Posts have been few and far between around here lately. I read a list of writing tips by Sherman Alexie not too long ago, and #8 has kind of been my motto recently:
Every word on your blog is a word not in your book.
So basically, Sherman Alexie is telling me not to blog, and who am I to argue?
The truth is, I've been doing A LOT of writing recently- and not too much drawing. And me sitting around in my p.j.s creating Word documents does not make for exciting blog posts.
However, I DO have a few visual things to share! I've also been teaching a new illustration class this fall at Pacific Northwest College of Art. Teaching is a challenge, I will say that. I am challenged each week to prepare lesson plans for extremely talented students, and to keep learning myself. One of the (many) benefits of teaching is learning about artists I didn't know much about before. Check out these amazing postcards by Rudolf Kalvach, an artist working in Vienna in the early 1900s...
OMG, I am IN LOVE with that Leda and the Swan postcard. It makes me happy in my heart every time I look at it.
Along with this new BFA course, I am still teaching a Continuing Education class in children's books. And it's funny- the same topic has been coming up in both classes, and continues to come up in my own work. How do you keep the freshness & vitality of early sketches when you move into "final" illustrations? One thing I recommend to both classes is to copy (literally) the work of illustrators you admire. I liken it to how, when you're in art school, you spend many hours drawing and painting from masterpieces in museums. For children's books, the big difference is that you get to take these masterpieces home with you, and you can draw from them in the comfort of your p.j.s (p.j.s are a big thing with me, apparently).
This morning I took a little break from writing and decided to put my money where my mouth is. I've been a great admirer of illustrator Julia Denos for quite a while now- her watercolors are fresh and lively. And, I just so happened to have a copy of DOTTY out from the library. (It's a wonderful book- written by Erica S. Perl, one of my favorite authors. Do yourself a favor & read her novel, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU OJ).
So anyway, I recently bought myself some new watercolors, and this morning I picked out two of my favorites from DOTTY, and copied them. (PS- my scanner does NOT do any favors to the original book. I implore you to check out the illustrator's website for better examples of her work!)
It's a totally fun exercise, and it frees you from worrying about "screwing up"- because it's not really YOUR artwork- who cares if you make a mistake? I always learn something when I do this exercise- in this case, how to be more free and loose when I put down color.
It's fun- give it a try!