Author: Mark Mitchell

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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Sneak a peek at guest group critiques!

(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 in my life. I’ve talked to many illustrators and fine artists who feel the same way. No surprise there! Critiques are a key way artists learn. The tradition goes back to the ateliers of the 19th century and before that, the master and apprentice arrangements of the Renaissance...

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Funny bunnies – an artist’s perspective

Oh my gosh. It rhymes and shows bunny children with only half their clothes on sometimes. Despite such notorious picture book no-no’s, I think you’ll quickly bond with this furry rodent family and their quaint fixer-upper on the river’s edge. Children’s novelist Julie Lake (Galveston: Summer of the Storm, Texas Christian University Press) and I take a ‘picture walk’ through the illustrations of Nancy Hayashi for Cynthia Rylant’s classic bedtime tale Bunny Bungalow (Harcourt Brace & Company. 1999) In an interview with one of her authors, Diane Adams, Ms. Hayashi said she broke into the business after submitting one of her own picture book dummies to Harcourt Brace. The...

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Children’s Illustration: Completely Different

In last month’s marvelous Group Critique of children’s illustration by Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Denise Fleming and the popular writing teacher Jodell Sadler, we heard something – I can’t think of a better adjective for it now – disruptive. As she relaxed toward the end of the generous two-plus hour critique, Denise talked about the joy and the imperative, really of learning to work with new materials and hands-on crafts. Nothing digital, but all kinds of different, physical art materials. You can catch these comments in the below clip: Discover Marks & Splashes Guest Group Critiques and how to subscribe. Fleming’s colorful picture books for very young children are a staple...

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Watercolor winter and inked lines that say Christmas

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 this on your shelf along with other stunning books by Cynthia Rylant and Diane Goode. Thank you for stopping by. Julie and I wish you a heartfelt Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with progress, light and love.      ...

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