Thursday, September 30, 2010

From Start to Finish: Fairytale Open Book

My first completed project of the new school year!

The assignment was to illustrate the front cover of a children's book (any classic story that no longer has a copyright issue, which would be a folktale, fairytale, or is over 100 years old and deems it public property) in any way we choose, in any medium. The only rule was to leave room for text. I chose to go with a Fairytale Collection book or an anthology of fairytale characters, because I simply cannot choose just one story!

I began with a sketch on scrappy paper (I do my best work on garbage paper that should be recycled... fresh clean new paper is so uninspiring), then scanned and re-sized, added a few things with tracing paper, re-scanned and re-sized, and then transferred it all onto watercolor paper.

I used my own mixture of ink for the lines and underpainting: burnt umber and black makes a nice chocolatey brown. I chose to stick with only three or four colors for my palette, which I wanted to keep warm: Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cobalt Blue, and Lemon Yellow for some brightness.

Brown Ink Stage.

Some color added.

Pretty much done here.

And here it is in the final scanned form:

And that was it! No secrets, just plain old art. I didn't add any touches of colored pencil or caran d'ache, or even gauache for that matter. Simple yet effective! I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out. I wonder what I will be doing next?

Walking Around Inside A Book

To celebrate the end of summer, the start of fall, (and to boldly go where it could possibly be horrendously busy), my family and I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure park in Orlando. Hubby and I had been dying to go to Hogwarts ever since we learned it had opened this summer, and it was wonderful.

For a crazy fan like me who dresses as a Gryffindor every Halloween (even though I'm at work), watches the movie if it happens to be on tv (although I can watch the dvd's anytime I wish), and listens to the audio book once every year (starting on September 1st when the Hogwarts Express picks up the students), it was like being in a dream! Not a single detail was overlooked, not one brick out of place. We drank Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, flew on a Hippogriff, toured Hogwarts castle and listened to the Sorting Hat's advice.

And it all hit me, knowing that everything created here began with one little idea, in one person's (amazing) mind, which started as a rough draft, then a second draft, then a hundredth draft, and then eventually became one of the world's most cherished series of children's books. I can't imagine what J. K. Rowling must have been thinking the day she first walked through the village of Hogsmeade and saw HER castle for the very first time... What an amazing thing to happen!

It was just so awesome, and inspiring, to see first hand what can happen when an author works hard and perseveres! If you ever get a chance to go there, please do so. And when you do, stop a moment to really take it all in. Before you know it, you'll really think you are walking around inside a book!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Still Here...

Hello Everyone out there in cyberspace! 

I just wanted to share with you a few links and to let you know that although my blog entries have become a bit less frequent, I'm still here painting, drawing, and meeting deadlines! I promise to post when I've got something good, like these links I've promised you:

library of the early mind: A Documentary Exploring Children's Literature

Later, Gator!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Library Run: Sheepies

My most recent Library Run(s... two so far) revolved around the topic of Sheep. Since my Super-Secret Project #1 is about a sheep, I picked up each and every sheep book I could get my hands on. I needed some inspiration on the topic as well as knowledge of what is already out there, and this was the best way to do it. There are plenty more books on the sheep topic I'm sure, but looking at all those fluffy woollies made me a bit sleepy after a while (no joke! it really does work!), so after I get the rest of the books on my wish-list I will be satisfied with my research.

Books I've Borrowed SO FAR: (This list sure was fun to write... but I figured out a shortcut for next time!)
Sheep and Goat / by Marleen Westera ; illustrated by Sylvia Van Ommen
Baa Baa Black Sheep / Iza Trapani
Sheepish Riddles by Katy Hall, Lisa Eisenberg ; illustrated by R.W. Alley
Counting Sheep / by Julie Glass ; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Counting Sheepby John Archambault ; illustrated by John Rombola
Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep! / Mo Willems
Sam Sheep Can't Sleep / Phil Roxbee Cox ; illustrated by Stephen Cartwright
Counting Sheep to Sleep / by Mary O'Brien ; illustrated by Bobette McCarthy
Feeding the Sheep / by Leda Schubert ; illustrated by Andrea U'Ren
Baa! Moo! What Will We Do? / by A. H. Benjamin ; illustrated by Jane Chapman
One More Sheep / by Mij Kelly ; illustrated by Russell Ayto
The Strange Case of the Missing SheepMircea Catusanu
Russell the Sheep / Rob Scotton
Wool Gathering: A Sheep Family Reunionby Lisa Wheeler ; illustrated by Frank Ansley
When Sheep Sleep / by Laura Numeroff ; illustrated by David McPhail
Sheep Asleep / by Gloria Rothstein ; illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
Baa-choo! / by Sarah Weeks ; pictures by Jane Manning.

Counting sheep / Barbara McGee.
The Baabaasheep Quartet / Leslie Elizabeth Watts.
Sheep in wolves' clothing / Satoshi Kitamura.
Counting sheep / by George Mendoza ; illustrated by Kathleen Reidy.
Baaa / David Macaulay.
The sheep in wolf's clothing / Helen Lester ; illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.

My Thoughts/Favorites: 
Loved the stocky look of the sheep in Sheep and Goat, the loose line work and liveliness in Feeding the Sheep, the simplicity of Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep! and the overall art in Russel the Sheep. Couldn't stop laughing when reading Wool Gathering, and really enjoyed the watercolor art in Baa-choo! and the story was short and sweet. Some of the other sheep stories tended to be on the longer side, and those I just scanned through instead of thoroughly reading. Hey, I'm not perfect, but at least I'm honest! (and I'm not sheepish about it... baaa haa haa haaaa.)

While at the library I found this cute little picture book called "Bear in the Air," written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Amy Bates. I fell in love with both the story and the art instantly, and will be adding this to my favorite collection as soon as I can! I would love to see more of the illustrator's work and I intend to borrow the rest of her books in the future. What a nice little find!

ALSO - Further research for Super-Secret Project #1 will involve lots of Nursery Rhyme and Mother Goose readings. I've got a poll on the left side of my blog here (below the owl sitting on the planet) so I can find out what are the most commonly known rhymes. I'd love your participation, if you are willing! Thanks!

Until next time, my furry friends...