Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My First Picture Book Launch!

Yes!  It's true!  I will be launching my first published picture book!  Can you believe it!  Isn't that awesome?  I am working with a local boutique publisher that specializes in publishing local authors and illustrators.  It's being published under the name CrissCross AppleSauce an children's book imprint of Buffalo Heritage Unlimited.  They are publishing my illustrated work for Robert Louis Stevenson's poem called The Swing.  I have shared this project with you before on the blog and this past summer, on a whim, I decided to send it to Buffalo Heritage to see what they thought of it.  They loved it!  And wanted to publish it!  Now I am planning the launch party and release of the book and wanted to share it with you all so you can share with your friends.

Here is the invite I sent out for the launch party with the details....

Please do stop by if you are in the area!  I will have all the original art there, plus some of my artistic influences.  I will also have lots of the early work I did on the book so you can see the steps of the process if you are interested.  There will be coloring pages and bookmarks for the little ones to make, so please bring the family too!

And because children are near and dear to me I can't have a wonderful opportunity like this and not share it with others.   So as a way of giving back, with the launch of The Swing I will be donating 50% of the proceeds of the sale of my books to Feed My Starving Children.  

Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God's children hungry in body and spirit.  Their approach is simple:  children and adults volunteer and hand pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children.  FMSC then ships those meals to nearly 70 countries around the world and changes children's lives!  It is a wonderful organization that my family and I have supported for 3 years now.  Every year the college where I work holds a two day event where we volunteer and pack around 100,000 meals.

My family and I are doing the food pack event again this year and you can too!  The event is being held November 7th and 8th at Villa Maria College.  If you are interested drop me a line and I'll sign you up!  The money I will donate from my book will go to purchasing the food items and supplies for sending to the children.  If you have a chance check out the link to their site or watch the video above and see what they are all about.

So either way I guess I'll be seeing you!  Either at the book launch or at Feed My Starving Children food pack!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Fox When Out On a Chilly Night

"The fox went out on a chilly night, 
Praying for the moon to give him light,
For he'd many a mile to go that night,
Before he reached the Town-o"

This is an old folk song that my dad used to sing to my sister and I when we were little.  It always brings back great memories of my childhood as my sister and I would sing it over and over again trying to get the words right.

I decided to make it the subject of my thesis project at AAU and it's the project that I am working on now in my Children's Book Illustration class.  So this weekend I did some research.  I had once a few years ago come across a picture book that looked very much like "The Fox" story and I clicked away not wanting to be influenced by it.  In my internet search this weekend I found the book and the illustrator who first illustrated it back in the 1950's.  I decided that it was ok to look at it.  I had enough ideas of my own at this point that I didn't have to worry about being influenced too much.

To my great surprise I not only found the book and viewed it on-line, I found an interview with Peter Spier the illustrator.  He is great!  I so want to meet him now after watching the video.  I thought you might like to see it to, so here it is!  Enjoy!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jane Chapman - Another Favorite Illustrator

So today I want to introduce you to Jane Chapman (if you don't already know her).  She is the best selling illustrator of "Bear Snores On" and "Bear Wants More" and many more "Bear" books written by Karma Wilson.  I first discovered Jane's work through the "bear" series of books when my kids were younger and I belonged to a children's book club.  I personally love bears, so when I saw "Bear Snores On" I ordered it.  The story is so fun and the illustrations so sweet I immediately fell in love!

I love Jane's style of illustration and I would say of all my favorite illustrators I think her work influences me the most.  She has developed the adorable character of the "Bear" series of bear, wren, mouse, mole, badger, raven, rabbit, and owl.  These characters are memorable and recognizable where ever they go.  I also love her color pallet of bright happy colors mixed with warm earthy mutes  and vibrant greens throughout.  Her color choices help to create the mood of each individual illustration and of course the picture book overall.

She works with a limited pallet and I would love to know what colors she uses.  Her is her medium and color choices in her own words.

"I work in acrylic paint. I’ve tried other things, but acrylics suit me very well. I never know what I’m going to get at the end, so I can’t do watercolour painting at all! Acrylic is good because there is a lot of freedom to change your mind as your picture progresses. I am wedded to about eight secret colours that I use over and over again, but my palette is only ever limited to four per book. I don’t need any more than that."  

I wonder what those secret colors are?  I'm going to make a guess (Jane don't get angry at me if I get it right....yea right).

