Saturday, January 22, 2011

Round 2

Over the last week, I've begun plotting out the remainder of the saga of Gesso. The Book 2 chapter summaries are done and all that is left is to iron out the second half, maybe even move around some chapters.  One thing still lingers on my mind as I read over my chapter summaries: Should I combine both halves of part 2 into one book, making it a total of 24 chapters? Or should I stick to the original plan of making them separate books? Both seem like reasonable solutions. Originally with part 2 I wanted to keep them as separate entities just because so much happens during each half, I didn't want the reader to have a severe information overload. If I were to combine both parts the title would need to be changed. But if I keep them separated, I wouldn't need to change the titles.

Since the books will be sold primarily online, it would be fun to organize book signings at AC Moore Arts & Crafts...more on that later....vjb

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Origins

For the last 15 years, I've written stories about my cartoon characters.  I wanted to create a Young Adult series of books which there was educational content associated with it. Originally, I had thought of doing something with a diverse group of super heroes but didn't know what would make them differetn from every other super heroe group seen in comic books and television. When I first concieved the Gesso Squad series I was still in graduate school, hunched over a computer screen while typing up a art lesson plan.  When the lightbulb appeared above my head in the library, my characters danced around inside my head in a parade of colors.

The name of the group Gesso Squad sort of arrived in the same manner as the concept for the series, this time, it didn't happen in a library. My sketchbook sat in my lap as I drew the original five characters.  As I wrote out possible group names, I went through a list of 26. I read the list again and read each name while looking at my characters. I ended up doing this twice until I landed on #16 which was Gesso Squad. It seemed to fit their individual personalities and retained an element of art terminology which I felt was vital to the series.

At the time I began writing out lesson plans for each chapter I decided early on to research artists & scientists whom I had no previous knowledge of.  This ruled out what I cosidered to be artists most people already know about: Jacob Lawrence, Michaelangelo, Leonardo DaVinci, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera.  I do take time to mention Paul Gaugin, the post impressionist painter, in Chapter 11. 

As part of my own teaching philosopy, I feel it is important to mention the artists mentioned above, but to also include all the others from various regions of the world.  In addition to teaching interdisciplinary subjects in a fun way which the students can relate to the work being presented. If they are able to make a connection to the work in anyway, they, I believe retain the information much longer.  Gesso Squad & The Stone of the Sun is the first in three books which discuss various artists, scientists and cultures from around the world.

The first chapter is available to read here: http://www.gessosquad.com  The rest of the book will be out in February 2011.