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!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A New Painting......

Several of my illustrator friends and I took part in a gallery show of our paintings this month. The theme of the show was Lullabies and Nightmares.

I chose to illustrate the nursery rhyme "Rock-a-bye Baby in the Treetops", a rhyme which (along with many famous childhood verses) is quite frightening!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spider Magazine Illustrations

Here are a couple of the illustrations I did for the February issue of Spider magazine ... for Jessica Van Dessel's story "Friend Spider"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Farewell to Legendary Bookseller George Whitman

I recently saw the celebratory film about Paris and writers -- Midnight in Paris.   One scene shows the front of the legendary bookstore, Shakespeare and Co., in all its photogenic charm, reminding me that I had neglected to visit the bookstore when I was in Paris.  True,  as a young artist I was spending most all of my time in art museums and art stores.  Still, I am unable to resist a great bookstore, so why didn’t I remember to visit this famous landmark -- so perfect for English-reading, book-loving travelers?

So I was quite saddened to learn last month of the passing of 98 year old George Whitman, the founder of Shakespeare and Co., from writer Kristen Espinasse.  She has written her memories of him in her very enjoyable blog.  I was inspired to read more about the bookstore.  It is a reincarnation of the first (also legendary) Shakespeare and Co., which was founded by another American in Paris, Sylvia Beach, and was closed down in WWII.  Whitman’s bookstore, Le Mistral, opened in 1951, but after meeting Sylvia Beach she bequeathed the name Shakespeare and Co. to him.

One story about Whitman that impressed me concerned the entire year the bookstore was closed in the 60’s.  His papers weren’t in order so he didn’t sell a single book that year until the red tape was straightened out.  He kept the doors open, however, as a free library and guesthouse for writers from abroad in exchange for an hour or two of work a day.  A true book-loving, writer-loving individual!  The French grew to appreciate him too – the French Minister of Culture awarding him the Officier des Arts et Lettres medal for his contributions to the arts. He’s buried in the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery near such writers as Collette and Balzac.

I still intend to visit the bookstore.  It’s still there, still catering to English-speaking visitors, still welcoming writers, still watched over by his daughter, and I believe by his dog and cat too. Long may it prosper!