Lisa Desimini
November 8, 2008
About Lisa Desimini

Lisa Desimini graduated from The School of Visual Arts in
1986. Since then, she has written and illustrated over thirty
books for children. Her book
My House was a New York
Times
Best Illustrated Book of the Year. I Am Running
Away Today
won an honorable mention at the Bologna
Book Fair in a category judged by children.
Love Letters by
Arnold Adoff was a
Publisher’s Weekly Best Picture Book of
the Year, a BCCB Blue Ribbon Book and a School Library
Journal Best Book of the Year. A video adaptation of
Dot the
Fire Dog
was produced by Weston Woods.

Her work has also graced the covers of many book jackets,
including Barbara Kingsolver’s
The Bean Trees, Pigs In
Heaven
, and Animal Dreams, the John Nichols trilogy,
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech and the new Southern
Vampire
series by Charlaine Harris.

Lisa is known for exploring new mediums. She has worked
with oil paints, acrylic, collage, photography and sculpture.
Sometimes she combines all of these techniques on the
computer; scanning paper, fabric, fresh fruit, her hair, wigs,
marbles, her paintings and photos, pipe cleaners, Popsicle
sticks, dish towels, coconuts, and just about anything else
she can think of. Then with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop,
she can draw and paint, change size and shape and color,
create shadows…there’s no limit!

Lisa loves to visit schools and universities to talk about her
books and techniques. She lives with her husband Matt
Mahurin, who is an artist and filmmaker. They are working on
their second collaboration.
My Beautiful Child was their first
book. They divide their time between NYC and Northport.
Post Activity Recap

Whispers From Beyond
opened with yours truly Steve
Spinosa
reading a chapter from the late Michael Crichton's
enviormental thriller
State of Fear, followed by Kate Landis
reading Fritz Lieber's short story
The Girl with The Hungry
Eyes
(which was made into a Night Gallery episode in 1972).
We took a five-minute break, then I introduced
Lisa
Desimini
to the group, who enjoyed speaking to us about
her work. Reading and Drawing have both been her lifelong
passions since childhood. She went to the same school of
arts as OUR Mike Piazza (3 years behind him) then began
shopping her portfolio of drawings to various publishers
(some said she should do magazines, and some said she
should do book covers, but SHE wanted to do both). Her
artwork was first published in the New Yorker, then she
eventually moved on to book covers. She has enjoyed
reading the
Sookie Stackhouse vampire series, and said
she was looking for more series to read, because they're so
addictive...lol. Immediately group members responded with
enough reading suggestions to set her up thru 2009! She
explained that she does most of her artwork on the
computer, creating backgrounds & scanning in images, then
sending the works as JPG images via email. Publishers also
email her titles of books that her work would be perfect for,
then she asks for the manuscripts via email. She says that
the best thing about her profession is that she can stay in
her pajamas all day, either reading the manuscripts in bed or
creating the covers on the computer. And since her husband
is also a free-lance artist, he understands when she needs
to be alone to do her work. Plenty of questions were asked
and we wrapped up by about 9:30 giving her plenty of time
to sign books for folks before taking the train home. The
evening continued at the Stateline Diner for most of our
group.
(Steve)

The SFSNNJ met at the Ramsey Borders (at the store
manager's request) for
Whispers From Beyond and Face
The Fiction
. Our guest speaker, in our attempt to keep
things interesting and everchanging, was artist, illustrator,
and author
Lisa Desimini. Lisa is the artist responsible for
those amazing covers on Charlaine Harris'
Southern Vampire
books -- among many other covers.

For me, my night started at the Mahwah train station where
I picked up our guest. In the approximately 3 minute drive
from there to the store,
Lisa and I talked about her very
intriguing style as an artist. We discovered we were both
huge fans of Ms Harris'
Sookie books and I also found out
Lisa knows SFSNNJ friend and former guest (twice if you
count that she was on a panel in October 2007 and then
came back for Suspense Central to discuss her book
Hell's
Belles
with us), author Jackie Kessler. When we got to the
store,
Lisa had about 20 minutes or so to decompress from
her train ride and get settled in to talk to us about her work
with Charlaine Harris, Cynthia Rylant, Arnold Adoff, J. Patrick
Lewis and many others.

I commented in the car how her art often looks like collages
made out of felt, cut up paper, all kids of things and seemed
to have a 3 dimensional quality to it.
Lisa described her
process of scanning all kinds of things, paper, fabric, her own
hair, etc into the computer for use in her artwork. She then
uses a Wacom tablet to create her art on the computer. She
also loves painting with oil paints, something she and Mike P
(a fellow graduate of the School of Visual Arts) agree on!

As
Steve mentioned in his recap, Lisa told us about how she
became the artist she is today. You will see a little bit of that
in the YouTube video as soon as I download it from my
camera!

I special ordered a children's book written and illustrated by
Lisa, which she very obligingly read to us, called Trick Or
Treat, Smell My Feet!

After we exhausted her with our questions, we gave her
suggestions for books to read, AND she signed book covers
for us (she also signed my copy of
Trick Or Treat, Smell My
Feet!
for me), we disbanded so I could take her to the train.
Unfortunately, we were enjoying our conversation in the car
so much that by the time
Lisa got up to the platform, the
train was already pulling away! Not a problem since I had
planned to take her back into NYC since I didn't know how
the train schedule ran on Saturday nights from Ramsey.

(Jo)