Working up the preliminary dummy early helps provide a kind of procedural map that is the groundwork upon which to start establishing plot sequences, define and develop characters, arrange apt page turns, workout pacing and maintain forward movement. Once the initial m/s and dummy are completed, the revision process essentially begins and goes back and forth until the final drafts are fleshed out. I am struck by the dictionary like thickness of the stack of drawings it sometimes take to produce a single 40 page picture book, the m/s not withstanding. Not every project is the same, but the revisionary process of carving out a proper, finished picture book is daunting, challenging, satisfying, fulfilling, a thing of beauty, etc..
I decided to stop looking at and wondering about color markers whenever I’m at the art store… so I bought some. I am currently using them in a picture book project I felt would be ideal for this particular medium. My previous use of color markers was limited to poster art, when helping my daughter complete a school project. Well… as it turns out, there’s a lot more to those ink filled cylinders with the matted wool fabric delivery point. CM’s offer Strong color depth, pungent brights and mid-tones that are also translucent. I use a smooth, no bleed, plate paper to minimize penetration and avoid streaking. Prismacolor markers with a variety of tip selections, is great for drawing and coloring small areas. I prefer the AD color markers when creating larger areas of color, as strokes are seamless due to the blunt, extra moist tip and heavier ink concentration. This is great when painting skies and vast land ranges, etc. Numerous volume levels and color variations can be achieved by overlapping (shading) the lighter and midrange colors. Once I’m done with the markers I’ll then clarify my edges with pen and ink, including a thick framing outer border. The end result is a bold, interactive, well defined image.
I did the Illustrations for Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, reaching for the stars; the story of the first Asian American woman in space, written by Ai-Ling Louie and published by Dragoneagle Press. This wonderful and inspiring Picture Book is illustrated with dozens of crisp, poignant images and is available at amazon.com.
As an Illustrator I create, plan and render quality artwork, usually in cooperation with children’s book Authors and publishers. We collaborate to create wonderful literary and visual experiences for kids. As you might expect, cooperation in any joint effort is important to the success of that effort. This fact is especially true in establishing the match between writer and illustrator. Professionalism, style, slant, experience and methodology not withstanding, each of the principals must be able to rely on the other’s dedication to the project. This essential proponent paves the way to that irreplaceable thing they call… Honest Back and Forth. HBF can be established almost instantly through referrals, a researchable and positive track record and or an agent. Continue Reading
A brief tribute to the history of blacks in America’s military, whose participation began in 1776 at the outset of the American Revolution. Contributions continued into the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Following the Civil War we were charged to patrol the western plains, fighting indians, pursue and capture bandits, protect wagon trains and to generally keep the peace. The indians called us Buffalo Soldiers because the texture of our hair resembled that of the plains buffalo. Our participation continued into the Spanish American war, World War I and II, all under the countenance of segregation. Continue Reading
As an Author/ Illustrator I often submit manuscripts to publishers. The system for this process is straightforward and thorough. Much can be determined from one’s writings. Illustration submissions are a little different, as a keen eye can usually judge the quality of a piece of visual art as it relates to their particular need. It’s a bit harder to determine the quality of the artist, with respect to reliability, joint effort-ability and even ideology. A website, blog and membership with trusted networks like SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) can add confidence to the illustration side. Continue Reading
Like so many others, I’ve enjoyed TV and comic book westerns since I can remember. I vividly remember my imaginary jaunts into the old west, roaming the plains and hunting down bad guys. Our backyard was the setting as my brothers and I re-enacted the scenes over and over again, with our trusty cap pistols at the ready. Continue Reading
Well… I received that first rejection letter and it was great. I realize that is an odd thing to say, but it’s true. The negative association not withstanding. I was enlightened and even inspired by this letter. The Editor/Art Director, began by thanking me for my submission and complimenting me for my goal in writing historical fiction for children. She referred to the amount of research I put into the project as impressive and added that the sketches (dummy) I included, conveyed an excellent sense of movement. Continue Reading
Some are childhood remembrances of Dad burning leaves in the backyard in Autumn and the soiled pungent smell as the smoke bellowed throughout the neighborhood. The soil, on sunny days seemed to absorb the diamond shaped specks of sunlight as they slipped through the tapestry of the trees, forming decorative patterns and creating an almost endless variety of greens, siennas and yellows. Continue Reading