Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mr. Pig Visits . . . Jackie Clark Mancuso! *Plus a Giveaway!

Bon jour, mes amis! Oui, oui! 'Tis me! Monsieur Cochon! Visiting the seaside studio of Jackie Clark Mancuso—author and illustrator of the new picture book Hudson in Provence, and Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Expat Dog—both of which were inspired by her time living abroad in France. 

Jackie's illustrations, painted in glorious, inviting gouache, will make you long for the cafés of Paris; or to hop a train to the South of France, to stroll the lavender fields and beaches of Provence. (They will also quite possibly make you want to own a small, adorable dog and go on many adventures.)

At their heart, Jackie's books are about navigating new experiences, and making friends—something all children (and pigs) can relate to.

I am so excited to meet the artist and writer behind this one-of-a-kind series!

Ah, here were are.

<<knock, knock>>

Hello, Mr. Pig, please come in.

What a beautiful studio! And I see lots of sketches and paintings of France, of course.

 

I love Paris. I love Provence. Actually, I love all of France! Painting these places is a way to reconnect with them when I’m not there, and also to allow other people to experience them. For me painting is an act of love. I get started and before I know it hours have gone by. Hudson is my alter ego. 

I paint and write as much for adults as for children. I’ve been happy to hear from parents that they sometimes enjoy the book as much as their children. That makes me really happy because that’s what I hope to accomplish. 



When we moved into this house there was a perfect spot with a full skylight for my art studio. In summer it's too bright and I need to shield my monitor, but it's ideal for painting. French doors open to a small walled patio. I like to listen to podcast stories like This American Life, Reply All, and Here's the Thing while I'm painting. I think doing so keeps the judging part of my brain busy and gives free rein to the creative part. 


I have two long desktops on Ikea alex drawers that hold sketchbooks, reference photos, artwork in various stages of progress, finished paintings, paints, trays, pencils and pens. There are two large corkboards for inspiration and layouts in progress. There's a comfy chair for sketching, reading, and doing online research. 


If I feel stuck with my work I put on my sneakers and go for a walk up the hill or down to the beach. It puts a fresh perspective on things; there's a phrase for it in French: pour changer des idées. Or I'll grab a book, a cup of tea or a snack and take a break on the old sofa on the terrace that looks out to the Pacific Ocean. It's also good place to sketch.




Hudson is a real dog. He lives with my friend Ariane. I am his Auntie. He likes to come over and sometimes even sleeps over. He is the friendliest and sweetest dog I've ever known.


 In his new book, Hudson takes the TGV from Paris to Provence for summer vacation.



He and his mom stay in a stone house similar to the one my friends and I rented in Beaumes de Venise.


Hudson meets lots of dogs in Provence. Some of them have jobs. Gaston herds sheep.

Philippe is a truffle hunter. Hudson tries what they do but ultimately discovers his unique talent as a painter and paints his new friends' portraits. 



He even paints a pig named Mimi. (The French word mimi is short for mignon, and means cute.)
Bon jour, Mimi! You are exquisite.

Isn't she just?

Oui.

Someday I would like to adopt a dog. Maybe a standard poodle like Sophie, who was inspired by a slightly smaller poodle I shared my lamb chops with at the Café de la Place next to the boules court in St. Paul de Vence. In the book, Hudson meets Sophie while painting in the boules court.



Phew! I'm glad you said lamb chops. Anyway, carry on.

This beach in Antibes was the inspiration for the beach where Hudson chases seagulls.


The boat Hudson is captaining on the cover is named after the river barge in Jean Vigo's beautiful film, "L'atalante" (1934).


Fenocchio's in Nice provided inspiration for the ice cream cone chair where Hudson has his afternoon goûter.


You can see from these examples how my actual experiences—places I've been and people and dogs I've met—inspire my work.


What am I up to now? I've been busy launching Hudson in Provence into the world and hope that people will enjoy it as much as the first book. While doing this, I've missed doing my creative work, so this week I've been painting up a storm. I'm playing with several ideas for my next project. 

Watch the Book Trailer here! https://vimeo.com/120236763



* ENTER THE HUDSON GIVEAWAY! Jackie has generously offered to give away a signed copy of HUDSON IN PROVENCE or PARIS-CHIEN to TWO lucky winners! To enter win, please add a comment below.


