Mini-Interviews 2012

I think I'm kind of freaking out.

Do you ever compose a dialogue in your mind with a famous person while washing the dishes?  Maybe I'm completely alone in this practice, but I regularly interview people I admire while scrapping away at my panini press.  What is amazing (other than a Garlic Chicken Goat Cheese Panini) is that these interviews are coming true.  So I'm a bit excited.  A LOT a bit.

Since November is National Picture Book Month my fellow illustration buddies Juana Martinez Neal, Molly Idle, Laura Jacobsen and I will be hosting a series of Mini Interviews.  We will be relentlessly grilling those we admire, respect and secretly seethe with jealously over their abundance of talent.

Check out who we'll be featuring throughout the month this's pretty incredible...

Kevan Atteberry

Lynne Avril

Alexandra Ball

Alexandra Boiger

David Christiana

Kent Culotta

Adam Gustavson

Jeremy Holmes

Brian Karas

Kelly Light

John Parra

Greg Pizzoli

Amanda Shepherd

Mary Sullivan

Constanze Von Kitzing

Wendy Watson So stay posted!  You don't want to miss this exposition of talent coming straight at you!  And yes, sandwiches will be served.

Illustration Friday - Book

An illustration I got to do for the extremely cute and well designed magazine LMNOP.  It was a great assignment, the focus being on libraries and books.  Since I frequent the library almost as much as a 13 year old frequents You Tube, I've come up with some observations.  Namely being the noise level.  Libraries are just so cool now-with crafty interactive a-la Melissa and Doug puzzle/castles/installations.   There are toys.  EVERYWHERE.  Puppets, blocks, swirly things that I thought existed only in dentist offices.  And the trains.  Kids go into mini-seizures when there is new Fergus, Benedict, Rutger (whatever) train on the train table.   Sprinkled and tucked amidst the playtime chaos are the books.  Books just laying around, asking to be read.  "That kid take your puppet?  Forget-about-it...Read me instead", "Hey!  Hey!  Little girl with the tiara!  I'm the new Tangled book!"  I think that the librarians love the noise (to a certain decibel) because kids are developing an association between libraries and fun.  It's probably in some Library Manifesto to put up "quiet" signs, merely just for show.

Illustration Friday - Crooked

I got the opportunity to work recently with the magazine that without question had the largest influence on my desire to become an illustrator.  Grade school memories would be incomplete if I were not able to recall the days coming home from school, checking the mail and the surge of joy that followed when receiving the latest copy of "Cricket Magazine".  This magazine was a tiny folded and stapled trove of illustrations.  I would devour it within a few hours, examining every page.  Even into 7th grade, I would sneak my favorite copies into art class with me, completely ignoring the required assignment and copy the illustrations from "Cricket".  These illustrations would of course  later become illuminated manuscripts recounting the events of the day with witty 13 year old aphorisms such as "SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO LAME!" and "BBB!!!!!!" (bored beyond belief) and then thus folded in the intricate 7th-grade-girl-origami-note style.  I could never master the "heart" fold. This illustration will unfortunately not accompany me to pass off to my friend Lashawn while she waits outside the band room but thanks to the amazing AD Suzanne Beck will be featured in Cricket's other imprint magazine, "Spider" in January.

Where drawings go to die

I had a friend tell me once that an artist has a finite number of bad drawings within them and it was only a matter of doing enough drawing to reach that limit.  Very poetic and a positive way to look at things, but c'mon.  I can't believe that in it's totality.  Even Picasso did a couple eyesores, you just never saw them (except for this crazy long documentary where Picasso paints on glass and his eyes are bulging and the music is intense and the filmmakers are practically biting their nails bloody in anticipation for the next great masterpiece only to have him chuck it and do another painting in like a minute and a half).

So I needed to get some sketches done and as I started drawing that voice that we all have in the back of my head started in "And this is how I will ruin this beautiful white page in my sketchbook".  But instead of stopping and agreeing with said low self-esteem voice, I embraced it.  I celebrated it!  "Crappy drawing, I CELEBRATE you!"  The awkward, stiff, inflexible drawing came forth from the tip of the felt marker one of kids dropped on the floor and what I did next was a bit of an epiphany (or apostrophe - Hook).  I just kept them coming, one on top of the other until I had a sprawling field of dead drawings.  It was quiet cathartic in an abstract expressionist way.  But really, the whole exercise was process over product.  Getting over my fear of yet again not living up to my own standards and making an ugly page *gasp!* in my sketchbook.  If a sketchbook is filled cover to cover with unique and original fine tuned drawings, I have a hard time trusting that person.  I keep a close eye on my kids around them. In essence - dedicate a couple pages in your sketchbook to be a drawing graveyard.  Warm up on those pages and then move on until you've stretched those muscles enough.  Big dynamic stretches people!  Don't forget to breathe... inhale....and exhale....

Illustration Friday - Shiny

This little diddy was largely influenced by the art work of Jim Kay who illustrated the most amazing novel A Monster Call by the Patrick Ness. The story, narration and illustrations are haunting, tragic and beautiful.

So, as this book has burned an impression in my subconscious like a half remembered dream, I give you the humble magpie, hoarding her jewels.

Henry in Love

20120526-114312.jpg If you could incapsulate all the preadolescent angst of fear, friends and first love into the form of a minimalist illustrative cat and bunny, the distilled product would be in the form of a picture book. Specifically - it would be Henry in Love.

This is another library gem that I found and sub-sequentially purchased. In order for me to actually buy a book I have to LOVE it. You could say I fell in love with Henry in love. Hahaha I know, my wit knows no depths. But aside from my cleverness Peter McCarty has so masterfully taken a day in the life of a (cat) boy (not sparing the morning routine), his encounter with his first love and the sacrifices one makes for love.

The illustrations are delicious. Simple shapes, simple line drawings with spots of color which make a great impact. The writing is spot on, simply stated to express so much unspoken emotion.

So yeah - I loved this book and bought it. I wager to think that could feel my love through its sequence of ones and zeros because when I received it the first bookend sheet had this...


How freaking awesome is that?

Now run along and pick up a copy. Run as if running toward your true love.