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.

Inside a Crooked House

There was a crooked artist who every crooked day,

Walked a crooked path to a crooked room to play.

To awake a crooked brain (4 am’s a crooked time)

A crooked cuppa coffee helped these crooked words to rhyme!

Enter, and on your left is a place to spread out and play, look out the window and make art.

The eastern exposure is my favorite. So lovely to sit and daydream, read, or make art.

On the south wall is a place to snack, make a beverage, cut flowers or make art here too.

When you come back, you get start where you left off.  So go out and make art.

If you stand in the middle and spin around.

If you come upon a crooked house…….go on in and play.

There was a Crooked House

This is a crooked house from photo reference of a real playhouse.  I would love one of these in my backyard as a little hangout.  It inspired this little “Donna’s Weird Studio Rhymes”.

There was a crooked house that had a crooked stair,

Upon its crooked porch there sat a crooked chair,

On nearby crooked table a crooked sketchbook lay,

So any crooked artist could escape their crooked day.

Pitt Brush Pens on Moleskine sketchbook paper.

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.

Renee’s Sharpie Art All Stars Spend a Week in Paris

I received this great photograph from a friend who had such wonderful ideas for her Sharpie Art Converse All Stars.  It’s been two years since we made them and they still look great.  They even made it to Paris this Fall. I’m so jealous!!

The post of of how they were made is my most popular viewed article.  Check it out here.

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 and Ink “The Jackal and the Spring”

"Water is life."

This is Multiply Muse Disorder’s 100th post!!  The affliction is alive and well.

Continuing my folktale illustrations, I chose to work out “The Jackal and the Spring”.  These images tell the story about the animals getting together to dig a new well to feed their dried up watering hole.  Everyone pitches in except the jackal.  But when the water flows freely, he is there to drink.  Until an unlikey guard sends him on his way.

I feel sorry for the jackal in a way.  That is probably because I adore canines of all species.

Again I was inspired by traditional African kangha cloth that has elaborate borders, sometimes scenes within the borders and a little text box. Similar to “The Heart of a Monkey”.

"Hard work yields reward."

Watercolor and ink on Arches 140# watercolor paper with carved stamp borders.

"Laziness will not serve you."

Higgins Eternal black ink on Arches 140# watercolore paper with carved stamp borders.

"The might of the unlikely."