Friday, November 25, 2011

In Search of Color

Maybe because the darker days of winter are finally beginning to appear here in southern California I’ve been thinking a lot about color lately. Or it could be due to working on new pieces for my illustration portfolio... The SCBWI Illustrators Day (one day conference) was a few days ago... Color choices in illustrations are always important as they can help convey emotion and even the setting of the piece. The color palette I used for Signed Abiah Rose was based on early 19th century folk artists’ work. Mostly untrained, they worked with a limited palette -- just primary colors with little use of color mixing. The manuscript I’m now working on will require a darker palette due to the moody setting of the story. But I personally have lately felt a need to be surrounded by bright colors. A foray last week in a search for COLOR -- yummy color combinations -- was more successful than I’d even hoped. Gorgeous colors were almost everywhere I visited.

A shelf in a vintage store

 Wall art advertisement for a funky and arty coffeehouse -- Busters in South Pasadena -- a favorite of mine.
                                 A mosaic in the patio behind the fabulous Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena

The culmination of my search for color was found in a favorite shop -- Zinnia in South Pasadena. The extremely talented and creative folks there have created a delightful, bright and joyful haven-- a feast for the eye. It’s also a great place to shop for treasures and to take classes.
 Gorgeous floor paintings

Delicious painted and collaged furniture displays for merchandise

.....Artfully colorful inspirations

The effect of all these reds, blues, greens and yellows?  As a human being I was cheered and happy -- as an artist, I was inspired and energized with food for the soul.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An Illustrator's Process -- Preliminary Sketching for a Magazine Story

I recently illustrated a story for Spider Magazine which will run in the February issue of the magazine. I love the ‘bug’ magazines—Babybug, Ladybug, Spider and Cricket.  And I really enjoyed the story by J.S. Webster Jessica Van Dessel, which is about Quakers, a family thought to be run-away-slaves, and spiders.

The deadline for the assignment was short, and a considerable amount of the time was spent in research and preliminary sketches. Thanks to my agent Abigail’s husband supplying the name of the type of spider I needed, the spider research was considerably shortened. With library books, my own private supply of books, my file of research clippings -- and, of course, the internet -- my research was accomplished!

Here are some of my sketches..........