Flake White
Ivory Black
Permanent Green Light
CadmiumLemon Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Sap Green
Lapis Blue
Terra Rosa
Cadmium Red

Shoot!  That's 9 colors!  Ok, I give up!
Jane says she works mainly with animal characters and in fact considers herself a weak drawer when it comes to drawing people.  I would disagree based on this sketch!

I found a wonderful interview with Jane Chapman done by fellow Brit Joanna Marple.  You can find the full interview here if you are interested.  You can also visit Jane's website here if you want to see all of her work.   She actually works with her husband Tim Warnes, who is also an illustrator, and they share a studio, so they also have work they have produced together.   You will find his work on their joint website which is the link I provided above.  

Well, I hope you have enjoyed meeting Jane Chapman.  If you are a picture book fan then you need to go buy some of her books!  It will give you something to enjoy till next time when I share my next favorite illustrator with you:)  Leave me a comment if you liked this post or if you want to guess at what Jane's secret pallet colors are!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Art Quote Time!

So I felt it was time for another art quote. I'm sitting outside enjoying the final days of summer weather and contemplating what is predicted to be another rough winter.  I love the seasons, I have to admit, but last winter was tough and I'm not sure I'm up for another like that one.  I guess harsh winters make for lots of opportunity to produce art, doesn't it!
As I was contemplating this whole thought I found this quote at  

I love the story of the little prince and the artwork.  

This quote felt apropos for me right now, because I am working on developing a fox
character and this quote was said by the fox to the Little Prince.  Here is the context:

In the Little Prince by St. Exupery, the little prince meets a fox and tells him about a flower on his planet that he cared about but was demanding and irritating as well.  The little prince then saw a field full of identical looking flowers and was dismayed.  "I thought my flower was unique in all the universe" he told the fox.  The fox then helped the little prince to see that his love for his flower made his flower unique to him. The fox then told the little prince his very simple secret: "it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye."  

What I see with my heart is that I love illustration, especially picture book illustration.  Even though there are so many talented illustrators out there who might look just like me, I am still unique in the universe and someone will find my artistic voice essential:)  I have to just keep pushing myself! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Circus Circus!

Don't you love the circus!  All the excitement, all the action.  This past week, I had to create a 5 pane story about the circus.  It could be whatever I wanted it just had to do with the circus.  I decided to do a little story about a juggler and a monkey.  I call it The Show Stealer!

First I had to do a quick thumbnail pencil drawing of the 5 scenes.  So here they are.

The I had to chose two of the panes and refine the drawings, making a value pattern study and a color study of each.  I used circus photo references to help me get the values and color drama of a circus.

Don't you love the monkey?!  I had to use a stuffed animal monkey and then take pictures with the photo booth app on my computer to get the stretched effect of a reflection in the apple skin.  He makes me smile so I know I got him right:)

And then after all of that I painted a final illustration.  I only had to do one illustration for this project but it was so much fun I think I'll do the others as well!  It's just a matter of finding the time:)  Enjoy the final illustration and let me know what you think of the whole story.  Leave me a comment:)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Catching up!

Sorry I have been silent lately....I have been working very hard to hit a deadline for an exciting project that I am working on!  I will have more news for you on that in a few days (can't spill the beans till I have approval from my publisher!)

In the meantime I thought you might like to know what else I have been doing art-wise.  I started back at the Academy in the beginning of September.   I am taking two studio classes this semester which is really insane!  Studio classes are so much work and I still have my full-time teaching job and my family, but I really wanted to study with both of the professors I have this semester so I decided to suck it up and just plan on a busy fall:)

My first class is a group directed study class which is where I get to work on my thesis project.  I have three separate projects, so I chose to work on the 5 Hungry Mice project this semester.  I think this will be a fun one because as an artist you can make mice look so cute!  I decided to have Paris be the setting of my story and a French Kitchen be the environment the mice would be in.  Here is some research I did on the internet as a starting place for my French kitchen.

My good friend Mary has a wonderful kitchen that I think looks like a French Kitchen, so this summer I went to her house and took a ton of photo reference.  I even brought little stuffed mice to put in the frame. (This was before I made the marquet I posted about earlier).  Here are some of the photos I took of her kitchen.  Isn't it perfect!  Right down to the checked tile and the warm colors!

I am now working on further development of the mice and cat characters and putting them in their environment.  I'll post them next time:)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Art quote

I love inspirational quotes, especially when they are about art!  So I thought I'd add a few quotes to my blog that have inspired me!  I'll post them from time to time for you to enjoy!

And another great quote….