We don’t purport to cover the entire waterfront here. But every once in a while it’s fun to do a roundup of children’s book illustration items, which is another way of saying “string some things together that aren’t really related.”
Or lazy writing, in other words. But hey — it’s summertime in Central Texas.
So let me start with this image of a few Inklings basking in the July heat at the Central Market Cafe. It’s a children’s picture book critique group under the Austin, Texas Chapter of SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.)
We’ll read each others’ stories aloud or leaf through a portfolio or a storyboard or bring our latest book discoveries.
Mostly we all talk at the same time, like the mice in Diane Stanley’s The Conversation Club.
(Left to right: Louise Shelby, Amy Farrier, Torran Anderson, Salima Alikhn and Marsha Riti. I don’t think they’ve had their second cups of coffee yet.)
One Bright Afternoon
was enjoyed by picture book author Chris Barton and many fans at his debut signing at BookPeople earlier this month.
The Day Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand New Colors (Charlesbridge Publishers 2009) is narrative science writing for kids at its best.
It’s illustrated in a smart & sassy 1950s cartoon style by Tony Persiani (with day-glo spots evocative of old time color separated-illustrations)
The combination of crisp text that keeps you excitedly turning pages and plentiful, high energy art that suits the narrative perfectly has garnered starred reviews for the book in Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal.
Which is a little like lightning striking three times (in a good way.)
It’s not a well known story and Barton had to research much of it first-hand with interviews of suviving Switzer family members.
Through years of trial and error and a few happy accidents the brothers learned how certain resin and dye mixtures resulted in a color that was “oranger-than-orange.” Their experiments began as an enhancement to one brother’s magic act — and led to massive production of the paint during World War Two. (The colors we take for granted today as “Day-Glo” were used mainly for signaling and signage that aided in rescues and prevented untold accident casualties.)
The book unfolds as a joyous experience of discovery for the reader.
Chris, a young helper and standing-room-only crowd at Austin’s BookPeople July 11. Photo by Donna Bowman Bratton
These days, some of the best information on children’s book illustration is
Found on the Blogs
English illustrator and author Lynn Chapman shows us “before and after” versions of a double page spread for an assignment — with her ‘notes to self’ scrawled on drawings or copies of them. You’ll find these on her blog, An Illustrator’s Life For Me
She’s just mailed in final art for Bears on the Stairs by Julia Jarman. Now she’s waiting to hear about the changes she’ll have to make.
Vancouver illustrator Kirsti Anne Wakelin in her blog My Secret Elephant talks about her tools and how she uses reference in her work — and shows us her line art for a dummy she’s been working on this year. Click on the tab that says “Illustration Process” for progress reports on her book assignment.
James Gurney Amazes…
He shares a lot of art instruction here and even allows you to look over his shoulder as he works over his drawing board, via close-up photos and videos. It’s a treat.
In the post series below you’ll see him complete a commissioned poster for an upcoming festival in France. Then you’ll know why his work is so good. (He goes the extra mile!)
Jumping Juxtapositions, Batman!
In a second interview with Blevis, Colón goes into more detail about how he and his illustration students find inspiration bumping unrelated subjects and themes into each other, the way Stanley Kubrick paired The Blue Danube Waltz with his shots of the massive spacecraft in 2001, A Space Odyssey.
A post on Lateral Action, a blog on creativity, says researchers have found that multi-tasking can reduce your performance level to that of someone who is inebriated.
Did you Eat, Stanley?
(Stanley’s hungry because he missed breakfast. When the judges pass him by, he leads his foo-fooed, four-footed fellow contestants on a gambit to turn the table (literally) on the show’s organizers.
The infectiously fun, warm ‘n fuzzy textured illustrations are by prolific children’s book artist Bill Slavin.
Famous illustrators are included Publisher’s Weekly’s exerpt from Anita Sibley’s new book Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Children’s Book (Roaring Brook.)
My favorite part: Thatcher Hurd commenting on Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. He refers to Mr. Toad as “surely the id personified.”
Illustration by Ernest Shepard.
Click on “Leave a comment” at the top of the post — to open the op-ed page and share your thoughts on the post items there.
For 12 free tutorials on using color with cunning click here.