Archive for the ‘children’s art’ Category
Post by Angie Brown
Lane Smith is rather cheeky and he doesn’t even try to hide it. It’s kind of his thing. He says: I don’t like ordinary, middle-of-the-road books. I like funny, odd books that excite and challenge a child. There are enough people doing nice books about manners and feelings and magical unicorns. I do not do those kinds of books.” I first found him when I stumbled across his book review blog, Curious Pages: Recommended Inappropriate Books for Children, where he writes rather cheeky reviews of children’s books that are somehow a little “off.” It’s hilariously entertaining.
I was fascinated by the mottled textures in the illustration directly above, from his aptly named “It’s a Book”. Luckily, he’s rather forthcoming in describing how he achieves this effect: he paints hot press illustration board with oil paints and then sprays them with an acrylic spray (water based) while the paints (oil based) are still wet, causing a chemical reaction. Brilliant.
He currently lives with his wife and two cats in Connecticut and New York City. Before he became a children’s book illustrator, he worked as a freelance illustrator for magazines like Time, Sesame Street, Rolling Stone, Ms., Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire and many others. He is quite prolific and his titles include It’s a Book; John, Paul, George & Ben; The Stinky Cheese Man; Grandpa Green; and Big Plans.
Post by Sarah
Chuck Groenink illustrates books and works as an editorial illustrator. Born in the Netherlands he now lives and works in Portland, Oregon. His works are mainly directed at a younger audience, his style with an exquisite feeling for textures and colors and capturing moods surely delights a much broader audience.
1. Tell us about yourself / What makes you tick?
Hi, my name is Jannie Ho (pronounced Jane-nee) and I’m an illustrator specializing in children’s books and products. I went to Parsons School of Design with a BFA in illustration. I’m also known as Chicken Girl. Because who doesn’t like a chicken or two?
2. How did you get started as an illustrator?
After I left school, I worked as a designer and art director, before deciding that illustration was my true passion. I think I had a lot of years of self doubt, and when I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and she talked about “shadow artists,” it really hit home. So while I was working at the full time design job, I slowly went back to build my illustration portfolio while taking continuing education classes at School of VIsual Arts. I signed with a rep and was working the full time job and doing freelance illustration on the side. Eventually I made the transition to being a freelance illustrator full time.
3. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
When I started to learn Adobe Illustrator, I felt like that medium lends itself well to what I imagine my style would be like. It took years of being out of school before I found my style. But with that said, my style is always changing (and should change.) It has changed a lot since I started 7 years ago. Lately I feel a big shift coming over me and there is a huge hurdle I have to overcome. The style I can imagine in my head is not the way it is on paper at the moment. But so it goes — that is part of the process.
4. Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums, etc?
I work 99% in Illustrator. I use to do pencil sketches, scan them in, and draw on top of my sketch. But since a lot of client work has quick turnarounds, I began doing grayscale vector art as a sketch, straight on the computer. If the project calls for a certain subject matter or theme, I like to do some image searches just to get the ideas flowing. And for fresh color palettes, I like colourlovers.com for inspiration. It always gives me something new and prevents me from using the same old palettes.
5. How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process?
I have to say I don’t really keep a sketch book for ideas. However, I always have various digital files I started with different little artworks. I listen to podcasts and free play, building a scene, making characters. My ideas flow this way.
6. Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then?
Yes, of course! Switching projects always helps. I try to stagger projects to keep the creative juices flowing. I really do believe in having time away from a creative problem and trust your subconscious do some work. When I get back to it, there are always new and fresh solutions. I understand this may not be optimal for client work and short deadlines. But even going for a short walk helps.
7. Best / most fun part of your job:
Creating a world of my own. I can be an interior designer, fashion designer, furniture designer, etc. in my illustrations. I get to draw all day — sometimes I work on projects that I would do on my own for free… but don’t tell the client that!
8. Worst / most difficult part of your job:
The feast and famine of freelancing life can be tough. Working from home can be a lonely thing, even for those of us who enjoys solitude. Thank goodness for the internet that illustrators can connect with each other through social media.
9. Do you have side projects you work on?
I always like to have something going on the side. I started an ABCs series which started as a promo card but then it was so much fun that I continued with them. I also enjoy writing and illustrating comics and this is something I feel I can get more personal with. As much as I enjoy children’s publishing, it is nice to work on something more “grown up.”
10. What’s on your horizon? Any current/future projects and plans/dreams you can share with us?
I have a wonderful board book series coming out with Nosy Crow, called Tiny Tabs. The first 2 titles, Teeny Weeny Lost His Mummy, and Bunny Boo Lost Her Teddy, is being released in April 2013. I also have a pop-up gift book coming out in the fall, published by Campbell Books.
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5 things inspiring you/your work right now:
limited color palette
3 constants in your day:
Your #1 art tip or words of wisdom:
It will always be an uphill battle, so just enjoy the process and the journey. Take time to celebrate achievements along the way. Believe in your work. Never give up.
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Thank you so much, Jannie Ho!
