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.

Harris Hawk Pencil Studies

I’m off and running on my SCBWI Mentor Program assignments.  I’m so excited and fortunate to be working with Deborah Nourse Lattimore. At our Tahoe Retreat one-on-one, me and Deborah set up some assignments for the next six months.  Get to know three animals really well with a pencil.  Here is the first.

It just so happens that the Illustration Friday Prompt is “sight”.

Cover Art Challenge – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

ThinkArt challenges Nevada Artists with projects of many kinds. The most recent one is to re-illustrate the covers of the Harry Potter series.  I was randomly given book two The Chamber of Secrets. The only restriction was to use the original Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling   font.  The art is pencil on Aquabee Charcoal Paper.  Text was drawn and added in Photo Shop.

A quick tour through pencil thoughts arriving at the final art.

Thank you to Dinh, Elaine, Pablo, Brian, Liz, Jessica, Evan and Jimmy for your critique, support and guidance.  This was really fun (not easy) to work through.

What’s on my Desk

I recently applied for the SCBWI Mentor Program.  Part of my application was to submit a one page Artist Statement.  As I thought back to my first illustrations, I remembered that I illustrated my book report cover for “Rascal” by Sterling North.  It was a pencil drawing on red construction paper of a raccoon in a tire swing.  It wasn’t long before my classmates were hiring me to create their covers too.  The price, one ice cream bar.

I decided to go back to that time and illustrate the cover again.  My plan is to create the cover, three interior spot illustrations and chapter illuminated letters.  I’ve listened to the audio book twice and will go borrow the book from the library to get the chapter breaks correct. 

By the way, it is a charming story of 1918 America during WWI, the war to end all wars.  Even during dark times, kids always seem to find a way to make their lives whole.  Sometimes animals and their connections to us are just the thing that keeps us grounded on our planet.

Thumbnail pencil sketches getting to know the animal characters in "Rascal".

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.