Author: Mark Mitchell

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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Poster paint to set the scenes

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, perhaps as Ghibli Studio art director: Creating the backgrounds for Asao Takahata’s ‘animated drama’ (as Wikipedia describes it) Only Yesterday. The 1991 movie was based on on a children’s manga series by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone. Director Takahata, whose college major was French literature turned this child’s comic into more of...

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Backgrounds to transport you

Kazua Oga’s hand-painted backgrounds contribute hugely to the impact of The Tale of Princess Kaguya, as they have to all of the animated films he’s art directed. Illustrator Mariya Prytula steered me to this video,  At the Master’s Workshop.  We watches over his shoulder as the 62 year old Oga completes a scene, Paulowia Rain.  He ruminates a little on his process and how he starts with only a rough idea of the colors he’ll use for this nature vista that he’ll paint from his pencil sketch. Of course Oga’s notions of color are supported by a lifetime of painting natural settings for animations — perhaps most famously for the Hayao Miyazake movie My Neighbor...

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A Drawing Secret

Yes, please! I want to know the "crazy best" drawing secret!

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Video art lessons!

Richard Robinson Painting Instruction

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