Yesterday I had the absolute joy of experimenting and getting to grips with photoshop. I was motivated to reproduce a pop-up piece I did for The 52 Week Illustration Challenge last year. It came together surprisingly quickly.
I’ve had a day day of messing around and experimenting. I listened to a gorgeous podcast interview between Wil Anderson and Bryony Kimmings yesterday (Wilsophy). She said something fabulous about being an artist, something along the lines of not understanding why artists are so self important and claim that making art so so hard…..it’s not hard, it’s just playing and experimenting. Loved it.
Week 3 ‘Retro’ The inspiration for this was 50s dress pattern covers. i’m not sure it’s very successful because it was hurried a bit.
This is today’s effort. Week 4 ‘Insect’. My youngest has been enjoying reading Mary Norton’s ‘The Borrowers’. This is taken from the scene when Arrietty experiences the garden for the first time: “An ant came hurrying in a busy zig-zag. She danced in front of it to tease it and put her foot out. It stared at her, non-plussed…”
And here is one of my favourite pictures of my two older girls many years ago when the oldest was about to start school. The younger one would never admit it now but she still watches her older sister very carefully.
I thought I’d go for a dramatic title. You never know, it might generate more hits. I think the majority of those hits will probably be hugely disappointed though…..
I swear I don’t know what happened this summer. A series of gorgeous days out and trips to the beach, and its all over. Christmas came and went and the kids started school and now it’s Easter in the blink of an eye. But I’ve been spending the past six weeks painting the finals for another Christmas book! (yes, that’s where the title comes in. Confused? Not as much as me) Yep, that’s four Christmas books now! It’s like I’m turning into one of those crazy people who wants it to be Christmas all year round. It’s fun though. I had to reinvent Santa this time and gave him an eccentric 1940’s pilot look.
I’m sad to say that ‘Little Red Boots’ has been delayed. It wont be available until August now. It gives me a chance to organise some workshops around it for later in the year though. New Frontier are promoting it to the international market at Bologna though, so that’s exciting.
Last year I illustrated a book named ‘A Secret Safe to Tell’. I must admit it was a confronting a difficult book to illustrate but it felt like the right thing to do. Since the book was published earlier this year I have had the pleasure of getting to know the author and now consider her a good friend. She and her husband have worked tirelessly to promote the book and its message. It aims to encourage children who are victims of abuse to speak out and find some one they trust. The books words and illustrations are not scary or inaccessible to children in any way. In my experience it allows children to talk about important questions and issues freely.
I have been continually amazed at how much Naomi Hunter (the author) has promoted the book through radio and press interviews. We are all very excited that she has been interviewed by the current affairs program ‘The Project’. It will be aired on Channel 10 Thursday 9th October at 6.30pm.
A few weeks ago I watched a video by an illustrator. It was a talk on her work practices. She bordered of being OCD but her approach was something I feel I’d like to adopt. It centred around systematically and routinely creating according to rules and commitment. Sounds really boring and not at all artistic but the results were often very beautiful and led on to unexpected discoveries.
It made me think of the last time I approached something in this way, unrelated to creating a book. Last year I took part in the Sketchbook Project. Despite having other work that needed to be done I somehow fitting in creating a pop-up book by hand. I had no plan for it before I started, just a set of rules. It was a diary, and by the time it was finished I was very happy with the results. It’s now archived in the New York library and I’m hoping that one of my kids will go and look it up sometime. On Tuesday this week I met an old friend who is now working in a local gallery and she said she’d printed off some examples from it for use in gallery education for kids. I don’t know how it worked but I was thrilled that it had been used in this context.
So it’s Sketchbook Project time again! The book has been sitting on my desk for quite a while so I’ve decided to impose some rules;
1/ Deadline in 8 weeks. 10th Sept.
2/ At least 2 pieces a week, sometimes 3.
3/ 18 double page spreads.
4/ Don’t overthink it. It’s a sketchbook.
5/ Use random selections of words and phrases from a favourite novel as inspiration and page titles.
6/ Each page must include collage.
7/Copy and post each page before constructing the book
Sometimes it’s really great to just empty your head and draw. I watched a little video of Shaun Tan talking about how he approaches starting a book. He said most of the time it starts with a bunch of drawings that seemingly come from nowhere. Here’s the result of my drawing daydream.
I thought I’d try to start the day with a random sketch. I went for a particularly blowy walk on the beach this morning. The dogs had heaps of fun….I was going to say they had a ball but realised they are dogs and that could be misunderstood. They’re not intelligent enough for a ball, they prefer to bark at the waves very stupidly.