Artist/Author: Judith Byron Schachner
Medium: Acrylic, watercolor, ink, sometimes pencil accents
Books I Borrowed: "The Prince of the Pond," "Jimmy the Pickpocket of the Palace," (both by Donna Jo Napoli); "Staying with Grandmother," by Barbara Baker; "What Shall I Dream?," by Laura McGee Kvasnosky; "How the Cat Swallowed Thunder," by Lloyd Alexander; "Mrs. Emerson's Cook," "The Grannyman," "Willy and May," "YO Vikings!," and a bunch of Skippyjon Jones books.
My Thoughts: I put the books on the floor in chronological order, and thought it was really neat to watch Judy's style change and develop over the years. She began illustrating in a sort of Trina Schart Hyman-ey sort of way, then some of her characters' faces had the Steven Kellogg look, and then she seemed to have found her calling in the world of color through "What Shall I Dream?" and "How the Cat Swallowed Thunder," and "Yo Vikings!" all of which are quite colorfully complex yet not messy or cluttered. And then, then, she found her favorite style to illustrate in the Skippyjon Jones series.
My favorites? Absolutely "What Shall I Dream?," and "How the Cat Swallowed Thunder." Could not stop looking at them, and didn't want to return them. So I found them online and now I have my own copies! My favorite Skippyjon Jones book: "Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones." LOVE her dinosaurs, especially the T-Rex!
What have I learned from this? That it takes years and multiple stories to actually truly find what makes your heart sing. I can tell that she's a bit like me- she can draw well, is great with linework in pen and ink, but has a wacky stylistic side to her she wasn't so sure how to contain at first. I could go all day just doodling things and painting, but not actually come up with a "masterpiece" per say. The stuff I work on without actually thinking about it ends up being my favorite kind, and it looks great! But how do I harness that sort of mindlesslazyfun look while still being serious about my art? How do I paint within the lines, but still feel like I'm coloring outside of them? It goes along with the way I work- if I don't follow my own schedule, then I'm happy. If I feel like I'm getting away with something mischievous, then I get great results. But if I don't pressure myself into getting anything done, I won't! How does one schedule fun?
And it goes to show that Skippyjon also does not like to follow rules... No matter how many times I've rotated that image (both on the pc and in Blogger), it refuses to face the correct way!