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Art Critique with Mel

Earlier this year, I was privileged to have an art critique session with Mel Narish for my second Dojo Kun Character Book. This picture book for kids just came out in hardcover. It’s called “The Two True Karate Kids” and is about battling dishonesty. Anyway, here’s a peek at how my meeting with Mel went.

Mel is the logo contest winner for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Arizona Region (SCBWI). That means that they selected her design for their new logo. Here it is.

A Peek into our Art Critique

In our art critique meeting, we discussed SCBWI events, like the regional conference that had recently taken place, and upcoming opportunities. We talked about kids’ writing and illustrating generalities such as differences in genres. We also discussed our own experiences and expectations with the different youth book genres such as picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and science fiction.

Mel told me of plans for Inktober (a challenge for illustrators throughout the month of October). And we talked about NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month, a challenge for writers throughout the month of November). At some point in this discussion I said, “I’ve always been drawn to children’s picture books.”

Mel said, “Pun intended?” I love her sense of humor, which comes out in her art as you can see on her website here. In this art critique, as I did in our prior one for my first picture book, I took over a page of notes to consider regarding the art, cover, title, etc. I appreciate that Mel keeps a mind to the heart and intent of the story first, before her own personal preferences, when she gives feedback. And that she shares why she recommends a change.

selfie at out art critique meeting

Some people have a talent for sharing their knowledge and promoting creative endeavors. One such illustrator is Martin Wright; you can see a Youtube video of some of his illustration advice here. Mel Narish is another such talented and generous writer-illustrator. I am so glad that she took the time to share with me and help me develop these books.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger

Jenifer Tull-Gauger Kyoshi

Children's picture book author/illustrator. Traditional karate teacher and practitioner. Loves drawing and all kinds of art. Also into animals, plants and Mother Nature.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Suzie Olsen

    What great collaboration to see between you and Mel; thanks for sharing! You’re also very generous in out KidLit community, thanks Jennifer! And congrats again on the second book!

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