Illustrating with watercolor requires deliberate thinking about the pattern of darks in the overall composition. Darks are the most interesting part of a painting’s value pattern (light, midtone and dark configuration.) In recent weeks we’ve been on the subject of ‘pushing the darks’ — especially in watercolor. I can’t let the topic pass without sharing this video. We previously enjoyed the demo and the watercolor charger gadget devised by UK landscape painter John Salmon. Prepare to be stunned by the confident watercolor portraiture of Hangel Montero. (Isn’t YouTube a boon for painters everywhere?)

In 1975 the Spanish painter, teacher and attorney founded the first Gallery of Art in Motril, Spain where he had his first one-man portrait exhibition. At the same time he worked as art critic for the Granada newspaper Patria, hosted an art criticism show for the Moril radio station and studied at the School of Law in Granada. Today he practices law and paints. I first linked to this video on E-Painting Instruction blog on August 29, 2012. Since we’ve been talking about watercolor darks and since so many people enjoyed Montero’s video of capturing this little boy’s portrait last time, it’s time to bring him back.

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On painting watercolors of children: A workshop by Kathy Jurek (recording)

Click on the graphic to learn more about Kathy Jurek's workshop video!

 Click here or on the above graphic to learn more about Kathy’s online video.

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Austin SCBWI website header art by Marsha Riti

Austin SCBWI website header art by Marsha Riti

Ready for the Writer’s and Illustrator’s Working Conference?

Author Bethany Hegedus

Author Bethany Hegedus

Check out the short interviews with wonderful picture book authors Chris Barton (Shark vs. Train) and Bethany Hegedus (Grandfather Gandhi.)  They’re faculty from the Austin contingent of SCBWI who’ll join other children’s book industry professionals to answer your questions Austin, Texas Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s (SCBWI) annual conference coming in just a few weeks.

Registration is underway here for the March 7-8 2015 event that will feature, in addition to Bethany and Chris, Chronicle Books children’s division art director Kristine Brogno,  Beach Lane Books Publishing senior editor Aubrey Poole,  literary agents Jill Grinberg and Victoria Wells Arms and authors and author-llustrators Don Tate, Chris Barton, C.S. Jennings and Emma Virjan. Give yourself the gift of Awesome by partying with us down in Austin!

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Marks and Splashes course banner

A Ho-Ho-Ho Sale! 20 percent off the Marks and Splashes course

It’s that time of year and the special sale code:  2014CHRISTMAS  will get you 20 percent off the regular tuition for Mark Mitchell’s incomparable Make Your Marks and Splashes! online course on children’s book illustration. (Yes, that’s me, if you’re wondering.)

Enjoy lively lessons, video interviews with illustrators, a supportive student community and three months of critiques of your work in fun, constructive live sessions. Learn more here — and don’t forget to paste in that holidays sale code! 2014CHRISTMAS  (It will be active through January 7.)

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Secrets of writing ‘Chapter Books’ direct from authors and editors in the genre

The Chapter Book Alchemists

Students are raving about how much they enjoyed and learned from Mira Reisberg’s recent Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books. The latest offering from Mira’s Children’s Book Academy promises to be yet another knock-it-out-of-the-park learnfests that we’ve come to expect from her in the kidlit craft/creation genre.

It’s called The Chapter Book Alchemist and it’s about the book genre so popular with early readers age 6 to 9. Not only are Chapter Books a favorite traditional category  in children’s publishing, they can be one of the most wildly creative for author-illustrators, incorporating all kinds of design and imagery possibilities, including lots of black and white illustration.

Chapter Book Alchemist e-course

You’ll meet and learn from award-winning children’s book author (and former New York City comedian) Hillary Homzie, and an advisory pro team of top practioners and editors, along with your moderator-mentors, author-illustrator Mira Reisberg and reading specialist Mandy Yates. Get the scoop and see the introductory video with Hillary Homzie here

It starts January 12 and runs for five bustling, people and insider info-packed weeks. Registration has begun and you can read more about it here.

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Get on board for Zero and One!

Zero and One KicksCheck out the new publisher’s Kickstarter campaign by my friends, author-inventor Jeff Byington and folk artist, graphic designer and illustrator Kim Frey. Jeff and Kim are pathfinding members of the Marks and Splashes Online Learning Community. 

Their Kickstarter is for upgraded paperback and eBook versions of their picture book for all ages, Zero and One, as well as a hardback and coloring book versions, t-shirt, character prints and presentations. You can learn more and support them here.