This isn’t easy to admit. My work is well, sort of old-fashioned. At least, it’s not HOT. Not a big deal, I can change, except I really don’t want to. Let me back up a bit. What I love to do, is not as marketable as it could be, and I am really not at all good at what seems to be winning the children’s illustration awards in 2011. The style is spacial, heavily designed, and far less realistic than mine. Some of it is stunning. I simply gape. Some of it in my humble opinion, is boring. The work that I’m not crazy about is lacking the charm, emotion, and magic that I look for in a children’s book or app or magazine.
I enjoy working digitally. Photoshop has become a great friend. And, I’m open to working in any kind of medium, so no problem there. I do not want to be left behind, and I want to grow while remaining true to what I love. So, I’ll be posting some new work with a more inclusive age range, a little distortion, a different color palette, and a lot more space. I’ll also be experimenting with texture and line drawings.
I’ve no idea what will evolve. Please let me know what you think, especially if you are a young person (five to about forty:>). Seriously, all of your comments are always helpful and appreciated.
There is a pinhole in my thick skull which is finally excepting illumination. I’ve been so busy working diligently to bring my drawing and digital painting skills into line with what I know I can accomplish, that I have forgotten the light, the spirit, the magic of telling a visual story, naturally.
Particular rays of light emerged in the forms of Marijka Kostiw and Laurent Linn Sunday, when the New Jersey Chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators held our annual “Illustrator’s Day”. Marijka Kostiw of Scholastic Books presented a thoroughly enjoyable and informative critique session, evaluating the illustration assignment described in earlier posts. I learned a lot in general, and was pleased in particular, that what was for me, a looser , chancier, more “from the heart” piece turned out to be the best direction to take with the assignment . Later in the day, Laurent Linn of Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, very kindly urged me in the same less calculated more natural direction, while critiquing my portfolio. Leeza Hernandez, a really fine illustrator, rode the prevailing glow into her workshop seminar, reminding illustrators to rediscover the very basic elements we instinctively know, but often suppress when concentrating too hard on getting the job done. Thank you!
It was a good day. I wasn’t the only illustrator who walked away vowing to reignite the inspiration that led us to illustration for children in the first place. I met some really lovely people who are as interested as I, in helping each other to bring our work up to the next level. I feel encouraged, unbound, and eager to let go….
I think I’m finished with my assignment. After deciding what Sally Gal might look like, the most difficult part was to focus on which emotion to portray on this little girl’s face, since this character feels many things in this scene. I’ve included character sketches of Sally Gal’s subtly of mood and her cousin Wild Cat’s winning ways.
On a scale of one to ten, I feel this spot illustration rates about a seven and a half on the “feel- ok- about -it meter”. The painting is digital, so if this were a “real” assignment, I could make changes easily if asked. For instance, the ribbon on the left could be resized or eliminated with a click. Of course, text fills the left hand side of the page and wraps to the top of the page on the right. Here, I’ve included a light blue gutter for orientation purposes. I’ve provided a full one quarter inch bleed all round in the final piece.
I’m looking forward to the feedback, because this workshop is about learning. Really looking forward to sharing my portfolio and meeting the art directors. Interested to spend time and speak with other illustrators. But, there are so many images floating around in my head, that it is time to move on to the next project…had a dream about a blue squid-like patterned creature that replicates children…