Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Intriguing New Graphic Novel about Nicola Tesla

My multi-talented agent, Abigail Samoun, and fellow Red Fox Literary illustrator, Elizabeth Haidle, have an exciting project in the works!Their book, Mind Afire, is about scientist/inventor Nicola Tesla; and should appeal to children's book enthusiasts, graphic novel collectors, science geeks, steampunk fans, librarians, teachers and, of course, kids!  When Abigail and Elizabeth discovered they were both intrigued by the story of this eccentric, turn of the (20th) century genius, they decided his story would be perfect for a graphic novel. I think so too. I love Elizabeth's illustrations and can't wait to read the finished text.

Check out the book's animated trailer, introductory video by the author and illustrator, and sample pages from the book at Kickstarter. Abi and Elizabeth have already reached their initial goal, but are hoping for more pre-sales so they can make it an even more fabulous book!

Mind Afire: The Visions of Nicola Tesla is pre-selling on Kickstarter throughout March!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Inspiration Boards at the Illustrators' Table

I am now a member of Carol Heyer’s fabulous artist-foodie group, which meets once a month. The food and the discussions are always different, always interesting, and always delicious!

On our new group blog, the Illustrator’s Table, I have just posted about my love of artist inspiration boards. I have had boards in the past, covered with whatever took my eye and made me happy. I knew I wanted to be an artist since childhood and started early saving favorite art images from magazines. This was during the heyday of great magazine story illustrators, and my fashion-artist mother, my sisters and I all collected our favorite artists’ work in a large black scrapbook. As a teenager I filled filing cabinets with research ‘scrap’ in my mother’s studio.

Today I still save research material. As I work on a new manuscript I begin collecting items and envisioning the way I will design the dummy. I look for images to inspire setting, clothing and color palette. I fill folders with what I find, each folder marked with the corresponding page in the dummy or with general descriptions such as horses, carts, flowers or jugglers. And the best items go up on the board.

The folders are vital -- but the inspiration boards!  They’re fun and make me happy and excited about my project.  They keep me on target, and are an aid to sustaining the flavor of the story and the emotion I wish to evoke with my illustrations.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Original Children's Book Illustrations at Chemers Gallery

The opening of this year’s illustration art exhibit at Chemer’s Gallery in Tustin was another enjoyable opportunity to see and purchase original children’s book illustrations.  Five of the artists spoke about their work and writer Kathleen Krull read her book Fartiste (which was co-written by Paul Brewer and illustrated by Boris Kulikov). Ph.D. Penny S. Bryan spoke on the importance of children’s books and their illustrations, which are fundamental to visual literacy.  And newspaper and children’s book illustrator Lisa Mertins spoke on her experiences illustrating both trade and self-published children’s books.

Matt Tavares on "Illustrating Non-Fiction Books"
In non-fiction illustration you must balance information and feeling to bring the story to life, show a point of view you can’t get elsewhere. For example: show a job from the worker’s angle/POV even (or especially) if there are no photos or records elsewhere of what they thought/felt/saw as they worked. One can show how things would have looked from their viewpoint.

Boris Kulikov spoke on “Creating a Picture Book”

The composition is the basement—the start. If that’s wrong, it all falls apart.

Chris Sheban's talk: “From point A (Arghh!) to Point B (Book)
He is low-tech and does hundreds of sketches on tracing paper to come up with a book of illustrations. He likes to take a week (or two) per illustration, and can take a year to complete work on a book.

E.B. Lewis
on “Mastering the Visual Language”
Illustration is sequential narrative, a visual language as though you cannot speak. You build in thoughts, sensations, and setting seen through the eye of the character. You know you have created a real person when a film starts to flip through your head and you can see the character act out the story. An artist turns words into images. Put what you feel into the image—the viewer will get the feeling out of it.

“Children don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

The exhibit of original illustrations runs through December 15. If you can't make it, go next year! It’s well worth the visit!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I'm back, and with a few quotes from Illustrator's Day

I have been on a longer hiatus from my blog than I intended!  I have been busily writing and painting and now have a lovely agent—Abigail Samoun of Red Fox Literary.  I have two manuscripts (with dummies and sample finished art) circulating “out there“ in the great Land of Publishing!  My portfolio on this site is definitely due for additions of my new work, but new pieces can be seen on the Red FoxLiterary site.

Now that my latest work has gone to my agent, I’m ready to begin a new manuscript!  At the latest L.A. Illustrator’s Day, writer, illustrator and general Renaissance-man, Peter Reynolds spoke of having  a personal list titled “Books Not yet in Print.”  This catalogue contains over 400 of his ideas for future books.  I have a list too—not so long! but long enough to consider which idea I want to work on next.

Below are some wise and inspiring quotes from the recent Los Angeles Illustrator’s Day…

Dan Krall
had a list of 10 things he has learned that could have saved him 10 years!  Selections are:

Be brief. Think, what can I leave out? It needs to be a non-stop trim-fest!

Finish it! Knuckle down and see it through.

Be nice. Hit your deadlines. Be responsible.

Always have at least 5 irons in the fire. Get it out, do the next thing.
Always Google your new project to make sure it hasn’t been done.
Peter Reynolds, author/illustrator of The Dot, and Ish was inspiring and shared many words of wisdom, my favorite of which was

Draw fearlessly!