"BEANS! BEANS! BEANS!," we yelled back.
"I can't hear you. You guys are really far away. Let's try that again."
"CHUGA! CHUGA! CHUGA!," read Matthew Cordell.
"BEANS! BEANS! BEANS!," we SCREAMED back as Matthew read us the book that he and Philip Stead had worked on together, Special Delivery.
For the last few weeks, The Dragonflies and The Rainbows have been reading Matthew Cordell's amazing books and talking about his illustrations. We were so excited to get a chance to meet him via Skype.
Matthew showed us some of the tools that he uses to make his illustrations. We got to see his ink and bamboo pens, plus his watercolors. It was cool to see that he had a box of watercolors, kind of like ours, plus watercolors in a tube that he puts into a palette. It was neat to learn that not all of his pictures are in color, some are in black and white.
In the weeks leading up to the Skype, the children and I had seen pictures of Matthew's office. They became obsessed with it and couldn't believe how messy it was.
They were beside themselves when they got a tour of the office and got to see the mess "in person."
We had a bunch of questions about his messy office. Here is what he had to say about it.
We can't wait to see the book that he had just sent in the pictures of. He shared that he had been working on 5 books back to back which was why the office was even messier than usual. When we asked him how he got around the mess, we found out that there was a pathway through it all so they could get to the washing machine and dryer. He also promised us that he was going to start cleaning up that mess as soon as we were down Skyping.
We asked Matthew, "Besides your children, where do you get your ideas from?"
We also learned that he likes to read Frog and Toad to his children, as well as books by Maurice Sendak. The children loved this because they love those books too!
When we asked if we could get a sneak peek of his next book, we got to see his book Wolf in the Snow that will be coming out in January. We only got to see the beginning of it and can't wait to see how it ends.
After we said goodbye to Matthew, we decided to try to create some art like he does, using ink (Sharpie in our case) and watercolors. We decided to create our own stamps in honor of the book Special Delivery. Some of the children got ideas from Matthew's other books, like Hello! Hello! and Trouble Gum. Some decided to draw and paint what they were seeing around them and what they loved.
Here is a sampling of their finished product.
Thank you Matthew for a wonderful Skype sessions. It was great to meet you and hear all about your work.