February means signing up for the annual NESCBWI spring conference. It’s a little like signing up for concert tickets! This year, there is a 4 hour Intensive workshop with Giuseppe Castellano, Executive Art Director with Penguin Random House. An assignment was given to illustrate a character from Beatrix Potter’s stories. 2016 marked the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter and a collection of illustrations by contemporary illustrators was compiled in A Celebration of Beatrix Potter. I choose to depict the frog, Jeremy Fisher, in a scene from one of her stories in which he in out fishing and is overwhelmed by a much bigger fish than anticipated. I sketched out two versions and ultimately selected the drawing on the right. I felt it had a little more suspense and captured some of Jeremy’s superior nonchalance.
At a workshop with the illustrator E.B. Lewis, I was encouraged to try painting in watercolor again. I composited a variety of references, including a watercolor by Winslow Homer and a makeshift “cairn” along my driveway to build this piece. In the scene, a storm approaches while a father and son hike in the White Mountains above the treeline. I plan on a pair of illustrations to accompany this one, an image from the summit and another showing the father and son rushing down from the summit to get out of the storm.
I am taking a drawing class this Fall that has me experimenting with a variety of drawing media and surfaces. Before beginning this owl study, I experimented with different kinds of paper before settling on the toned paper. This is one of the more traditional drawings I completed during the class. I do hope to incorporate this study in a future illustration project.
October’s word had a Halloween theme this month with “fright”. I opted to illustrate one of my favorite stories: Bunnicula by James Howe. I’ve been taking a drawing class this Fall so I experimented with ink wash for this image and incorporated a little inspiration from Edvard Munch in my depiction of the vampire bunny that sucks the juice from vegetables!
This month’s word prompt was “swift”. I’m trying to add work to my portfolio that could be biographical or sports-related. This gave me a chance to illustrate one of my favorite moments from the Olympic Summer Games, when Usain Bolt and Andre De Grasse exchanged smiles coming down the stretch of the 100 meter semifinals. As serious as these athletes are about their sport, they still know how to keep it fun… and Usain Bolt is just unbelievably fast!
I only had five days from concept to finish for this month’s Word Challenge. It was definitely a bit of a rush but I think it turned out pretty good. The word this month was “Royal”… I knew I wanted to do something nature/science-related for my portfolio. My son, Dillon, gave me the idea to do bees… thanks Dillon!