Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bon voyage! (to me)  -- website update!
Gone Conferencing! The website has been updated with a fresh coat of (digital) paint, and new pieces born since the New England SCBWI Conference. Now I'm setting off for the West Coast for the Biggie Conference in Los Angeles. Hope to see some of you there, and for those not attending, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators will be blogging and Tweeting the whole shebang here (blog) and here (twitter feed or follow #LA13SCBWI).

I'm ready for some learning!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Flourishing despite....

I flourished despite about 50 disputes with a container of Mod Podge:

"Flourish" decorative collage.
I'm going to be perfectly honest here: I nearly (and am still tempted to) tear up a huge wad of tissue/tracing/velum/watercolor papers and just spell out the word "SHIT!" I didn't think it would be appropriate for the class, it seemed resentful. It does sound snarky and negative, but I can see it... "Shit" would be fun. Who wouldn't want a big "S-H-I-T" on their wall?

Yes, I did swear at my materials about a dozen times before collaging won me over. I think it's the designing of the composition I like so much... that and transparency papers. Part of the construction of this piece consisted of a fight with a single paint brush, glue, humidity, bleeding inks, and my inability to get a zipper to zip the way I wanted it to. Also I was stabbed by a staple from the zipper package. My grudge against the zipper has passed and I'm at peace with my finished artwork.

I really did like this project and I how it turned out. I have some new bedroom art. "Flourish," is the fourth assignment I turned in for Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells eCourse. This project was both challenging but still freeing. I struggled with this assignment (less than I expected,) because I wasn't really drawing per-sey, but my designer instincts eventually kicked in for the finished pieces.

Would I keep up with collaging? Yes, but not regularly. I'm trying to integrate it into my illustrations (digitally) more an more. I've come to understand that I'm really more of a draftsman. I am ocationally attracted to abstract pieces, but I really prefer working with recognizable motifs and icons. It's hard to stare down at the raw elements and come up with an attractive way to assemble them. Things don't always tear or fold the way you want them to so plans were frequently changed during my collaging process.

"He Loves Me" decorative collage.
The assignment was for one collage... I ended up with two which I which will soon have new homes on my walls. What this project brought out in me was that vent I so desperately needed. Getting dirty and having a finished piece I can hold in reality awakened something in me. I've been in a creative rut since Mid-May and I'd been feeling out for some sort of relief or inspiration to help pick me up. Naturally, one week left in the class and I've broken through my brain fog... at least in my personal work. I am very happy with the quality of work I produced this past week. I polished off a couple pieces for the SCBWI conference which I will be thrilled to show off to Art Directors. I hope I can keep up the pace for a strong finish for the class.

Best of luck with everyone else. Keep cool people!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Slowly as a Snail

Meet my egotistical snail!
So week #3 from Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells eCourse was all about the Picture Book. "Yay!" I thought. I thought.... Almost there, but no lollipop! We were to either illustrate a book cover or interior spread to a Hans Christen Andersen fable. I chose the spread because I really liked the assortment of possibilities, but I feel like I tried to show too much:

"Finished" illustration spread for The Snail and the Rose Tree, by Hans Christen Andersen.
The bit I enjoyed the most about this assignment was that we needed to somehow integrate hand-lettering - whether it be the title of the book or text within the story.  I can't explain why I've been dragging my feet on about testing out hand lettering, but I really had fun with this, I just wish I tried illustrating type and hand lettering sooner:

Text "Bear Nuts" - Those are Hazelnuts.

Text "Give Milk".

Text "Grow Roses".
I really enjoyed making this piece, but I'm not happy with my overall finished results. I would have liked more time to work on it... and so I shall! I like the individual elements, but all put together it's just too overwhelming. I've already returned to the sketch-phase and I'm re-working my characters, and setting up a new spread. I'm hoping I can build a stronger piece by the end of this month so that I can tote it to the SCBWI Conference next month.

Wish me luck!