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!


  1. Thank you so much for your lovely blog! So glad you could join us and meet these talented illustrators!
    -Karen & Jennifer

  2. Karen and Jennifer--you're very welcome! I'm a great fan of the gallery, and I'm already looking forward to next year's illustrator's exhibit!

  3. Looks like it was a wonderful day, Diane. I'm so sorry I missed it - I especially wanted to see Chris Shaban.

    1. It was a lovely day and I wish you could have been there too! Chris Shaban's energy and enthusiasm about his work were inspiring. And it's so great to see original illustrations.