Society of
Children's Book Writers
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Event Wrap-Up: August 23, 2014 John Shelley Gallery Visit and Dinner

John Shelley and Stone Giant: Gallery Visit and Dinner

Guest post by Naomi Kojima, Tokyo, Japan


The SCBWI Japan August event was a happy reunion and an inspiring gallery visit with SCBWI Japan’s long-time friend John Shelley, who now lives in the UK. John Shelley was back in Tokyo this summer for the opening of his show Stone Giant.


We visited Gallery Space Yui in Aoyama to view John’s illustrations from his latest picture book, Stone GiantMichelangelo's David and How He Came to Be by Jane Sutcliffe, illustrated by John Shelley (Charlesbridge/Random House, 2014). We spent a long time at the gallery, marveling at John’s fine illustrations of the story of Michelangelo and how he chiseled David out of a massive piece of marble.




We asked John many questions about creating the illustrations, his research for historical information, and art tips about what kind of paper John used, how he drew the light gray pen lines, and which paints he preferred.


The questions and conversation continued throughout dinner at Crayon House and late into the night. John shared his good news that several Japanese publishers had offered him Japanese rights to his next US picture book, Crinkle, Crackle, Crack! by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by John, due for publication through Holiday House in 2015.




John explained that he has had picture books published by Japanese publishers and picture books published by US publishers, but until Stone Giant, none had crossed borders as translations. The Japanese edition of Stone Giant (Ishi no kyojin) came out in 2013 from Komine Shoten, half a year before the US edition to meet the timing of a major exhibition of Michelangelo’s work held at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. John said it made him very happy that a Japanese translation of Crinkle, Crackle, Crack! is on its way.




Congratulations, John Shelley! SCBWI Japan looks forward to your next visit!


For details about the illustration process and challenges, visit John Shelley’s post about the book on his blog Shelley Scraps