This is my journey in creating concepts, writing, illustrating, finding a literary agent, and becoming a published children's book author and illustrator for the picture book genre.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Sprite of my heart...

This little guy has been a constant in my illustrating adventures.  After a small hiatus of creating and illustrating, he has inspired me to continue to create in the realms of ponds, forests, and meadows. Although this sprite resembles the leaves of his home, he has his sprite glow that reminds us all how special and magical he really is. I decided to utilize coloring pencils in creating this illustration. The end result is a mixed media illustration. I have a few tools that I like to use to make my end results pop. Colored pencils allow me to practice my blending technique and achieve the whimsy that this illustration needed. After scanning in an illustration, the colors need to be tweaked digitally to mimic the original. I utilized a small amount of light adjustment to achieve that affect. Here is my sketch to color.
 I have a feeling you shall see more of him in the near future. Let's see what kind of adventure we shall send this little sprite on :) Below is the final product of my little sprite as we catch him in the leaves surrounding a single blooming flower.
A sprite would be hard to see in a park or forest as he seems to camouflage with his surroundings. His soft glow mimics that of a firefly glowing in the warm meadows of the southern summer sunset. It is a soft glow. The nurturing light of this forest sprite heals the broken earth beneath his wings. His soft yellow light is one of a kind. This sprite has never seen another that resembles the reflection he sees in the waters of the bordering pond. From the flowers of the bordering pond, he came into this world sheltered by its mothering and protective pinkish-yellow petals. Not another flower of its kind bloomed in his life time until now. Maybe he is not alone. Another Sprite has been born to the forest. Can they, together, heal the broken soil of their mother, Earth? The flower has bloomed, but where is the sprite friend he has expected to see within those sheltering petals?
Let us see where our story will go. Where will the art take us? Will our lands be healed or will the earth wither away into a brown and lifeless decay?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Creating and Coffee

Character development begins within my head. I go outside into my garden and let my imagination drift into a realm of open possibilities. What else can reside within the green vines and purple flowers that flourish in the shade of the pink magnolia tree? Does it have a story? What conflicts would the character have to overcome? Finally, would my children love the character? Utilizing the landscape provided by mother nature, I will sketch what my mind's eye envisions. This is how I created my sweet sprite character. 
My illustration of him creates his voice through his body language. It directly relates to his character and the kind of journey he will have. Once I create the illustration, I can create a dialogue to accompany the story. I must admit, though. My illustrations drive the story. 
There is a game I like to play with the preschoolers. I like to ask them "what do you see?". They create their interpretation of the story based on the illustrations before them. It is a great game that pushes my art forward. 
Here is the latest that I started working on today. This piece will be in pencil. So, what do you see? I will post the finished product when I am finished. Is there a story here? Is it a narrative piece? When I was sketching this, I imagined text on the side. 

Yes, coffee. Oh, how I love coffee. It is by my side as I draw. It is a big part of my creative process. I have a routine. There must be a warm drink at my side as I plot my artwork and write the text. Coffee is aid to my inspiration. Tea is substituted at times. It is that warm drink in my hands that helps inspire the words and engage my creativity. I think I am due for my second cup. Cheers, friends. Have a cup of coffee with me!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Working with the ages of 3-5 has really opened my eyes to what children are looking for in their books and illustration. They want a story. They appreciate the use of color. Life is a mystery and its occupants are stories waiting to be read. On e of the students in preschool shared a story with me about a faceless woman. Her face was on a cookie that had ran away from the bakery. This story had adventure. It had a plot. Fear not. The faceless woman found the face-bearing cookie by using her sense of smell to find the runaway cookie. She kissed the cookie and her face re appeared. the world was a happy place full of faces, cookie scents, and bakeries for as long as the eye could see.
As adults, we write a story that we are confident a child will like, but do we think like the child? An art director once critiques my work by telling me that it was too bright. I should consider a darker palette. Truth be told, I tested this out in the class of 3-4 year olds. The results were....COLORS! Art is very subjective and trends change like the winds, but I will continue to try and push the envelope with what I can illustrate.  
When visiting the conferences, they continue to state in repetition-"know your books". I can honestly say that I have been very immersed into the books that have inspired me. Reading to a class of little ones daily really helps you to see what captures their attention. What is your favorite children's book out on the market at this time?
I really love "Stuck" by Oliver Jeffers. It offers a scenario that turns into an adventure. It has a great end, too. The illustrations are lovely and juvenille. They are a different style than what I offer, but I love it!