Books Portfolio Studio FanPage Visits News Links Shop Contact
Jackie Urbanovic Home
Jackie Urbanovic - Home
Jackie can visit your school, or library, or just about anywhere

Imagination and Storytelling in Childhood:
An interview with Jackie Urbanovic about creativity, storytelling and kids on Blue Mango.

Moving again??

For Pete’s sake, Jackie has moved AGAIN, only 3 years later. She’s back in Silver Spring, Maryland! While she loved the children’s book community in Western Massachusetts, she absolutely missed the heat, humidity and traffic of the DC metro area.

Really, she mostly missed her friends and family that live in Maryland, DC and Virginia. She also missed the teachers and librarians who have been so incredibly friendly and supportive for so many years.

SO—if your school, library or organization is in the Mid-Atlantic, she’s local AGAIN! And if you are located anywhere else, she is willing to travel all over the country, just ask.




Jackie Urbanovic at Fairview Elementary School
Fairview Elementary School

When a school decides to book a guest author, there is no certainty of the quality of the program you will receive… but sometimes you get lucky. From the moment Jackie Urbanovic arrived at our school, she was gracious, accommodating and very engaging with both our students and staff. Each presentation was tiered to the developmental level of the grade. This was an awesome experience for all. I highly recommend it!

Dr. Ben Horn, Principal
Fairview Elementary School

Jackie Urbanovic at Fairview Elementary School
Skype visit with Franklin Park School


My Presentations:

I enjoy hamming it up for my audiences, asking and answering questions and talking about my work. I illustrate my talk with a powerpoint slideshow.  My presentations take about an hour including a question and answer session and drawing for the students. If I’m talking to pre-K or Kindergarten classes, I can shorten the time to approximately 45 minutes.

I most commonly speak to elementary age children, but I also feel comfortable speaking to young adults about being a professional illustrator and author, and I have spoken at conferences to adult audiences as well.

Duck Books:

Appropriate for K through 4th grade.

I begin with a few props related to the most recent book. With Duck Soup, I brought a soup pot, some vegetables and a toy duck. I ask the audience to help me choose what correctly goes in the soup.  Tomato? Dog bone? DUCK?? Then, beginning my slide show, I do a creative and dramatic reading of the book. Using everything in my power to make them laugh.

Max the DuckMy slide show continues by showing how the book series began:

  • The people and animals who inspired the books.
  • My personal life and my family and how both impact the stories I write.
  • My artistic beginnings and my childhood art.
  • Photos of my studio, my materials and myself at work.
  • Other books I’ve worked on and sneak previews of upcoming books.

During the course of the talk I involve the audience by asking them questions.
What are their favorite books? What do they like to draw? What is this a drawing of? I end by drawing some of the characters for them on an oversized tablet, asking them guess what I’m drawing and to help me draw.

Being a Professional artist:

The topics in this presentation overlap with the Duck books talk but is meant for an older audience from 5th grade up to high school. I begin my slide show by showing examples of my illustrations so that they can see the art I'll be talking about.

I ask what do they think art is? Why is it important?  What jobs are there in the art field? And then we talk about the fact that art and careers in art are all around us: movies, packages, billboards, skateboards, music, architecture, etc. and how artists affect our perception of the world.

  • I show the slides of my childhood art and talk about how it changed over the years I grew up as well as with practice. And how practice is connected to a love of doing.
  • The process of making a book from idea to thumbnail sketches to rough sketches to the final art.
  • The importance of revisions and mistakes. And why we need to make them.
  • Creating and drawing characters. Using models, photographs, Youtube, and exaggeration/imagination.
  • Photos of my studio, materials and myself at work.
  • A wish for all of the aspiring artists in the audience.

I can also draw some of my characters on an oversized tablet as I answer questions about my books, drawing, writing, etc.

Drawing Secrets: Creating cartoon characters (a 2 hour workshop)

Woods Academy, MarylandI know from doing my school visits that kids are incredibly eager to draw—especially cartoons. Nothing lights them up more than when I draw for them and with them. Using a group of basic shapes, students will learn how to create funny animals and people from their imaginations. I’ll also show photos and teach them how to identify the simple shapes inside the more complex figures, and then translate those simple shapes into cartoons.

I’ll talk about exaggeration and expressions as they apply to faces and bodies both. Many cartoon drawing lessons teach step by step how to draw one figure, in one pose. My goal is to give them the tools to be able to draw whatever they want.

