Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't Let Yourself Get Bored

JANICE:  When I visit schools, I tell students that there are too many exciting things to do and see in this world to ever get bored. And they are not on a screen, except for e-books. Try some of them:
Watch the sun set and make a painting. Here is one that Tom made of a sunset in the Puget Sound for our picture book-in-progress, Whale Ferry Tale.

Learn to play a musical instrument like young Antonio in our picture book biography, I, Vivaldi.

Talk to horses like Young Wolf in this illustration from A Mare for Young Wolf.

Read a book like Son of Spirit Horse, the story of two boys who both want to win the horse race at the tribal fair. Neither Young Wolf, on the left, nor Little Big Mouth, on the right, can imagine what he will win and lose. Can you?

Come up with your own ideas and post them here.
Just remember that bored is a five letter word! Don't make it part of your vocabulary.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Illustration from Rough Sketch to Final Painting

TOM:  Our picture book, A Peddler's Dream, is the story of Solomon Joseph Azar who comes to Texas from Lebanon in the early 1900s to seek his fortune. He starts out as a peddler, traveling the country roads with items that farm families need, such as calico, ribbon, thread, lace, suspenders, and spices. But Solomon's dream is to have a store of his own in Austin.

In order to draw I need visual references like these two, one of Congress Avenue in 1910, the other of a farm wagon out of a 1908 Sears Roebuck catalog.

Before beginning a full size sketch, I make a storyboard of thumbnail sketches of every scene in the book. This helps me see how illustrations flow from page to page.

Below is my first full size sketch of Solomon riding into Austin with a farmer who has befriended him.
The next step is to tape this sketch to the glass top of my light table and lay another sheet of paper over it. Then I can make changes in the lines I can see through the paper, like this one.
Here you can see that I changed the perspective angle and brought the farm wagon more into the picture.
Now a third drawing.
I have added more detail in this one. Since I like it, I go over the lines in ink. Then I lay a sheet of watercolor paper over this drawing. Even though it is thick the ink lines show through. I trace those lines in pencil, get out my watercolors and paint.