Monday, December 30, 2013
This is a Christian tradition, of course. Yet the desire to bring light into the darkness, and love into sorrow, is universal, and is found in philosophies and beliefs all over the world. During this time of the year, an old celestial cycle is ending, and a new one is beginning. The lengthening nights have slowly turned, once again, toward the return of the light-giving sun. Let's now grasp the light and love that is given to us, and take it with us. Let's carry it into our homes, and into our hearts.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
...and the flyleaf of another copy of this book. A colleague of mine, seeing the same flyleafs, wrote, "These inscriptions are very moving, and renew my faith in the tender, sacred quality shared between children and those close to them through children's books. Seeing these handwritten notes is quite touching. Yes, all the work and effort put into creating good children's books is so worthwhile." Could we, as writers and illustrators of books for children, leave behind any better legacy?
Friday, December 13, 2013
As an adult I discovered more of Gannett's work. I marvel always at the clarity, boldness, vigor, and sure hand of her work.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
And he clearly was well acquainted with the animals he portrayed in his illustrations. He's one of the few illustrators about whom I've thought, "If only I could illustrate like THAT."
Once again, I have felt quite frustrated as I've searched online for information in preparing this birthday-of-the-month post. I've been stymied by the lack of online information about whatever illustrator I've chosen, and often an illustrator I've thought of is not anywhere to be found. I've also been very disappointed to find hardly anything about female illustrators from these earlier times. There were many women, too, in this field---women of great skill and reputation; and yet it's almost impossible to find anything at all about them online. I plan to find some good old-fashioned BOOKS about these artists as I continue this series in the new year; and I also keep thinking that in my "spare time" I ought to begin creating an online treasury and directory, to honor and acknowledge these artists who were the founders, in a sense, of the great field of modern children's book illustration that we have today.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The sun setting over a frigid and snow-clad community was a signal to folk---animal or human---that it was time to scurry for home, warm hearths, and tasty stews. But it was also a symbol and a reminder of the setting of one season, and the advent of another.
It was a signal to settle in for the long winter to come---in burrows, nests, hollow trees, or clapboarded buildings---that were hopefully well-stocked with food and fuel.
And at the very end of the day, we hoped that for everyone---furred, feathered, scaled, or naked---there was a cozy bed, a goodnight hug, and comforting dreams of the return to light and warmth.
Monday, November 25, 2013
I wish you all a Thanksgiving full of love, the community of family and friends, and "cake upon the table."
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Then a good friend introduced me to Disney films like Snow White. (No, I never saw these films until I was an adult---but that's another blog post.)
Tenggren was a major contributor to these films, creating huge amounts of artwork, and of ideas (though he was never credited at the time). I was stunned by the visual power and beauty of these films, particularly the backgrounds and scene settings.
Monday, November 11, 2013
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression will be hosting its annual holiday auction of art from children's books later this month. The auction begins November 26 and ends December 2 (https://abffe.site-ym.com). Proceeds from the auction go towards support of ABFFE's programming and advocacy work. This is your chance to purchase art by some of today's finestillustrators of books for children, while supporting a worthy cause. My donation will be the art that I created as a demo for my previous blog THE 3-COLOR PALETTE. (Blogger will not let me add the link here, but you can find the post on the Blog Archive list at the right.) I can't think of a better use for this little piece than to ask it to help out with the ABFFE'S efforts.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I've been emphasizing that one does not need a huge palette in order to achieve a variety of results. (See my earlier posts on this topic: http://thewendywatsonblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-palette.html, http://thewendywatsonblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-palette-continued.html) I was reminded of an exercise that my grandfather Ernest W. Watson suggested in his book ERNEST W. WATSON'S SKETCH DIARY: try painting with a palette of just 3 colors. I chose yellow ochre, light red, and Winsor blue as my palette for this demonstration.
In this version, the 3 colors are again of fairly equal importance, but the overall effect is rather different from the first example.
In this example, the blue is clearly the dominant color, and there are only bare touches of the red and yellow. But again, the effect does not feel "limited". You will notice that all 3 of these images do consistently "go together" in the sense of feeling as though they are from the same pictorial family. This is one of the huge boosts the illustrator receives when using a limited palette. A limited palette almost automatically produces art that is consistent throughout a book or project. And once again, in this post I'm preaching my strong belief that the artist does not need a huge array of materials in order to produce beautiful work. Instead, I suggest that the artist choose carefully a small arsenal of high-quality tools, and then learn through trial and error how to get the absolute most out of each one of them.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
In contrast, for this illustration, from my book JAMIE'S STORY, I avoided the earth colors almost completely. Instead, I focused on my purple, rose, cerulean blue, and cadmium yellows. Greens were created from the blue and the yellow, keeping all the colors cool, clear, and vibrant.
In this illustration, from WENDY WATSON'S FROG WENT A-COURTING, I also stayed away from the earth colors, but concentrated this time on all the variations of blues, greens, and yellows that I could come up with. Touches of pinks and reds warmed the image, and the color scheme overall is one of pastels---very suitable for this spring-time tale of love.
In this illustration from FOX WENT OUT ON A CHILLY NIGHT, I've gone back to my earth colors, but have also relied heavily on reds and yellows. And the color itself is strong, deep, sturdy, and vigorous---no pastels here. A very appropriate approach for this old American folk song.
In this illustration from John Bierhorst's IS MY FRIEND AT HOME, I relied very heavily on all of my earth colors, especially yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and light red, to reflect the Southwestern locale, but I also incorporated a strong element of darkened blues, purples, and greens. These acted as a cool counter-balance and framing device for all the warm earth colors, and also echoed that cold, dark aspect of the desert.
Several examples of what can be done with the same limited palette---and I've barely scratched the surface.