This is a hands on workshop for 2rd grade or older. This workshop takes 2 hours. I prefer doing it with 25 or fewer students because I can give much more time to each student, but it is possible to do it with up to 40 students.

The students need 6 or more pieces of 11" X 17" paper, multiple pencils and/or a pencil sharpener, and a BIG eraser.


MTA Interview with Jackie

Meet the Author interviews

The Fairfax Network in Virginia interviews authors and illustrators of children's books. They interviewed me both on their television set and also in my studio. See where I work and my illustrations in progress as I talk about making a book. Also included is a visit to a classroom to show how they use my books as part of their curriculum. MTA interviews many authors including Lemony Snicket, AVI, Erica Perl and Rosemary Wells.


Schools and Libraries where I’ve spoken:

Celebration of Reading Event, Henderson, Nevada
I spent a week talking to classes of all ages in a number of schools. I also got to judge an art contest. Students, from
1st grade up to 6th grade created paintings based on my characters! How cool is that??

DC Prep, Washington DC
The organization, Literacy and Prose sponsored me. Because of that, every child in the audience got a free copy of one of
my books to take home.

CCBC Children's Center, Washington DC
I spoke to an audience of children and their parents.

Joan Y. Leopold Children's Book Week Celebration, Harrisburg, PA
I spoke at several branches of the Dauphin County Library, to audiences of adults and children.

Vanderburg SchoolWashington School and Field School, Park Ridge, IL
I spent several days speaking to classes of all ages.

Rocky Run Elementary School, Fredricksburg, VA
I spoke to their Kindergarten and 1st grade, 2nd and 3rd grade and 4th and 5th grade classes.

Sandymount Elementary School, Finksburg, MD
I spoke to their Kindergarten and 1st grade, 2nd and 3rd grade and 4th and 5th grade classes.

The Towson Library, Towson, MD
The Friends of the Towson Library had me present to a group of adults and children.

Sheridan Elementary, Allentown, PA
I spoke to their 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade classes and did a writing workshop with her 5th grade classes.

Lakewood School, Ann Arbor, MI
I spoke to their K through 2nd grade classes

Bach School, Ann Arbor, MI
I spoke to their K-2nd grade classes

Mill St, School, Naperville IL
I spoke to their K- 2nd grade classes

Churchill Elementary School, Glen Ellyn, IL
I spoke to their 2nd grade classes

Janney School, Washington DC
I spoke to several of their first grade classes

Kent School, Chestertown, MD
I spoke to their pre-K through 1st grades, their 2nd and also their 3rd grade.

Woodlin Elementary, Silver Spring, MD
I read my book and answered questions as part of their Scholastic Book Fair

Twinbrook Elementary, Rockville, MD
I spoke to their 3rd and 4th grade classes

Woods Academy, Bethesda, MD
I spoke to their K-2nd grade classes and also to their 3rd+4th grades.

Key Elementary School, Arlington, VA
I spoke to their K and 1st grade students

Henderson SchoolRandolph Elementary School, Arlington, VA
I spoke to their pre-K through 2nd grade classes.

Chinn Park Regional Library, Woodbridge, VA
I spoke as part of their National Library Week event.

Anderson Center, Redwing, MN
As part of their Annual Author and Illustrator Festival

Holy Spirit School, St.Paul, MN
I’ve spoken to their 2nd through 4th grade classes on two occasions.

Carondelet Catholic School, St. Paul, MN
I spoke to their 1st grade classes

Politics and Prose Bookstore
Washington DC

Washington Episcopal School, Bethesda, MD
I spoke to their 2nd and 3rd grade classes as well as their 7th and 8th grade classes.



Conferences where I’ve spoken:

The Baltimore Book Festival
I was one of the speakers invited to read and present by The Children's Bookstore.

The Alabama Kindergarten Teacher's Conference

I was one of the keynote speakers and I also did a workshop for teachers on drawing.

The Mazza Museum of Picture Book Art/University of Findlay, Ohio
I spoke at their summer conference to an audience of teachers, librarians and bibliophiles.

The Maryland International Reading Association Conference
I spoke to groups of educators and librarians.


Thank you notes


Thank you notes to Jackie
go back up
[Home] [Books] [Portfolio] [About Jackie] [Fan Page] [School & Library Visits] [Links] [Contact]

Copyright © 2000-2018, Jackie Urbanovic
and may not be reproduced without
the artist's permission.
All rights reserved.