Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Painted Lady

Painting the last steps to the top. It starts out a very civilized process, with clean blotters, clear water, a glass of white wine, mellow evening sunshine, jazz in the background. It soon deteriorates to back-to-back coffee cups, muddled papers, the glare of incandescence, irritating npr hosts...It'll get done, but not before some ochre and crimson gets shed.

In the beginning....

and during.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Model family

My poor family often gets called to model for me, especially when it comes to those tricky hand positions. One of my characters in the wilderness book also plays a flute and I drew it in one of the interior scenes. Just happened to have a flute in the closet (played long ago in high school), so I pressed it into service as well.  Afterwards, I played my flute for the cats. They didn't like it much. Maybe they were mad they didn't get to model.

Drawing from life, indeed!


Monday, April 14, 2014

SCBWI conference a sip of creative oxygen

I had a break from final book art work to attend a day session at our Iowa SCBWI spring conference this weekend.  As always, good to connect with fellow writers and illustrators, absorb new ideas and directions, and be reminded that my “Climbing Mt. Picture Book” metaphor doesn’t describe an isolated adventure. Others are there trudging along too, on their own trips with similar tales of success and setbacks to share. Although a crowded mountain is not a good thing on any Everest (see link and photo below!), there is contentment in knowing I am part of a collective who passionately try to create books that children will love.

Now, back to the climb. My creative oxygen is flowing and enthusiasm remains high, but I’m running low on mental energy! Excited to report though, I can see the summit ^ from where I am today.

This is the image I have of fellow climbers toiling up Mt Picture Book. Their backpacks are full of lap tops and manuscripts, portfolios and rejection letters! Some have published books and awards, too but that sometimes doesn’t make the climb much easier. I snagged this photo, taken by mountaineer 
Raif Dujmovits, from an article written by Dujmovits in The Guardian. It illuminates  the very real problem of too many climbers on Mt Everest. Kind of fascinating! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rest Stop, colored

The original, uncolored, for comparison

Monday, April 7, 2014

j'aime la couleur!

With the start of the current book project, I thought I'd invest in a new set of watercolors. In the past, I've used a combination of gouache in tubes, and Dr. Martin's dyes. The tubes have always been messy and do dry out if I'm not attentive with lids, so I wanted to give cake type paints a try. Friend Jennifer Black Reinhardt, esteemed watercolorist/children's book author/illustrator among other titles, recommended the French made Sennelier brand, so I bought some.

To open the lovely black metal box is akin to the thrill of opening a box of chocolates. They present so beautifully, I can't help but make inspired art! Upon loading my brush with water, I got spooked momentarily by the pristine little blocks of color.  I started by making a simple color chart (even though a clear acetate one is included with the set) and this helped "break the ice". I did my first colored pieces for the book over the weekend, and love the creamy texture of these paints.

Viva la l'illustration traditional!

(hope I translated that right!)

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