Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What's in season?

Life flies by like a shooting star through an inky night sky...

On this warm August afternoon, I am trying to keep to my "to do'" list, one being update my website! I caught up my content and decided to check out my neglected blog. Such a great place to write long, wax poetic, record observations, and share inspirations. I miss it. I'm re-dedicating to twice a week offerings, to see if posting adds to my production. The more mindful of belonging to a community of bloggers and readers, artists and learners, book lovers and creators, illustrators and writers, the more I may produce. At least I will once again have a more detailed record of my studio time. We shall see how this goes.

Back to the drawing board, today I am changing a summer scene into a fall one for a client who has a seasonal advertisement I update. It occurs to me that I like to illustrate subjects in nature best when they are currently in season. Being able to pick a coloring leaf or ripened blackberry to study makes the drawing more vibrant. Like eating fruit and veg during its real growing season just tastes better (we just had our first Iowa corn fest last night and the flavor was astounding). Not always is this practical- I've illustrated many a summer prairie for a deadline in January!- but when I can, it feels nice.


Summer....

Monday, February 20, 2017

A creek story is born, word by word, picture by picture...

Although the finished art and final story edits whizzed off to the printers long ago, "Creekfinding", written by my pal Jacqueline Briggs Martin, is just starting to hit the shelves. 

Holding a book you've been part of creating for the first time makes me feel like a proud parent. An entity that came together one element at a time- word by word, picture by picture, page by page- is now whole. 

The magic of a picture book lies in its joint creation. From separate wells of creativity, the author and illustrator create in a wondrously woven process. One person's work does not exist without the others and yet, together a story is born.. . I love how enthusiastic readers confirm a successful match!

The Australian Children's Book of the Year Award Committee annually honors author and illustrator  jointly for one single book: “The award [is] made to outstanding books of the Picture Book genre in which the author and illustrator achieve artistic and literary unity..." 

I love this. “Literary Unity” is a good way to put what most picture book teams aspire towards (and somewhat easier to achieve when you are both author/illustrator!). If a picture book has a different author and illustrator, the process is more complex, yet rich and rewarding. The words do come first, but as smooth as a baton exchange in a foot race, the story then transfers and expands from the words to the pictures. In the end, good words and good pictures should tell a story that comes together harmoniously over the finish line. 

A picture book manuscript may take years on and off to write, but the illustrator lives quite intensely, immersed for many consecutive months producing the pictures. The amount of detail to the story-line decided by an illustrator (visual setting and character placements, pacing, actual page lay-out ) is it’s own act of creation. I can attest that when the illustrations are complete, the parental feeling about the story is as strong for the illustrator as it is for the writer. 


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So happy birthday to our book, word by word, picture by picture, page by page.




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