Yahooooo! It’s Wink Time

I’m a crafter and not an artist.  But if I were an artist, I’d want to be my friend Julie.  The depth and breadth of her talent astounds me; I love her style, and well ~ she’s just plain funny and cool.  Did I mention I want to be her?

                      And wait!  She’s written and illustrated TWO children’s books?                     {See, I told you she was cool!}

Last year, she published Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed.  It’s a about a boy named Wink who attends ninja school, but really wants to be noticed when ninjas are supposed to be stealthy!  He finds the perfect place for himself by the end of the book, which made The Cuties extremely happy, but the illustrations are the incredible part of the book.  Julie is a collage artist {OK, she also paints, and sews and does a million other things, but for the purposes of THIS piece of glowing adoration, let’s focus on her collages, m’kay?}.  She layers beautiful papers to create incredible scenes with wonderful hidden gems we like to look for while reading.

But joy of joys, Julie wrote a sequel to Wink and it just came out! {I’d show you my happy dance, but it’s not that cute}  Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Nap, is all about Wink’s celebrity and how hard it is to find a little time to himself to rest and get away from his adoring fans.  The illustrations are just as beautiful in this book.

Yesterday I got to go to school with The Cuties and hear Julie read her book and then do a Wink craft project with the students.

What I loved about Julie’s presentation was how interactive she was with the kids.  She asked them tons of questions and she taught them all about the process of writing and illustrating books from story writing to sketches to editing to meeting with publishers.  She was both realistic and encouraging, and tossed in all sorts of funny tidbits about her life as an author ~

{she does, by the way, and they’re orange!}

She taught the kids about storyboards and explained how books are produced in specific number of pages and how she has to edit her stories to fit those parameters.

She showed them her original pencil sketches and then her finished collages and pointed out subtle changes she made and why she made those decisions.

She showed them photos of all the different kinds of tools she uses to cut her collages and then a bunch of different parts to her collages and let the students guess which tools she used for each item – they did pretty well!

After Julie’s presentation, we went to the school library to work on projects.  Check out this terrific Wink display that greeted us! {I love the copy of Wink in Japanese and the Grandmother & Wink dolls Julie made}

The project Julie designed for the children was very clever.  She taught them each how to make a sleeping Wink, complete with decorative paper bedspread.  They each then made a “dream bubble” for over Wink’s head and drew detailed drawings of what they thought Wink was dreaming during his nap.  It was pretty funny to hear their ideas!  Here’s Julie explaining to the students ~

And here are some of their cute dreams in the works ~

{I have to confess I was drawn to the boys and their work and listening to their ideas about ninjas fighting and killer soccer balls.  It’s so different from The Cuties and their worlds of princess, pop stars and fashion ideas.  I loved it!}

You can check out Julie’s blog and see more of her projects.  FIRST, though you need to run to your nearest book store and pick up a copy of Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Nap.  It would be perfect for an Easter basket or Afikoman finding prize!

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