Author: Mark Mitchell

A workshop with illustrator Patrice Barton

A few years ago I talked with children’s book illustrator and friend Patty Barton in my classroom at The Contemporary Austin Art School about her illustration process. I’d recently bought my first ‘pocket camcorder’, a Kodak zi8, had never shot much digital video before and it certainly shows. The lens moves a lot. People still complain about it on YouTube. Toward the end of the clip, you can hear students arriving for class and moving their art tables across the floor.  Yet in our impromptu interview, over the room’s noise and mild confusion, Patty did a super job of show-and-telling her art-making process. She gave the camera a ‘picture walk’ of a couple of her latest picture books. The second of these was Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine written by Knopf editor Allison Wortche. I put some clips from our recording into a blog post that you can visit here. The post also shows the trailer for the book, Mine! by Shutta Crum (Penguin Random House.) Additionally, you’ll find a clip from our interview where Patty talks about creating the toddler characters for Shutta’s story. Patty is offering an online class on January 30 on Bringing Your Child Figures to Life. In the above video, she sums up what she feels is her most important illustration secret. She offers a simple sketch prompt for you. You can use this to enliven any art project or whatever...

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Award-winning children’s illustrator Terry Widener critiques Wednesday

Baseball, not illustration critiques, has been in the air all week. So we’re repurposing a video post that ran here a few years ago about illustrator Terry Widener, who is known for his masterful acrylic illustrations for children’s picture books  about famous athletes, especially baseball legends. Terry will be guest-instructing in November’s online group critique, this Wednesday, November 9. (That’s another reason we’re featuring him again here!) The interview videos below focus on the work he did on a PB biography of the greatest baseball player of all time, You Never Heard of Willie Mays!? by Jonah Winter (Schwartz & Wade/Random...

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Watercolor Wednesday – Paper as light: Wendy Artin

Cogent watercolor painting insights to be had in absorbing the watercolors of Wendy Artin, an American artist living in Rome. “She’s very unusual because she doesn’t sketch her subject first,” says Adele Chatfield-Taylor, president of the American Academy of Rome in this engrossing 2002 video. “She watches what the light creates in her composition and she paints that effect,” Chatfield continues. “In other words, She doesn’t even paint the figure. She paints the effect of the light on the figure.” Or to put it another way, Wendy paints shadows to reveal the form in the light. Sometimes it works...

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Smarter Dummies?

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 any illustrator’s proposal for one. The video below excerpts from the hour-long September 23 Google Hangout joined by Dani, NYC-based illustrated Traci Van Wagoner, Children’s Book Academy founder and director Mira Reisberg and me. You can catch the entire hour-long webinar via the opt-in page here....

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A timid dog finds a tender home in “Toby”

Acclimating to change, even a good change is not always easy, but love and patience help! That’s the theme in Hazel Mitchell’s debut picture book Toby (released this week  by Candlewick Press.) The beautifully drawn story will tug at the hearts of five-year-olds and adults alike. You can get a sense of that from the book trailer below, which Hazel made herself. Hazel has developed an effective process of drawing with a 6B pencil on either hot-pressed or cold-pressed watercolor paper, laying a watercolor wash (of either blue or burnt sienna, depending on the mood of the story) for an underpainting and...

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