My Books

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

party animals finger puppets!

Just in time for the holidays, the party animals finger puppets I illustrated for Mudpuppy are now available here. I think they would would make great party favors. I had so much fun working on this project...I love the idea that the child's fingers become the animals' legs. Oscar, my real-life dog-friend, even made the cut! WOOF-WOOF! Can't you tell he's a big party animal?

Friday, November 4, 2011

fallin' in love....again

Every year it's the same. Summer winds down, and I get mopey about saying good-bye to warm weather. I hold on desperately to those last glorious, hot, sunny days. Bare feet. Freckled cheeks. Flowy skirts. Fresh-cut grass. Open windows. Cricket chirps. Firefly nights.

Then, whether I like it or not, fall settles in. And "Oh yeah!",  I remember how much I actually love fall and everything that comes with it. Cool, crisp skies. Low, golden sun. Earthy air. Crunchy hikes. Backyard bonfires. Distant drums of the high school band at half-time. Harvest time. Hay rides. Ohio apple-pickin'. Pumpkin patches. Halloweeeeen! Front-yard-maple red against patches of bright blue.

So today, as I do this time every year, I declare Fall as "my favorite and my best" (as Charlie and Lola would say). Always. Forever. That is, until I see the first snowflake...I'm fickle like that about my seasons.

Wishing all of you a leaf-crunchin', apple-munchin', fall-lovin' weekend.

Friday, October 7, 2011

best fan mail EVER

Earlier this week I was working on finishing up a manuscript to send off to my editor, which is always a bit scary for me since I'm less confident about my writing than I am with my art. Isn't it funny (and wonderful) how affirmations seem to come your way just when you need them to? Perfect, unexpected little surprises that you need in a BIG way are the definition (at least in the unofficial Betsy dictionary) of my favorite word: serendipity.

So, I thought I'd share three-year-old Adler's heartwarming "fan mail" to me. I got this letter via her mom and dad's email. Dictation begins:
I love you, Betsy Snyder.
I love Sweet Dreams Lullaby. I like all the pages.
I have the same quilt from my Bubbe like the rabbit's.

How do you feel?
What books do you like?

I live in Pepper Pike.
I live in northeast Ohio, too.

From Adler
So, how could I resist? I immediately wrote back:
Please tell Adler:

Thank you, Adler Indiana.
I LOVE that you love my book!
I also have a quilt, one that my mother made for me. The bunny in the book looks like my pet bunny Lu-Lu.

I feel happy that you wrote me a letter. And I feel hungry because it's time for dinner.
I like books about animals and nature and friends the best.

I live in an old house.
I live in northeast Ohio, too!

From your book buddy Betsy
Thank you, Adler. This was just the motivation and reminder I needed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

kindle surprise!

So, I got a fun surprise call from my friend Megan yesterday morning. She was all excited to tell me she saw my book Sweet Dreams Lullaby in the new Kindle Fire promo video on WHAT?!?!!!! WOO-HOO!!! I had no idea! Now that was fun news to get on a cold, rainy Saturday morning.

You can view the video here, or as an attachment below. Look for the book cover at 1:03 min. and 2 interior spreads at 1:15 min.

Monday, September 26, 2011

peaceable kingdom featured artist

Thanks to Peaceable Kingdom Press for choosing me as their current "featured artist". What a great group of creative peeps to work with!

Monday, September 12, 2011

tons of trucks! sneak peak

Just a little announcement to let you know my next illustrated book, Tons of Trucks, by Sue Fliess, comes out July 2012. It seems so far away, but I know it will be here before I know it. Book description reads:
Preschoolers meet many different, useful vehicles and the adorable animals who drive them in this playfully rhythmic tour of trucks. Presented in the same successful format of Matthew Van Fleet's Tails, bright colors, touchable textures, shiny metallic paper, and moving parts are a feast for little ones' eyes and fingers. Like the sweet animal characters who drive them, kids are sure to shout "We love all trucks!"
It's not available for pre-order just yet, but should be soon, via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Amazon, or your favorite bookstore. I had so much fun illustrating this interactive book and have definitely developed a new life-long appreciation for trucks!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SCBWI Discover Your Voice conference

I get a lot of inquiries about writing and illustrating for children and how to get into publishing. I always want to help talented artists and writers and put them in touch with the right resources—every big career opportunity that has come my way has been the result of someone taking the time to give me advice and connect me with the right people. While I always wish I could thoroughly answer all the questions I get, and I do my best to help, the truth is that sometimes I don't feel qualified to answer every publishing question because all I really know is my own experience (and I don't think it's typical). So many paths can lead to publishing—I found mine through my illustration career and a connection I made while working at American Greetings, which is a different approach than what a writer would need to take. Most of the time I still feel really new to publishing...I definitely don't have it figured out yet, but I am guessing that is probably how I will always feel.

This year I've been invited to be a faculty presenter at the annual northern Ohio SCBWI conference, called "Discover Your Voice". I'll be giving 2 presentations, one more focused on inspiration and building visual narrative skills, the other focused on designing the whole book package and creating an engaging book experience. I'm looking forward to being in the mix of so much talent, at a conference where there is a range of perspectives and something for everyone. I feel like I can help in my own way and that I don't have to be an expert on all-things-publishing.