Post by Tamsin
Oh wow! LOVE Carson Ellis illustration. I didn’t know of her work before I saw The Wildwood Chronicles (written by her husband Colin Meloy) last year. Gorgeous book! Her use of typography and pattern within her work is superb. Her illustration style has a folklore/fairytale feel about it – imaginiative, clever and delightfully inspiring. Carson Lives in Oregon with her family and also illustrates album art for her husbands band The Decemberists. See more of Carson’s work here and the Wildwood Chronicles has its very own page here.
Children’s illustrator Amy Adele is inspired by nature, folk tales and a childlike imagination. Her work is built around a love for hand painted details and the richness of natural earthy colors. We love the whimsy!
Guest Post by Greg Lewis.
Anyone who’s spent time around kids knows that they’re natural artists. Crayons and little hands go together like peanut butter and jelly! And while kids of all ages love to create, and they naturally learn important skills like language and fine motor skills along the way, there’s no rule saying we as adults can’t benefit too. Here are some easy ways to let a little of that creative energy rub off on you.
1. Speak universally – Kids do this automatically; for us it may take a bit of relearning. Since children create art long before they can write or otherwise communicate with adults, their artwork tells a story with pictures instead of words. We can do this too.(Fundamentally, this is how communication began — as pictures serving as a universal language. A horse is a horse, visually of course, in any language.) Watch how kids use art to present what’s on their minds, and take the hint: Try drawing instead of writing, and tell your stories with your pictures.
2. Notice the details – Have you ever seen a kid’s drawing that *didn’t* have some unexpected little detail? Kids see things differently, and their artwork reflects that — in part through all the little “extra” stuff we adults tend to miss. Since kids use their art to examine people, places and things, learning about them and interpreting their place in the world, their attention to the seemingly unimportant can teach us a lesson about all that we may be overlooking in everyday life. An experiment in kid-like close examination of the world around us can give you a surge of creativity.
3. Focus – Walk into any preschool classroom during arts and crafts time and you’ll see a room full of kids with more concentration than many of us adults can muster. Little tongues sticking out the sides of mouths, bright eyes laser-locked on the task at hand… that is some intense focus. Society puts a preference on multi-tasking, but in getting more done, we are focusing less on each task, leading to subpar work. Learn from children’s focus on their artwork and try your hand a one-task-at-a-time mentality. Tongue placement is optional.
4. Build self-esteem – “LOOK! I drew it myself!!!” That’s the rallying cry of a child who’s proud of her artwork. No matter how scribbled, messy or unusual the artwork looks, the budding artist will be beaming as she holds that construction-paper canvas aloft. And it’s only natural for us as adults to receive the art with the same gusto, building up and praising the child for whatever she’s created. “That’s awesome, kiddo!” The lesson here? Self-esteem matters, whether you’re growing up or not. Praise for others goes a long way, so make sure you acknowledge when others do a great job, and help to build them up when they fall short. Be confident in yourself, too, and be proud of your accomplishments, small and large. Your successes are important to you, and what’s important to you will be important to others.
5. Have fun and be free – You might say creating art is the “happy place” for many youngsters. There’s something about a fresh set of crayons or bright, colorful markers or messy finger paint that deeply appeals to children. Arts and crafts time for children tends to turn into a wonderful mess, often without the kids even realizing it. That white canvas or blank coloring book is a place where they can be free to create whatever they want. We should look forward to each artwork — and each day, really — with this same approach. The brevity of childhood is a daily reminder that life’s too short to not have fun. So channel your inner little person, learn all you can from any kids you’re lucky enough to spend time with, and grab your camera or sketchpad for an enjoyable and important trip to your “happy place.”
:: Greg Lewis has been writing about children’s artwork as well as visual arts education for kids for more than a decade. When not writing, you can find Greg volunteering with one of Chicago’s many non-profit organizations.
Want to make beautiful stars in your night sky painting or add a special sparkle to your painting of a dress? It is so easy with these three materials:
- Watercolor paints
- Table salt
First make a painting of your choice – using deep dark colors for night skies or vivid colors for other subject matter. This process works for any sort of painting, even abstract.
While the painting is still very wet, add a sprinkle or pinch of salt to the wet paint.
Let the painting dry throughly. Then rub off the salt with your fingers!
The background of this collage is an example of a watercolor/salt painting. The salt pushes the pigment away from the paper and adds a beautiful visual texture. Now go try your own!
Mikela Prevost is an illustrator that gravitates toward that most interesting subject of all. Us. People. Be careful what you do in front of her, because she is discretely sketching it in her sketchbook where you will later find it translated into her latest illustration.
Mikela received her B.A. in Painting and Drawing from the University of Redlands and later went on to receive her M.F.A. in Illustration from Cal State Fullerton. While working on her degree, Mikela found the time to get married, and together they are raising their three very curious kids.
Find more of Prevost’s work on her website.
Amy Husband has a passion for children’s picture books and set her heart on a career as an illustrator. She graduated from Liverpool School of Art in 2006, and has since been lucky enough to have two picture books published: ‘Dear Miss’, and ‘Dear Santa’. Her first book ‘Dear Miss’ was voted the winner of the Cambridgeshire Children’s Picture Book Award 2010.
She now lives and works in a little cottage in the beautiful city of York UK.
Constanze is an award-winning, German illustrator and author. She has a wide variety of clients in the illustration industry including publishing houses, magazines, newspapers and design companies.
I love her sweet scenes, bright colors and attention to detail!