What planted the seed for Kali's Song?
Jeanette Winter: I saw a concert by the folksinger Buffy St. Marie, at which she played a mouth bow, and talked about how music was first made from a weapon, thousands of years ago. I found a cave drawing from France that depicted a man (perhaps a shaman), playing a mouth bow, surrounded on all sides by animals. The cave drawing was the seed for KALI'S SONG.
The text and illustrations work together beautifully to tell a story that will stay with readers for many years. What came first: the text or the illustrations?
Jeanette Winter: A rough picture, or 2 or 3, came first. I wanted to 'see' the setting of the story.
Then came a rough draft of the text. Then a small dummy of the book, all the while changing the text and pictures back and forth until they worked together.
I'm working on a book now where the text came first, but sometimes all the pictures are finished before I write the text. Each book is different.
Usually I use acrylic paint and pens on Arches paper. But some years ago I began collecting handmade paper, mostly from Mexico, for an unknown project sometime in the future. When I decided to write KALI'S SONG, I knew that this was the perfect story for my handmade paper. I felt the rough surface of the paper would be just right for a story about ancient times. Perhaps the surface of the cave walls made me think of this.
It is fascinating to take a peek inside an artist's space. If I were to visit your studio, what would I see?
I've had so many different studio spaces, that I'll make a list of all the places I've worked.
My first 'studio' was a very small corner in the kitchen. Then a spare bedroom, followed by a converted garage, and on to a larger bedroom. These were all in Texas.
Then in Maine, a studio I designed that looked out onto a meadow, where I regularly saw foxes and deer. And kept myself warm with a wood stove. I also made wood carvings in this studio.
After Maine, back to the Texas Hill Country, another house in the country, and a studio that was the entire 2nd floor of the house, with views all around of the beautiful hills.
Now I live in New York City, in a small apartment, and my 'studio' is part of the living room. I look out at the city from my drawing table, and on a clear day can even see the Empire State Building in the distance.
I've come full circle--starting in a small space, moving to ever larger spaces, and now back to a small space again.
And I've come to realize that the actual space isn't what's important. It's what I'm working on that matters.
*Note: The illustrations are linked to Schwartz & Wade's Flickr page.
* If you win Kali's Song, I will send you an email.
* You must be at least 13 to participate.