Monday, April 20, 2009

Inspiration and lots of sketches

Wow. It is a strange and wonderful experience to re-visit books I loved as a kid, but haven't seen in years and years. I had completely forgotten about these books, and inexplicably, the illustrations came flooding back to me while I was running through the park last week. Some frantic googling when I got home ("Japanese" "children's book illustrator" "highly detailed"- that was literally all I remembered about these books), plus one phone call to my mother, and the truth was revealed: Gyo Fujikawa.

How could I have forgotten? I pored over these books as a kid. I loved the details, and reading the story in the pictures. 

Those last two made a particular impression. I loved the kid sitting under the table, the girl sitting next to her kitten, looking at all the food on the table. The above illustration inspired me to pack my sketchbook & pencils, and go back to the park that afternoon:

Blatant rip-off, you say? No, in art it's called an "homage". (BTW, please excuse the crude reproductions of my sketches. The movers broke our scanner/slash/printer. AND our futon. But no bitterness).

The forest is real; all of the kids are imagined. I really enjoyed this excercise of drawing the setting first, and once I had the landscape in place, adding the kids. I hiked over to the playground this afternoon to repeat the process:

...and did the same thing in my kitchen. Yes, I actually set the table, like a sad pretend tea party for one.

...and just a random kid sketch. And I will only say this once, so that everyone doesn't hate me, but... It is SO NICE to not have a day job. In all sincerity, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be able to, say, go to the playground in the middle of the day to draw. When I had a day job, I loved to come home and paint all evening, but it was... different. More focus on producing, I guess, and less time for rumination and letting my mind wander. This window of opportunity (no day job, no kids, etc etc) won't last forever, I know- so I am intent on utilizing (and loving) every minute of it.


Lauren Castillo said...

Hey, super sketches Vicki! You've captured such great attitudes in all those kids! I like to do the locations first, and kids after method too :) And I'm very excited to find some of Gyo Fujikawa's books--I don't think I'm familiar with her work, but it looks beautiful!

Vicki said...

Thanks, Lauren! The "landscape first, kids second" idea was kind of a revelation to me- it makes things so much easier! I'm surprised Fujikawa doesn't get more recognition these days-according to my mother she was very big in the 70s, but I haven't seen her work since that fine decade...

amelia said...

Fantastic sketches - so much movement and personality. And congrats on your book - I am looking forward to its release!

You can thank your brother Pete for your newest fan - he and I are coworkers in MA.

All the best - Amy

Vicki said...

Well, I guess my kid brother is good for something- ha ha! Thanks for your kind comments about my work!

Kristi Valiant said...

I looked up Gyo Fujikawa on Amazon, and found a bunch, so I'll have to pore over those sometime to decide what to buy. Her spread at the park with those gorgeous trees in the background is so lovely! Thanks for posting these.

I love the little girl you sketched sitting on the swing scratching one leg with the other; a perfect moment captured.