Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do I Know You?

Exploring more characters. Often I will start a character sketch with quick drawings of real people, sometimes distorting the facial characteristics to create a less realistic character. Occasionally I know the people I sketch (and they me!) so to avoid any chance of someone recognizing him/herself - and not being flattered - those rough drawings never make it into the public eye. As for these sketches, "Any resemblance to actual people or events is purely coincidental".

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Path

I've been spending some time over the last few weeks concentrating less on characters and more on environment. This has led to experimenting with color (inspired by the amazing Peter Ferguson) and materials and techniques (taking pointers from one of my favorite pastel artists, Gary Kelley). This is one piece from those explorations. I am liking the intensity of color and strong contrasts I can get with the new pastels I am using.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Children's Book Week

This week (May 10-16) is Children's Book Week, a national celebration of children's books since 1919. Coordinated by Every Child a Reader and Children's Book Council, the week is noted for events and readings across the country (check with your local library and book store).  During the week, the Childrens Choices book award winners are also announced. Wondering what kids really like to read? Check out this year's finalists as well as the winners from previous years.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cover to Cover

I've been working on the cover for a children's book. My personal taste in children's book covers tends toward simple but dramatic composition with greater emphasis on the image than the title or other text. The covers of David Wiesner's Flotsam, Jon Muth's Zen Ties, and Kadir Nelson's Moses are example of how the masters do it. There is much to be learned! And so this task has gotten me to checking out what some others are thinking and saying about covers. Jacket Knack and Jacket Whys are specifcally about children's book covers and are definitely worth checking out.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I did this piece for today's Los Angeles Times. Lola Di Giulio De Maci wrote the delightful short story about rainbows. Each image brings its own challenges (this one: how not to be too "sweet" or cliched with an image of a rainbow). The LA Times' pieces also get printed on newsprint, which can significantly alter the colors and contrast of an image. I've tried to compensate with each of the pieces I've done for them, but I think this one reproduced the best so far. Any advice is most welcome!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

William Joyce

I try not to pass up opportunities to look at the original art of master illustrators. I was more than well rewarded at the Los Angeles Central Library show of William Joyce's gorgeous work. Joyce's brilliant use of color is particularly remarkable as he works from a palette of only 4 colors (plus black and white). Equally impressive are his monochromatic pencil drawings - subdued yet powerful in their ability to immediately engage the viewer. He is fearless in his compositions, often cropping in unexpected ways or quite comfortably incorporating large expanses of negative space. I ran across this video of Joyce talking about his stories, a welcome addition to his delightful The World of William Joyce. There's much to be learned from the great Mr. Joyce.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What I Did On My Vacation

I ended this past very intense fall semester with a long anticipated trip to Italy. Two weeks only began to scratch the surface of Venice, Florence, Siena, and Rome. The food, the art, the architecture - oh my! It will take me some time to integrate it all.

It snowed in Florence (a very rare occurrence) resulting in an eerie and magical disappearance of all motorized vehicles on the strangely quiet but beautiful white streets. This is a shot of Filippo Brunelleschi's Duomo covered in snow.

The residents of Florence are very friendly, but for the most part a rather business-like group. The adults "tolerated" this intrusion of weather. The children, as you can well imagine, went crazy! Coming from southern California, my travel group did too! It was the best.

Venice was just like I had seen in pictures -but never truly believed. Surely there must be autos on the streets just beyond the street not shown, I thought. Nope. No car to be found anywhere. Narrow streets and passageways barely wide enough for two people. I still don't understand entirely how the city functions (how do you move a grand piano? what about ambulances?). Guess I'll have to go back for more research.

This is a sketch of Siena, well known for its charm. As we were in Italy during record setting cold temperatures, sitting outside for a leisurely sketch was a rare option. We found the only cafe with outdoor heaters and a view. The view was easy to come by - everything about Siena is picturesque. Sigh.

I'm wondering what Italy's like in the summer. May just have to do some more onsite research.