In between work and a big project, I've been painting a few small sketches of birds and feathers. My aim was to do each within an hour thus forcing myself to remain a bit looser. I've been enjoying them and plan to do a few more when I have an hour or two to spare. Maybe I'll branch out and do some bugs and bees, and maybe a few shells as well.
Okay, back to some illustration! I painted this little piece today for SCBWI's Draw This. The key word for this month is "swift." I knew immediately that I wanted to draw a girl riding a bike, an image that's been in my head for about a year now. It was the perfect excuse to take a break from other projects and quickly paint this idea.
It isn't quite done yet, but I wanted to let it sit for a few hours and give it some space before finishing it up.
Sometimes you just need to paint what you are compelled to. I should be working on a couple different projects, but I took a break to do some botanical work. These aren't the best images, but once I completely finish it (hopefully before the branch and leaves die on me) I'll probably post a good one.
On Saturday I went with some friends to Grayson Highlands State Park for a day of rock climbing. It's been over a year since I've climbed outside, so I was super stoked to get on some real rock. I suppose fall has officially begun, for the weather was perfect: bright blue skies, temperatures in the mid 60s, dry. I brought a sketchbook with me but promptly forgot it in the car. It was probably wishful thinking anyhow, believing I'd have the opportunity to sketch my friends climbing while I sat on the ground. The reality is that I was on the rock as much as possible and I only sat down to eat and switch out shoes.
My good friend Ryan, who has bouldered at Grayson a few times, led the way. We climbed multiple boulders, some easier than others. I fell a lot and my skin is shredded, but I can't wait to go back to finish up a few V3s and V4s that I couldn't complete. For those of you unfamiliar with rock climbing, check out this wikipedia page for some information about the different types and how the difficulty grading works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_climbing
One of the assignments in my Picture Book Media class with Ruth Sanderson was to create a a fairly simple, graphic image to reproduce using monotype. I've always loved printmaking; the process for me is fun and relaxing. Unlike lino block or wood block printing, monotype only produces one image full color image (photo on the left). However, you can print a ghost image (photo on right) where you print the plate again getting a lighter, ghost-like image off it. Of course, you can always do what I did, which is to do many of the steps twice, but the two full color images will never look exactly the same, which is kind of the charm. There are elements out of all four of these pieces that I like, and elements I don't, but it was a fun assignment.
The second week at Hollins has come to a quick close. It's crazy to think that this semester is already 1/3 of the way over! This week I completed my first ever pastel illustration with (a lot) of help from my professor Mark Braught. I'm super excited to start on the next one and further explore the layering of colors.
Every summer at Hollins we have a guest illustrator/author visit, and this year we had it big! John Rocco, author of Blizzard, Blackout, Moonpowder, Wolf! Wolf! and the illustrator for all the Percy Jackson books, came to Hollins!
I had the pleasure of introducing him for the Friday evening talk. He is one of my all time favorite illustrators so it was an easy job to say how amazing and talented he is.
Saturday morning he held a workshop where he broke down his books Wolf! Wolf! and Blizzard. He showed us how he made certain illustrative decisions, where he decided to place text, and how he came to writing his own books. One of the big takeaways is one of his tools for creating a story: "What if..." Ask "What if" and see what comes up. Wolf! Wolf! is a retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, but it takes place in China, is told from the wolf's perspective, and more.
Click here for Elizabeth Dulemba's blog post about his visit!
I just finished up my first week of grad school this summer at Hollins. Each summer is intense - a normal semester and course-load are shortened to 6 weeks. So from day 1 it's go, go, go! This summer I have the fortune of taking Picture Book Media, a class taught by the wonderful Ruth Sanderson, and a pastel class taught by Mark Braught.