Anatomy of an Illustration

I used to think that illustrations just “happened” the first time pen or pencil was set down on paper. I’ve since learned that many ideas, sketches and attemps leads to a satisfying image. I thought I would share my process of this little painting of Jody and Flag from the Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, 1938.

TN-Bears on the Road 110212Selected TN #3 110512Line Drawing 110712

Selected TN #7 111212

 Line Drawing 111312

Value Studies 111312

Several little scraps tracing paper, ink experiments and notes are always scattered around the art table.
Final Ink 121012 72 dpiDonna Jeanne Koepp

This is my submission to the SCBWI Tomie dePaola contest. Check out the submission gallery for many great black & white illustrations from The YearlingLittle Women and Tom Sawyer by SCBWI members.

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Watercolor Action-Harris Hawk, Cougar and Collared Lizard

First painting for an idea brewing.  I’m also, working with my SCBWI mentor to develop visual story telling.  I love when my idea cauldron is bubbling.  The fire was cold for a few weeks, but I’ve learned that the coolness is part of the creative process and as much as I don’t like it, I accept it.

Onward and Upward!!

A Favorite Story Illustrated in Watercolor

In 1967 I read a novel,Rascal, by Sterling North.  I wrote my usual book report and I got a bright, although not new, idea.  What if I drew a picture of the raccoon on the cover?  It wasn’t long before I had my classmates asking me to draw images on their report covers.  My fifth grade illustration business was born and I was paid in ice cream currency.  I’ve rekindled my love of of the story and am taking on the images that come to me now.

Watercolor Mice Inspired by 100 Year Old Flowers

If you have Multiple Muse Disorder, you know how easy it is to fall down a Rabbit Hole, or in this case a Mouse Hole.  My work illustrating Rascal, by Sterling North, sends me on a lot of research journeys, which I love.  When Sterling is mandated to get a collar and leash for his little pet, he goes to see Mr. Shadwick the harness maker.  The narrative of the story tells of Mr. Shadwick engraving Rascal’s name in the finest Spencerian script.

Well, I know a little about these scripts, but not a lot.  I have many wonderful calligraphy books and a really old book called Hill’s Manual of Business Forms and Guide to Correct Writing,1877.   The fun of getting really old books are the treasures that former owner’s leave in the pages.  Old stamps, news clippings, money (not yet, but someday) and in this case pressed flowers.  The name Emily is written over the name Lester Sullivan, so I’m assuming Emily owned this book at one time.  In the leaves of the book are a few clippings of poems, an ad for an Elmo treadle sewing machine from a Lyon Brothers formerly H. Wolf & Co. catalogue and pressed flowers.  Given the age of the book, the age of the ad and the assumption Emily wanted this sewing machine and she pressed the flowers, I’m guessing the flowers are over 100 years old.  So down the mouse-hole I go.

I figure I better brush up on Spencerian lettering to get my Rascal illustration authentic.  So I get out a Hunt pointed pen, oblique pen holder, guide lines from IAMPETH, Noodlers Black Ink, Bond practice paper and away I go.  But those flowers, what about those flowers?  Emily pressed them for something she wanted to make.  Cards, art, bookmarks are all possibilities.  That’s it, bookmarks.  And I’ll practice lettering on the back.  But I started practicing Engrosser’s Script (Copperplate), which I love, and still need to look at Spencerian, which is where this short story made long started and where I tripped and fell. 

What fun tumbling down the mouse-hole.  Thank you to Emily, this week’s muse.

Why mice?  I dreamed they used the flowers as parasols.

Studio Makeover

First, I must say in my loudest outside voice, that I’m GRATEFUL to have a space to make art and call my own.  When we moved into our new home twelve years ago, this space was the previous owner’s “man cave”.  But I claimed it the first day.  The windows are east facing, the ceiling is coffered and it fits all of my stuff.  Except my textile, embroidery, knitting stuff in the extra bedroom closet, but that’s for another day.

Having Multiple Muse Disorder means that interests, desires and manifestations of many creative paths must get out somewhere.  White Wolf Studio is the place where my artistic visions dream, breathe and live.  But with that comes “stuff”.  All good stuff, but I can get myself stuffed with stuff pretty quickly.  I love to try stuff, buy stuff and ultimately stack stuff.  I’m such a stack rat.  So……..I took about 12 hours of my time off from work and this is the result.  It may not be as glossy as some of those great “Studio” magazines or as interesting as Lynn Perrella’s “Art Making & Studio Spaces”, and even as I post these pictures it may not seem like such a big deal.  But I’m ready for 2012 and my space is open, breathing and full of life and potential.

Before. Check out the upper book shelf, sheeeeesh!!

After. Select a book without danger and press fabric.

After. Ahhhhhhhh!!

Before. Full sheet of watercolor paper? Not thinking so.

Before. Dusting nightmare.

After. Dusted for another 6 months.

After. Oh, there are those due dates.

Before. There's a project board here somewhere.

After. Hey, room for my hands to find stuff.

Before. All those tracing, sketches, prelims really need a home.

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Connie Furgason's class at Berkeley, CA 2007 with my friend and calligrapher Carol Pallesen of the Silent Hand Scriptorium, Reno, NV.

And then there are those gems I find when I sort, purge and toss bits and bobs that just can’t go in the bin.

Following Yonder Start

This year I couldn’t get “We Three Kings” out of my head.  So I started down the path of sketching the Kings bearing gifts.  But, again, my love of animals overtook my desire to paint more humans.  So the camels set out on their own, without their Kings, to see what the heck was under that awesome and brilliant star.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

HAPPY, PROSPEROUS AND CREATIVE 2012

Watercolor Cover Project – Green Valley Library

Green Valley Library in Henderson, Nevada is hosting an art show featuring the 125 books High School student must read.  I drew a number out of a virtual hat and selected the book, “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe.  A book I had never read, or even heard of.  I downloaded the unabridged audio version and listened two times through.

Okonkwo is a man who is pulled in many directions his entire life.  He is a traditional man in all areas of living, but unbalanced in many ways.  But when missionairies come to the clan, he faces his biggest challenge.

This is not an overly exciting story, but I found it very intriguing and a gripping story of life in a pre 1900’s African clan.