Whenever an art collector contacts me about a particular illustration, especially an art collector that collects children’s literature illustration, I am happy to let them see my archived work. Artwork that has been in the flat files for years now has a chance to find a new home and be lovingly displayed.
These works of art were originally used in picture books, magazines and other publications as well as art that I created for fun. Although, I contractually do not own the copyright of the art–can’t reproduce the art for profit–I have total control over the original art work itself. I am flattered to know that there are children’s literature art collectors out there in the world who appreciate the work that goes into illustrating manuscripts. I welcome their perusal.
This week, I’m reworking my book dummy sketches for Vagabond Travel. After revising the manuscript (Draft #16), I’ve begun creating new sketch illustrations. I’m going into a lot more detail with the sketches for the dummy so there won’t be any question about the story and the images that support the story. The sketches should be well done, so I’m taking my time in doing them right.
To create these images, I’m working with Corel’s Painter software. A gray background with three tones: black, white, and a middle tone of gray a little darker than the background. The little planter of flowers art the right is a great example of the three tones. Working with a neutral gray background provides a good start to the sketch as far as values are concerned. You can go dark or light in the development of the sketch. It may take more time, but it will be worth it.
As I finish each sketch, I’ll import the images into the InDesign layout software to create the book dummy.
Richard Peck has passed away. The world is a little bit less bright.
It was 1995. My life trajectory was about to change and I didn’t even know it.
I was speaking at a children’s book writing and illustrating seminar in New Orleans hosted by legendary children’s book author/illustrator Berthe Amoss. I had just returned from a portfolio trip to New York showing my wares to publishing houses there. In those days, the art directors would actually let you make an appointment and meet with you in person. Lots of pounding the streets of New York with a heavy portfolio of matted original art.
Later, I was showing my portfolio to the other speakers at Berthe’s house. After looking at my art work, Richard introduced himself and said, “The next time you come to New York, you have a place to stay.” Apparently, he had seen something in my work that I hadn't seen myself. From then on, whenever I was in the city, he was kind enough to let me stay at his apartment. Over the next twenty-three years, he was a mentor, friend and and a patient father figure to me.
Many adventures, many stories. Words cannot express the gratitude for his quiet, giving nature. However, my most treasured gift from Richard was when he gave my wife, Forrest, and I a copy of his first autobiography Anonymously Yours and inscribed it while I was visiting New York, there in his apartment.
In the KidLit world, his light was always as a gifted writer, teacher and an inspiration.
We should all rise to his example.
Rest easy, friend Richard.
As I prepare to finish up the Vagabond Travel book dummy, I’m faced with a revised manuscript and new illustrations that need to be prepared for the book dummy. This will take some time as I’m revising the storyboard for the book, too. This morning, I think I’ve finally got the pacing of the story to where I want it. Next comes the revised and new illustrations. I think it will be worth it to put together a nice dummy presentation so that there will be no question about the scenes, characters or illustration quality. I use the little card stock and cut out rectangles that represent page spreads to allow me to see the whole flow of the text and illustrations, the pacinging of the images and the way they are positioned in the story.
May is a quiet time here in the studio. I've finished projects for clients and now I'm preparing for the library visits that are coming up in June. So, May is kind of a momentary pause from the winter and early spring and the travel rush of June and July. This year, I'm speaking at the Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute again, like I did last summer, but on a more expansive level. It's a major teaching artist commitment and I'm looking forward to it!
Mary Kitchens, President of the Mississippi's Toughest Kids Foundation (MTK) can get anything done! After many years of planning and fund raising, the ground breaking ceremony for the fully accessible Camp Kamassa was held this morning.