Showing posts with label struggle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label struggle. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Learning From Your Peers

Yesterday, in search of inspiration for a new blog post, I posed this question on Twitter:

"What is your favorite picture book cover?"

I don't know why I chose covers specifically, and I definitely didn't expect so many answers! On Twitter, you have to catch the timing just right and if the Universe aligns, replies will pour in. It just so happened that yesterday afternoon, the response was overwhelming enough to leave me feeling a little sad about my lack of children's book knowledge.

"Anything by Jan Brett" and " Anything by Trina Shart Hyman" were some replies.

There were quite a few that I recognized, but there were even more books and illustrators that I had never heard of. What a mess I was about this!

Pondering this over a good night's sleep, I came to the conclusion that my self proclaimed "lack of knowledge" (in quotes because I like to think this isn't entirely true) is long as I keep learning. I don't ever want to stop learning and I love that, because of Twitter, I can learn from my peers. 

Here are a few of the recommended covers, in no particular order:
(some of which are selections I've made based on the above suggestions of "Anything by–")

A different take on the same book...
Multiple titles by Shaun Tan were mentioned.

Another different take on the same book...

Now, I will take all of this newly gained information and make room for it up in that rusty, old memory bank of mine. Though not until after, of course, I share it with you. :) 

If you're interested in exploring more about the design of picture books, here are some great blogs and posts to follow:

And some places to merely feast your eyes:

And a big thank you to the following folks for offering up their favorite book covers:
@iamemmamusic (and your hubby!)

What are your favorite book covers? Is there a reason why?
Please share in the comments below!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting Unstuck Part 1

Some days my sketches flow from my pencil effortlessly. My pencil dances across the page like Fred and Ginger. I can’t draw fast enough to get all of the ideas out of my head and onto paper. I start to believe it will always be this way. I can go on like this for days or weeks at a time. But then comes the inevitable crash. The brakes screech and, quite suddenly and without warning, it happens. I completely forget how to draw. Nothing works. I’ve fallen flat on my face! Every line is stiff and awkward. Where just the day before I held my head high and created with ease, now there is only the dreaded Ugly Drawing, misshapen and taunting me. This tends to occur for no apparent reason. Other times it’s a result of a less than encouraging portfolio review at a conference or when I’m not getting projects and stop believing in myself for a moment.

Doing nothing is one option, but I don't think it's the best one.

We all know, or at least should know, that drawing is like working out, if you don’t keep up with a regular schedule, your skills start to atrophy. The question is, what do you do when you hit this all too frequent wall? The answer may be burn out. Getting out of the studio and into nature or an inspiring boutique or museum is a great idea, but what if it goes on for too long? I’ve been struggling with working on improving my drawing skills, especially when it comes to drawing people, for a while now. I’ve acquired some wonderful books to help me with that. I go out on a regular basis and draw from life. I have a lot of sketches of the backs of people watching volleyball from my sons’ games as a result. All of this is great, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Tracing of Tony Fusili's work. He is a master!
The best trick I’ve found for getting past this stuckness and improving my drawing skills at the same time is to trace the art of some of my favorite illustrators. Except for this blog post, no one ever sees these tracings. They’re purely an exercise for me. I don’t just trace the outline, I use a blue pencil and draw the action, gesture, and shapes, and then complete the sketch. It’s amazing how much you can learn from doing this. No amount of staring at the sketches replaces the actual drawing of them. Doing this keeps me using me in shape for drawing even when my brain and hand refuse to communicate. Connections are made that carry into my own drawings. This is huge! I’m telling you I have learned so darn much! I can force myself to continue to make ugly drawings, which I do, a lot, or I can give myself a bit of a break and trace something inspiring.

Tracing of LeUyen Pham's work in Vampirina Ballerina

The next time you feel stuck, go grab a picture book you love and try it! You’ll be awed and amazed, trust me.

Happy Drawing!


Book List:
Creating Characters by Tom Bancroft
Character Mentor by Tom Bancroft
Prepare to Board! By Nancy Belman
Drawn to Life I & II by Walt Stanchfield