Friday, December 16, 2011

Chicken Little

This is the submission for the Tomie dePaola illustration contest through SCBWI. We were to illustrate a specific scene from the story "Chicken Little" by P.C. Asbjörnsen about the sky falling and all of that jazz. I grew up enjoying Tomie dePaola's illustrations and stories so I couldn't not do this! This was done with watercolor, colored pencils, and a bit of digital touch up as well. I love using the computer as a tool, but nothing beats working with traditional materials. See if you can guess which scene this is!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chemer's Gallery Illustration Show

Wow what a great event last weekend at Chemer's Gallery! All types of amazing children's book Illustrators were featured and left me with some important and inspiring lessons. I took photos but also did some sketching so let's start with the first presentation I got to see:

My sketch in person of Raul Colón
Beautiful book, I want to put all of these images on the wall!
Fan pic!

Raul Colón showed beautiful color studies that he worked out through the years, which inspired me to do more of these types of studies. I can't wait to try his technique for fun, where he scratches the watercolor paper underneath the many careful layering of colored pencil. It is a quite beautiful technique that made me want to buy his book "Alicia Alonso". He also said that he started out doing editorial illustration, working for the New York Times. So far I have met many famous illustrators that have started their careers this way. When I met him, it was interesting to learn that he teaches art in New York, and judging from his humorous presentation I'm sure he is an exceptional teacher.
Robin Preiss Glasser
Robin's adorable fancy Nancy character
Fan Pic!

Robin Preiss Glasser is a vivacious cartoonist that has brought to life the famous character Fancy Nancy and others. She was also a pleasure to meet, very personable and fun to be around. Out of all of the illustrators that I saw, her style and medium was the most similar to what I am going for in my own illustration, with her vibrant colors, lively pen work, and cartoony style- although my characters are more buggy-eyed. It was interesting to see the photos of real people and pets that she used as reference for the characters in her books. I also thought her process was impressive, where she draws a character hundreds of times until she finds the correct pieces and puts the pieces together and is able to print right onto her watercolor paper, boy, I gotta find a way to do that! It was so cool that she was previously a dancer, and that experience helps her envision exactly how to draw her characters in motion. 

Kathleen Krull & Steve Johnson
Nadia speaking with Steve and Kathleen about texture and such.
These two illustrators are such a great example of teamwork in general, it was so cool to learn about how these two work and that really they benefit from working together and create work as a team that they otherwise could not accomplish alone. By examining their artwork in person, you can really notice the precise illustration skills of Steve and where Kathleen takes it to the next level with inventiveness, layers, and texture.

Elisa Kleven spoke about keeping the love for an imaginary world alive from childhood in her children's books. She states that her childhood was her education in response to the naive style her work tends to lean towards. Yet it is full of heart, and meaning, and life and is definitely what children's book illustration is about, and how I feel as well about it. It was interesting to learn that many of the crafty materials she used making dolls and crafts with as a child is incorporated as texture into her work such a doilies and cloth which I think helps to emphasis that playfulness of childhood.

Mary GrandPré
Where her characters come from
Would you believe that this first design of Harry Potter was based on Mary's own portrait and was finished in candlelight?
Fan Pic

Mary GrandPré, well known as the illustrator that has brought the mega famous Harry Potter to life, as well as other beautiful stories, showed us mostly about where she got her character ideas. As you can see on the top photo, she is pointing to Hagrid whom was based on her favorite puppy. It was interesting to think about how real animals can also influence our human characters and even vice versa. I liked how she talked about thinking like a director as she illustrates a story, using different angles and such to make the viewer feel like they have moved around by the time the book was over. She seemed a bit more serious than some of the other illustrators, and would have liked to see a demo on how she works, but that's alright it was still very  special to meet her and have her wish me luck on my own illustration career!

Overall, I met an amazing group of well-known illustrators that have inspired me to JUST DO IT,  and also experiment a bit as well, I would like to do a few "master copies" in their style just for fun! I will treasure the books that I got from them as you can see!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Figure Sketching at Colibri

What a wonderful sketch night last with the illustrator group at Colibri to practice figure sketching! Thanks especially to illustrator Erin O' Shea and her kids for letting us use them as objects of study! I always could use more practice! I love working with gesture sketches the most but it is nice to take turns posing for eachother and get some longer ones in as well.  Here are some excerpts from my sketchbook: