P.J. Lynch: Story illustration A-Z
The childhood thrill of make-believe looms large for Dublin-based artist P.J. Lynch, 2X winner of England’s Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration. He may not come out and say this. But you can’t feel it in his children’s book illustrations and murals, YouTube videos, and lectures about art and painting in Ireland and the U.S.
He puts pretending first, which makes his formidable technical skills as a draftsman and painter accessible to all.
In the video, Lynch shows us how he acted out the character roles for one of the large panel paintings.
Illustrators are actors, as Howard Pyle suggested to his students more than 100 years ago.
In the above BBC film, short Lynch talks about illustrating the old Norwegian folk tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon and how he asked his mom, girlfriend, neighbor “and anyone who was handy” to pose for him as characters in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
In the videos above and below an older Lynch walks us through the stages of creating illustrations for American Frank Stockton’s The Bee-man of Orn.
He shows us how he uses the computer to re-arrange his drawings and compose his scenes to best effect.
Elements from his piles of sketches can be “moved about like paper cut-outs,” he says.
“The great thing is they can be enlarged or reduced and you can even change the shape of them. You can even flip them over, like this…”
“Then all I have to do is paint the pictures,” Lynch says with a hint of drollness.
Some of these pictures will take up to a month to complete, he says. He’ll make sketch after sketch “before the image ever starts to take shape.”
His watercolor demo speaks for itself. In the end, he adds touches of gouache for highlights. You’ll enjoy peeking into his blog, where you’ll find more examples of his spellbinding art.
Check out illustrator and teacher Will Terry’s guest post on preparing your picture book dummy to send to publishers. The post is part of the terrific on-going PBDummy Challenge series by illustrators on the #KidLitArt blog.
Will offers some great video courses on illustration and other art-making at his Folio Academy website. My favorites are How to Illustrate a Children’s Book and his two Photoshop video courses. You can read more about them here.
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Are you interested in writing children’s books as well as taking pictures for them? You can download two free examination copies of the Children’s Writer newsletter at the newsletter’s website here.
The newsletter is a publication of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Writer Mary Furlong has profiled Make Your Splashes – Make Your Marks! (On Your Mark, Get Set…Illustrate!) in this month’s edition of the Children’s Writer (June 2012).
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