Friday, December 26, 2014

Interview with Barbara McClintock: Leave Your Sleep


We were lucky enough to interview Barbara McClintock, illustrator of the lovely children's picture book Leave Your SleepWe reviewed this unique compilation of children's poems and music, and we're excited to learn a little bit more about the story. So, without further ado... take it away, Barbara! 

What was your experience like working on Leave Your Sleep with Natalie Merchant?

Our editor, Frances Foster, was in the standard editor role acting as traffic cop/coordinator on the project. Natalie, the art director Roberta Presseler and I worked very closely with Frances, and she relayed information between us. Natalie visited me in my studio as we were working on the project. Once the artwork was in, Natalie and I have been speaking together at events, and we just filmed a video in a public school in NYC together, working with elementary school children. Natalie, Frances, and I had a closely- overlapping vision of the book - it was an exhilarating project for all of us. 

 How long did it take you to illustrate Leave Your Sleep?
About a year and a half
Natalie Merchant & Barbara McClintock working on Leave Your Sleep

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Were there any specific illustrators who inspired you? 

I love the work of JJ Grandville, Gustav Dore, Thomas Rowlandson, and Randolf Caldecott. They are my constant mentors and guides. 

Which was your favorite poem to illustrate in Leave Your Sleep? 

THE EQUESTRIANNE was a lot of fun to work on - I had a horse when I was young, and take riding lessons at a nearby stable. I copied anatomical drawings of horses by George Stubbs (a 19th century painter who specialized in horses ), drew from plastic horse models as well as drawing live horses, and watched many, many YouTube videos of bareback circus riders. Next lifetime, I'd like to come back as a circus rider!  


If you could befriend a character from any book, who would you befriend? Why?

Ebenezer Bleezer, because I could get all the cool ice cream I wanted! 

Where do you like to draw? Do you listen to music while you are working?

I have a studio in my home where I do all my drawing. I listen to music, or the radio, or audible books, or even movies and HBO series on Netflix while I work. It's like having office mates as I'm working! 



If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

I've travelled a lot, and there are so many places I love. Paris is my favorite city, but I love London and New York and Hong Kong, too. Where I am right now in Windham, Ct is my ideal place to liveI find that having a comfortable, secure home base where I can work and have friends is perfect; as long as I'm near an airport, I can commute to anyplace I want to go. I'm very connected to other authors and illustrators around the world thru the internet, so I can be in France, Spain, China, and Italy while sipping my morning coffee in my circa 1815 brick house, looking out over the rose garden that my significant other, David Johnson, has planted and tends. 

Where can we purchase your books?

The UConn co-op bookstore, of course! Or, you can go to my website, barbaramcclintockbooks.com, go to the books link, and order from there.

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30 comments:

  1. Gosh, the illustrations are beautiful. And happy. :) Who can resist smiling when they see a man holding a sky-reaching ice cream like that? I seem to be able to recall reading about this book on the DMS. It's good learning more about Barbara!

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    1. Claudine- Barbara's illustrations are amazing. I can stare at them for hours! So glad you remembered hearing about her on our blog and that you enjoyed learning more about her today. :) ~F

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  2. Great illustrations indeed. haha can't go wrong with tons of ice cream

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    1. Pat- I agree that her illustrations are top notch! :) ~F

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    1. Elephant's Child- I couldn't agree more! :) ~F

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  4. How exciting, Barbara! You filmed a video together in the public schools for elementary school-aged kiddos. Love the influence! Thx for sharing yourself here with us.

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    1. SA Larsen- Isn't Barbara amazing? We love her! Thanks for stopping by. :) ~L and F

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  5. Beautiful illustrations. I sometimes write with the TV or music on, and I do feel less alone. I would love to visit some of those cities mentioned.

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    1. Medeia- Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I want to visit the cities Barbara mentioned too! :) ~F

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  6. You've been to Hong Kong? Wow! I'm not much of a traveller, since I don't like airplanes, but that must be an interesting place to visit!!

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    1. Lola- I would imagine Hong Kong is an interesting place to visit too! :) ~F

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  7. I really want to go to London some day.

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  8. Such beautiful illustrations! Lovely :)

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    1. Jemi- I love Barbara's illustrations too! :) ~F

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  9. I like different :D Cool elephant

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    1. Blodeuedd- I agree that she has a unique style! I love it! :) ~F

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  10. What a charming book and I love that you guys have been speaking together at events!

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    1. Stephanie- Barbara's books are so wonderful. We are so lucky to have met her and connected with her. She is such a kind and personable person. :) ~Stephanie and Jess

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  11. I'm so taken with those illustrations and that book cover. Such a talent to be able to capture the characters and mood from words and put them into pictures.

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    1. Lee- I am taken with her pictures too! Barbara really has a gift! :) ~F

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  12. Awesome cover! Paris is a great place. There's so much to see there, and I love the food!

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    1. Sherry- Paris is a dream of mine and I can only imagine how fabulous the food is! :) ~F

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  13. Gorgeous illustrations. I will definitely have to check this book out. Thanks for telling me about it.

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    1. Rosi- I am sure you will be as enchanted by Barbara's books as I am. Enjoy! :) ~F

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  14. Those illustrations are stunning! No wonder they took a year and a half to make. I'm wishing you a wonderful 2015!

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    1. Lexa- Aren't they! Beauty takes time. :)

      Happy 2015 to you too! We hope it is a magical year for you! ~Stephanie and Jess

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  15. It takes so long to illustrate a children's book but it was really worth it with Leave Your Sleep it looks like. I did not know Randolf Caldecott was an illustrator or who the medal was named after. You learn new things everyday!

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    1. Adriana- I agree that the time put into the illustrations is time well spent! Glad you got to learn something new here today. :) ~F

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