I admit I have a love/hate relationship with public speaking. I love the way I can connect with people and give back and the boost it brings me after the fact, but I hate the anxiety that precedes it. The funny thing that comes along with getting a children's book published (which nobody prepared me for), is the requests for public appearances and the sudden need to also fill the role as child entertainer and public orator. I think a lot of artists and writers by nature seek isolation, or at least solitude, more than they seek the spotlight, so this was not (and still is not) a natural transition for me. But, I am really grateful for the opportunity to attend the conference, meet some new colleagues and share a little piece of me. And I am finding that as my presentations take shape, I am learning new things and inspiring myself—I hope I can do the same for others (though I still secretly feel like I should be the one in the audience, and I will be when I am not presenting).

If you're in the Cleveland area on September 23 and 24 and are interested in attending the conference, click here for all the info. And here are my two presentations:

1. Creating engaging and interactive book experiences for the youngest of audiences
TARGET LEVEL - Beginner to intermediate illustrators and writers. (Writers may find this helpful.)
CONTENT/TOPIC - Learn how to format your book idea, make the most of your book components, and think beyond paper and ink. A book is more than just pictures and words—it's the whole package!
Illustrator/Author Betsy Snyder will share her beginning-to-end process of creating novelty and picture
books with special features. Find out how to choose devices from your visual toolbox that best deliver the message of your book, including format, size, materials, mechanics, art style, layout, perspective, color palette, cover design, end papers, and more!

2. Nurturing the Visual Storyteller in YOU: an artist's perspective on staying inspired, turning ideas into opportunities and making the most of your creative journey
TARGET LEVEL - Beginner to intermediate illustrators and writers. (Writers may find this helpful.)
CONTENT/TOPIC - Illustrator/Author Betsy Snyder will take you behind the scenes of children's book art, sharing the inspiration and challenges behind her books HAIKU BABY and SWEET DREAMS LULLABY and offering additional examples of techniques artists can employ to create another level of narrative through pictures. Illustrators can gain insights on choosing the storytelling style that fits, growing a kid-friendly portfolio and sustaining a career in children's publishing. Betsy will also touch on how inventive self-promotion and social media ideas can woo clients, win the work you want, and even create new and unexpected book opportunities.

Friday, April 22, 2011

earth day award!


I have an exciting Earth Day announcement...Hoot Owl Hoot!, a cooperative board game I worked on for Peaceable Kingdom Press, has won a Dr. Toy Best Green Product award for 2011! The review shares, "Hoot Owl Hoot! is 100% Green. All materials - box and inside contents - are made with FSC papers and printed with soy-based inks. FSC means Forest Stewardship Council and that means ecologically responsible management of our world's forests. It's a game that is good for the planet and good for kids!" The cool thing is that the quality is so good that when I got my product samples, I didn't even realize the game was 100% green until I read about it on the box.

I was also impressed to read about how green the Peaceable Kingdom company is as a whole (but it doesn't surprise me because they are just nice people to work and I'm sure the earth thinks so too!). You can read more about the game and company's earth-friendly efforts here, and see some of the other products that share this year's award here.

Also, for every review of one of Peaceable Kingdom Press's cooperative board games, they will donate that game to a school/teacher. Email and tell them you wrote a review and provide the shipping details for the school. You can read about it on Peaceable Kingdom's facebook page.

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

storybook festival this saturday!

Looking for something fun to do with the kiddos this weekend? How about a roadtrip on Saturday to the annual Storybook Festival in Fremont, Ohio?

The Storybook Festival is a community project for all families with children ages 0-8. The day is full of hands-on activities, celebrity readings, a TV mascot, an author or illustrator, storytellers, and more. It is a free event sponsored by many agencies and businesses in the community. I will be the visiting author this year and will be doing a series of short presentations and book signings. 
I'd love to see you there!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

hoot owl hoot! and more

I am so excited to announce that "Hoot Owl Hoot!", a board game I worked on for Peaceable Kingdom Press, is now available! (Ages 4+). Click on product photo to find out how to purchase.

Here are some additional Peaceable Kingdom products with my artwork, also available now:

And these sticker kits (click here) are still available also.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

hedgehogs in love

Here's a Valentine's Day card I did for Papyrus, in stores now. The hedgehogs have glittery spines! And I love how Papyrus paired it with the decorative heart envelope. You can order it here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

on a happy note...

Such a sweet piece and message to be reminded of at the beginning of my day. Thank you Matteo Negrin for your inspiration. Just wanted to pass it on...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

for corey...

South 47, monotype, 2009

Just wanted to pause and share the work of Corey Parker, an incredibly gifted and prolific artist who lost his battle with cancer last week. Corey was a colleague of mine when I worked at American Greetings — his artwork, spirit and smile were, and will continue to be, an inspiration to so many. Please take a moment to appreciate Corey's talent and beautiful work. He will be missed.

Corey's blog
monoprint series at ilikey

(Thanks to Jamey for the links).