the best to you as you travel on your art journey path. Many thanks Michelle! xo

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  16. Charming is a great word for the cover, Michelle! It's perfect! Miranda, you had me at Earl Grey! Thank you for letting us see a glimpse of your creative process . I especially like when you said, "Creating a representation of something meaningful fulfills and interests me much more than if the goal is just to make a pretty picture." It's the same for writers, at least this one! Congratulations to both of you!

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  17. Hooray for Miranda! So fun that your journey as an artist has forever been linked with our journeys as writers! Love it!

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  18. Lovely cover art and an even lovelier artist! Brava, Miranda!

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  19. That cover is just delightful! Michelle, thank you for introducing us to such a talented and thoughtful artist. I can't wait to see where she goes! I'm looking forward to the entire collectioin.

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  20. Thank you all so much for your kind comments! I feel all warm and fuzzy. :) So glad I get to share a book with your lovely poems!
    -Miranda

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  21. Miranda created an absolutely beautiful cover! Just gorgeous!

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  22. Thank you, Michelle, for selecting the purrfect cover!
    Thank you, Miranda! You truly live up to your beautiful name―"worthy of admiration". What lovely work you are doing! I love your WONDER-FULL whimsical design. Can't wait to hold the book in my hands. I feel doubly blessed to be included in this volume.

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  23. ooops!
    anonymously, Cory.

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  24. Miranda, your front cover of TLD is so interesting and filled with beautiful small details to notice and wonder about. You are on your own creativity path now so best wishes on a creative career.

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  25. The cover is wonderful, Michelle and Miranda. What a beautiful collaborative effort! I'm so excited to be a part of it all!!

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