HUDSON IN PROVENCE
A PARIS-CHIEN ADVENTURE
by Jackie Clark Mancuso
(La Librairie Parisienne, May 2015)

Hudson, the lovable pooch who first appeared in Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-pat Dog, is back and thirsting for new adventures--this time in the glorious south of France.

Escaping the sweltering August heat of Paris, he is enchanted by the beauty of Provence and eager to become a provençal dog. But this city dog discovers he's flat-footed when it comes to herding sheep, has no snout for sniffing out truffles, and can barely pedal his bike when he gets into the Tour de France. It's only when he stops imitating the other dogs and follows his heart that he discovers his own unique talent. 

Children, Francophiles, and dog-lovers alike will fall in love all over again with the four-legged American ex-pat as he sniffs, barks, and digs his way through Provence. 


PARIS-CHIEN
ADVENTURES OF AN EX-PAT DOG
by Jackie Clark Mancuso
(La Librairie Parisienne, 2013)

"A charming and engaging tale of a Norwich Terrier's year in Paris...from homesickness to French lessons to the struggle to make Parisian friends...carries a message for children about how to cope with change in their lives." —ParisVoice.com

“Hudson, a plucky terrier, can’t wait to meet some French dogs while spending a year in Paris. When he finally finds a dog park, an obstacle arises: The dogs only speak French . . . Hudson eventually absorbs the language, thanks to lessons from—who else?—a French poodle . . . The story showcases Mancuso's playful gouache paintings of Paris and its human and canine denizens, and she gives Hudson a bold, amusing narrative voice.”  —Publishers Weekly

Jackie Clark Mancuso is an artist and children's book author. She has worked as a book designer, illustrator and art director in book and magazine publishing. During a sabbatical in Paris, Jackie was inspired to write and illustrate Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Expat Dog, a picture book about a little terrier who persevered, as she had, to learn a new language and make friends. Hudson in Provence is Jackie's second book.  

25 comments:

  1. Thank you, Mr. Pig, for interviewing the talented Jackie Clark Mancuso! Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your charming illustrations, as well as your inspiring art studio! Congratulations on your new book, which makes me want to immediately return to Paris, as well as try to inspire our rescue dog, Buddy, to learn to paint. Merci de partager votre processus créatif !

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  2. What a beautiful part of the world to share with others... And a lovely studio to be creative in!
    Best of luck!

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  3. I love that you are able to share the world with others through your writing journey!

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    1. Exactly! Inspiring for readers of all ages! Thanks for your comment, Maria!

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  4. What a glorious studio... and adorable art! I agree that France is a very inspiring place. Best of luck with your new book!

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    1. Oui, oui! We agree! Thanks for your comment, Wendi!

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  5. Love the integration of your travel experiences into your art. Fun interview!

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    1. Yes, Jackie's love for travel and France really does come through in her books. Thanks for your comment, Mandy!

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  6. Such beautiful art and a wonderful interview. Merci!

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    1. Mr. Pig enjoyed his visit very much! Thanks for your comment, Aimee!

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  7. Lovely! I'm so jealous of your studio.

    I live in the opposite corner of France, in Brittany. The weather is a bit different :-p so it would be nice to visit Provence with Hudson.

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    1. When you get there, Hudson will paint your portrait. :) Thanks for your comment, Dana!

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  8. You're studio is so inspiring; you're bound to write great words! Best of luck.

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    1. Thank you. I feel grateful and blessed to wake up here every day.

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  9. Oh, I'm so jealous of your travels! I would love to travel to France. And your house is amazing! Thank you for the chance to win one of your adorable picture books. I know reading them will feel like I'm right there in France with you!

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    1. I hope you are able to plan that trip! You can also get my books from your local library, or if they don't have them, you can request them. Huddie and I love libraries!

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  10. I love the sound of Paris - Chien. It could really help children who have to move countries understand the emotions involved when living in an unfamiliar culture with an unfamiliar language.

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    1. That's what I had in mind when I was writing, helping kids adjust to a new school, a new city, or a new country. Thank you.

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  11. I want to go to Provence tout de suite!! Your studio space and view is just stunning and very inspirational, Jackie. And I just LOVE dogs.Your paintings are so vibrant and full of personality. Looking forward to reading them both!

    Merci for the great interview, Monsieur Cochon!

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    1. Thank you Maria. I just clicked on your link. I want to read your books!

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