Sunday, November 20, 2011

Brian Lies Visits!

So last week, our Children's Book Illustration III class got quite a treat: a visit from Brian Lies! He is the author and illustrator of the NY Times' best selling books Bats at the Beach, and Bats at the Ballgame and my favorite, Bats at the Library! (To see more of his books, click here!)

Brian Lies! And there's Dede to the left! :)

Stunning work not put to justice by my dirty cell phone camera lens!

Brain was kind enough to share with us his working process, including the corresponding original art, starting with his sketchbook, his mini dummies and book dummies, how he re-works his pieces, and all the way through the steps he takes in painting with acrylics. He shared with us the book dummy for his newest book, More to be available next year. He does his finished acrylics on heavy weight vellum paper, using teeny tiny brushes and ink for his foundation line work. And his finished pieces... Absolutely gorgeous!

Brian shared some useful tips, such as writing paint color recipes for future reference, and to be sure to really layer the darks because they brighten in the scanning process. He said some things that rang true in my own creative process. It was heartening to see that like I do, he also draws in blue pencil to break in a piece of fresh white paper "because it doesn't feel like permanent final art." And he hates to erase (just like I do), so naturally he ends up with piles of paper (like I do), though he actually has storage for his piles, unlike myself! He also shared that he prefers painting animals with smaller eyes to avoid the "mass market" look in his work.

I've been so inspired, I think I might try my hand at working on paper instead of canvas with my acrylics. Just to see what happens. :)

It was a spectacular visit! So much so that my friends have blogged about it too!
Cheryl Kirk Noll (She had a real camera and got nicer photos than my cell phone did!)
Marcela Staudenmaier

Here are some links to interviews with Brian Lies, as well as Bat Conservation:

Thank You, Brian, for visiting us! :D
And Thank You, Emilie Boon, for inviting him!

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