How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator

Mark Mitchell's blog on children's book illustration and fine art fun

Children’s book illustration’

Smarter Dummies?

Smart Dummies logo by Dani Duck

Smart Dummies, Dani Duck‘s free month-long event for illustrators to get their creative juices flowing and picture book dummies going and growing launched after last week’s Google Live Event Thursday. We got to talk with Dani about this year’s challenge and why dummies (penciled mock-ups of the complete book or partial book) are central to… Read More

Sneak a peek at guest group critiques!

Sketch for Guest Group Critiques (May 24 session by Shannon Sanders

(Sketch by Shannon Sanders for May 24 Guest Group Critiques.) If you’ve ever taken a drawing or painting class, you’ve probably experienced some group critiques, when everyone puts their work up, the instructor talks and everyone just looks. I’ve always considered these to be the most fun and second most valuable (after ‘doing’ the art) – part of the art classes I’ve taken… Read More

Watercolor winter and inked lines that say Christmas

Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant

In 2002 a special picture book came out with exquisite Yuletide reminiscence by Newbery Medal author Cynthia Rylant and unforgettable watercolor and line art by Caldecott Honor illustrator Diane Goode. Author Julie Lake and I wanted to explore its pages with you on this Christmas Day, 2015! The book is Christmas in the Country (Scholastic) and you’ll want to have… Read More

Poster paint to set the scenes

Oga resized

I can’t get over these anime background artists with their battered brushes and messy jars of cheap paint. It’s fascinating to hear them talk and watch them at work. It’s children’s book illustration taken to the nth power. The below video delves deeper than we looked last time into the subject of anime backgrounds. It rests finally on Kazuo Oga’s most intense challenge,… Read More

The real Dr. Seuss

Green eggs and ham by Dr. Seuss

Yesterday elementary schools across the country pounced upon the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day and its patron saint, The Cat in the Hat — I mean, Dr. Seuss, aka Theodore Geisel. Three things you might not know about Geisel, whose March 2 birthdate the NEA commandeers evey year for its celebration of young readers and reading ed awareness: There really… Read More

Painting old buildings

Illustrator James Gurney at work

  Oh, my.  Yes, painting old buildings in watercolor not latex. You’ll want to see illustrator and fine-arts painter James Gurney dash off a plein air urbanscape — before the time’s up on his parking meter. Former National Geographic illustrator of archeological/historical subjects, author-illustrator of books for children and adults and an exquisite, if occasionally quirky teacher of drawing… Read More

Terrible in pink?

T is for Terrible

  A Terrible Lizard’s soliloquy moves us to empathy, or maybe not in the gorgeously tactile T is for Terrible (Macmillan)– a 2005 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year by Peter McCarty. Children’s novelist Julie Lake (Galveston’s Summer of the Storm) walks us through the Paleozoic pastel pages, while I handle the not-so-steadicam. We recorded after hours in  Julie’s primary school library that… Read More