Thursday, February 14, 2013

Light in the Darkness

I’m a Luddite.  Well,  maybe not  in the true sense of the word.  Compared to many of the younger illustrators and writers, I don’t rush to use the “best “new social media.  In fact, I was probably one of the last to create a website.   I’m always apologizing for responding late to e-mails and if you are waiting for me to post something on Facebook, well, you should buy that lottery ticket because it is your lucky day. With all that being said I’m now blogging , now that everyone else is instagramming and tweeting.

Don’t worry my dear art loving friends, I’m not considering blogging daily.  There are just too many projects looming in the studio. In this world of instant and quick communication, I’m taking the horse and buggy approach and will only post four to six blogs per year.   My goal is to share the most important events that are happening in the studio, like the release of a new book.

And I just happen to have a new book entitled  Light in the Darkness written by my wife Lesa Cline Ransome and published by Disney’s Jump At The Sun Books. The idea for this book came while Lesa was working on our last book Words Set me Free, the story of young Frederick Douglass and how he learned to read. While doing research for Frederick, Lesa came across information about slaves sneaking out in the middle of the night to learn how to read and write in holes dug in the ground called pit schools. The discovery of the levels and risk people would take to learn for what we often take for granted is amazing and often beyond understanding. It’s a real testimony to mankind’s eagerness  to obtain knowledge.  Unfortunately, many of our children today don’t have this same thirst for learning and find pleasure in playing videos games and watching television. But this book isn’t only for reluctant learners. It’s also a book for young people who work hard for their education and enjoy reading stories of others who also saw the value of education.

For those of you who would like to look over my shoulder and watch me paint, you can view my Youtube video, James Ransome working in watercolor   You’ll see me painting the cover of Light in the Darkness.  It took place over a three day work period. I didn’t realize I should  have  changed my shirt until the third day of filming. I did all the filming by placing a camera on a tripod. My wonderful daughter who is studying filmmaking edited video after a few months of begging.

Also on Youtube you can watch a visit with Caldecott award winner Chris Raschka. I took my class to visit him in his studio in New York City.

After you have watched my Youtube video a couple of hundred times, you may want to read a review of Light In The Darkness.  Just last week The New York Times listed it as one of the three most impressive picture books released for Black history month. The link is below

Light In the Darkness is my Superbowl. And just like football season, my first post is done and it is now  time to prepare for the next book and posting . There will be a draft in the spring and I hope you will be awaiting my next post pick that I’ll be sharing.   

Till next season, 

James Ransome