Friday, June 09, 2017

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?


I was thrilled when editor Neal Porter sent Scott Menchin's picture book text What Are You Waiting For? to me. Written as a vague conversation between two unnamed (and undescribed) characters, Scott left a great deal to the illustrator which is a wonderful thing. Aside from the What of the title, I had free reign to come up with characters and business for each page and each question.

I decided to make the characters animals. At first they were sweater-wearing bears...



But, although I love drawing bears, I thought that maybe there were too many bears in picture books and I should try something new. So... badger and bunny.

Turns out, lots of illustrators were also thinking about badgers and their books also came out this year. Badgers in the zeitgeist, I suppose.

Finding the visual story to go along with Scott's dialogue was the key. I decided to play each question against the two characters noticing something along their walk. In that way, the waiting became an opportunity to observe their surroundings, to be present in the moment (even though the badger is mostly impatient for the arrival of the What).

This is the image that came to me for the "Is it old?" question and subsequently led to the rambling and observing visual story:


Here are some more sketches:






For the final art, I decided to work as simply as possible to reflect the tone of the book. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and pastels on Strathmore Toned Tan paper. I used a similar technique years ago for Alice Schertle's Very Hairy Bear. It was wonderful to work this way again. Pure and simple drawing. It was a pleasure.

Here are some finals:






I was hoping for a simple, quiet approach to the cover but it was not to be. Here's my initial cover concept:



WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? was a great experience and one of my favorite of my own books. I hope you check it out.

Here's what Kirkus Review had to say:

"...The book’s well-thought-out design combines double-page spreads, spot, and bordered illustrations. The final illustration, very small and surrounded by the toned white space of the page, metaphorically hints at possibilities to be discovered beyond borders. 


A quiet, thoughtfully designed picture book with a strong message."




Monday, October 31, 2016

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Visible Traces


"The Chinese consider it childish to look for details in pictures and then to compare them with the real world. They want, rather, to find in them the visible traces of the artist's enthusiasm."


– E. H. Gombrich, The Story of Art 




Monday, July 11, 2016

Brush with a Gorilla

Experimenting with Chinese brushes and Marie's watercolor on Sumi-e paper...





Friday, April 29, 2016

Ratfink Raccoon

Polychromos pencil and digital.





Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ravens

Just playing around with a Winsor & Newton Ivory Black Water Colour Marker and my trusty water brush. Fun, but seems to fade quite a bit after a few minutes. Scan or take a photo quick, kids.







And just for fun...