Knowing as we do that drawing children, people and animals is the stock in trade of the children’s book illustrator, let’s draw a difficult animal subject today.
We’ve brought in guest instructor Jon Gnagy to help walk us through it.
Gnagy was the best drawing teacher (maybe the only drawing teacher?) on television. He taught Andy Warhol and millions of other American kids to draw during the 1950’s.
I can’t say that he taught me exactly, though maybe he did, but he was a little advanced. I was all of three years old when my mother (a painter) and I would watch his show together.
But I think he planted lots of seeds and questions in my unconscious. I remember even at that tender age being flabbergasted by his demos. “How does he know this stuff?” I remember asking myself. I still wonder about that.
‘Old School’ drawing doesn’t seem to go out of style. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a courthouse mural by Thomas Hart Benton or a children’s book illustration by Marla Frazee or Tasha Tudor or Robert McCloskey. It just always stays cool. Ask any kid.
The graphic images Marla Frazee renders with such assurance resemble the classic book illustrations of — well, the Jon Gnagy days, the 1950s. They don’t feel ‘dated’ because they bring us kids, people, animals and landscapes that kids (and the kid in us) can relate to. These subjects when rendered capably seem only to accrue in value.
For a better look at Marla’s work, here’s an animated trailer for All the World, a picture book illustrated by Frazee and penned by poet Liz Garton Scanlon.
Yes, I know that both of them and the book and Jon Gnagy, too have been on this blog before. (Good subjects deserve repeated mentions. )
Scanlon and Frazee are scheduled to talk about their work together at the Austin SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) annual conference Destination Publication on Saturday Saturday, January 30, 2010. Caldecott Honor artist Frazee will deliver the keynote for illustrators and also reviewportfolios, as will talented illustrator Patrice Barton.
Find the full conference lowdown and registration form here.
Henry Holt Books for Young Readers Creative Director Patrick Collins will review portfolios a month later at the Houston SCBWI conference.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 20, 2010 and download information and a registration form for the Houston conference here.
An editor told Liz that she had “an eye for observation and an ear for rhyme.”So she focused on these strengths to produce her picture book poem All the World that is now garnering great reviews and making all the right 2009 book lists, including most recently a Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. * * * * *
Author-illustrator Mark Mitchell hosts this blog. Mark teaches children’s book illustration at the Art School at the Austin Museum of Art and through the “Make Your Splashes; Make Your Marks!” online course.
I really enjoyed your website! Your book reviews are wonderful reading. Have you heard of Danny the Dragon? It’s worth a review: http://DannyTheDragon.com Please let me know if you are interested in reviewing this nominee for Best Children’s Book of 2009! info@DannyTheDragon.com Thank you, Rosie
Great post–I can’t believe I haven’t thought about Gnagy in so many years, even though he *totally* taught me how to draw with that box kit. So awesome.
I’m interested to know what you consider “Old School” drawing. I mean, it’s kind of something you know when you see it, but I wonder if you can pinpoint it.