Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Thrill of Receiving the Caldecott Award for Children's Book Illustration

Illustrator Beth Krommes (right) gave participants at the Children's Literature Conference at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania a thrill when she held up the Randolph Caldecott Medal she received in 2009 for "The House in the Night" (right). The audience gasped when she passed the actual medal around so everyone in the audience could have the experience of holding the most prestigious award an illustrator of children's books can receive (left).

Krommes told about the excitement of getting a phone call to be sure to watch the broadcast of an awards announcement in which she would be named the Caldecott winner. As part of the ritual, each year the winner of the Caldecott (for illustration) and the Newbery (for writing) appear together on NBC's Today Show. Krommes appeared with legendary Neil Gaiman who had received the John Newbery Award for writing "The Graveyard Book".

Krommes told stories about having to quickly get her hair done and buy a new outfit before flying to New York City with her family to appear with Al Roker on the Today show and immediately receiving thousands of calls and emails from friends and well-wishers. Winning the Caldecott is one of the most exciting things that can happen to someone who loves children's book illustrating.

Click on the heading above to go to Beth Krommes' site and see her appearance on the Today Show.

Jerry Pinkney Found a Life at the Drawing Board

Jerry Pinkney (left) received the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for Illustration of Children's books for his wordless book "The Lion and the Mouse" (right). Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pinkney used to draw constantly in sketchbooks while tending a newstand as a boy. One day a man named John Liney saw Pinkney's sketchbook and invited him to visit his studio. Liney was the assistant to Carl Anderson, creator of the daily comic strip "Henry". This gave Pinkney a glimpse into the idea that one could make a living with a pencil.

Pinkney has drawn all day, every day for over 40 years. He usually works in pencil which he colors with watercolor and draws from photos he takes using models found with the help of his wife. He has illustrated over 100 children's books.

Jerry Pinkney spoke at the Children's Literature Conference held at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania April 16, 2011.

Click on the heading above to see more examples of Pinkney's work and get a glimpse of his new studio.

Industrial Designers Meet at Regional Conferences

The Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA), in addition to their national conference (being held September 14-17, 2011 in New Orleans) holds five regional Design Dialogue Conferences as well.

During the month of April IDSA has five regional dialogues with the design profession to talk, network and make new friends and clients. This year the dialogues were held in Providence, Austin, Cincinnati, St. Louis and San Jose.

The Midwest Conference was held in St Louis, Missouri, April 1-3, 2011.
The Northeast Conference (pictured) was held at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, April 8-9, 2011.
The Mideast Conference was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 8-10, 2011.
The Southern Conference was held in Austin, Texas, April 15-17, 2011.
The Western Conference is at San Jose University, San Jose, California, May 6-7, 2011.

Designers (left), students (right), educators and business leaders come together to learn and network at the IDSA Conferences. Five separate events are held that focus on topics of national design interest. The best of the best students provide a short series of presentations at the end of the conference to compete for the prestigious Student Merit Awards. Profesional designers take advantage of these events to get to know the students who will be tomorrow's design stars.

Click on the heading above to learn more at the IDSA website.

A Taxonomy of Industrial Design

At the Design4 Conference of the Northeast Region of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) held at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Dr. Mark Evans (left) presented a taxonomy of design that includes types of sketches, drawings, prototypes and models used in Industrial Design. Evans is from the Loughsborough Design School in England and the project was developed by researchers in the Design Practice Research Group. They developed the taxonomy to help designers communicate better with each other and with their clients.

Evans distributed copies of a small brochure (pictured) with definitions and examples of the many kinds of sketches used in Industrial Design, including idea sketch, study sketch, referential sketch, memory sketch, coded sketch, information sketch, sketch rendering, and prescriptive sketch. Sketches are done as part of concept design at the most visually creative stage to facilitate speed and spontaneity.

Examples of drawings include scenario, storyboard, layout rendering, presentation rendering, diagram, perspective drawing, general arrangement drawing, detail drawing and technical illustration. Drawings are part of design development and involve a process of selection and refinement to ensure that designs will meet project specifications.

Examples of models include sketch model, design development model, functional model, operational model, appearance model, assembly model, production model and service model. Models are part of embodiment design by selecting the most suitable designs to evaluate based on technical and commercial criteria.

Examples of prototypes include experimental prototype, alpha prototype, beta prototype, system prototype, final hardware prototype, off-tool component, appearance prototype and pre-production prototype. Prototypes are part of detail design that supports final testing before manufacturing and carries the design through the specification of details such as materials, dimensions and assembly.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the Loughsborough Design School.

Mr. Potato Head Goes on a Diet

Imagine the challenge of redesigning an iconic character that people have grown to love and identify with for decades (since 1952). The toy manufacturer Hasbro unveiled a new, noticeably thinner version of the iconic Mr. Potato Head at the 2011 International Toy Fair convention in New York City. The slimmer version, named the Active Adventures Mr. Potato Head, has a slimmer body and, for the first time, wears pants. Mrs. Potato Head was also redesigned. Both will be available in stores in Fall of 2011.

In addition to the slimmer body (head?), the new version of Mr. Potato Head has a more animated appearance (the arms) and more holes and slots for reconfiguring the features that allow more expressive variations (the mouth, for example, can be placed more to the left or right). Mrs. Potato Head looks like she has a smaller nose than Mr. Potato head but they are actually the same part. The optical illusion is created because Mrs. Potato Head's eyes are larger.

Wayne Marcus (right), Sr. Director of Playskool Preschool Design & Development for Hasbro, displayed the new versions (the Bake-over) of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head during his presentation at Design4 the Northeast Region Conference of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) held at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) April 8-9, 2011.

The challenge was to keep Mr. Potato Head from being a "couch potato" and give him a more active and adventurous life-style. This all had to be accomplished in a relatively fast turn-around, getting it just right while maintaining a high-level of secrecy and security.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).