Thursday, January 26, 2012

Twitter, An Owl, a Pussycat, and a new illustration for "Fair, Brown and Trembling"

I am just getting started on Twitter (@sarahbodera).  What a great way to keep on top of what's happening.  Following mainly illustrators, writers, and publishing companies, I find myself treading in a sea: great website links, anecdotes, friendly greetings, announcements, award winners, congratulations... the list goes on. Lots of positive interaction, and a great way to connect. I'd love to add you all if I haven't already, just send me your username :)

I thought I'd share a few illustrations that I completed over the holidays. "The Owl and the Pussycat" illustration was done with Higgins Black Magic ink on paper. I used to use this ink all the time when I drew comics.  It is waterproof, rich and opaque - great for pure blacks.

And this is a second illustration for Fair, Brown and Trembling. I wanted to practice keeping a character intact through two different poses.  A better camera and some handy Photoshop skills brought up the brightness and color quality quite a bit.  I will need to re-photo the first illustration to make them match.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pia and the Dragon

Just finished this new painting yesterday. I spent a lot of prep time on this one, first working on the characters, then several reiterations of the composition, and finally a value study.  It was a lot of work, but I think it was worth it!

This is based on my own ideas and characters.

Lately, blog-watching has really expanded my artistic horizons. Justin Gerard's blog recently switched on a light-bulb in my head about composition.  I did not employ the triangle technique, but I did consider the sizing, spacing and flow more carefully than I have in the past.  I was also inspired to try a value study because of process photos that were on illustrophile (RIP... apparently the site is gone forever).  I used Copic markers on a late draft, working from light to dark.  Then I tacked it up on my wall while painting, and voilĂ ! It was an invaluable resource.

Here's my original sketch, so you can see how the composition changed.  I made really good use of my light box through this process... I love that thing!

This seems to be the process I am settling on:

1. Read or dream up a little story and choose a scene
2. Study (e.g., practice drawing dragons, sketch kids playing at the park)
3. Draw the first draft (using my eraser like mad)
4. Do thumbnails to help improve the composition
5. Draw a second draft (hello light board!)
6. Final, cleaned up draft on tracing paper
7. Value study
8. Color swatches on a piece of scratch watercolor paper
9. Paint!

I think I am going to do some lighter, faster illustrations after this to loosen up.  Illustration Friday, here I come...

And just for fun...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year, New Projects

Plans for 2012 are lining up nicely.  I worked on several new paintings over the holidays, which I will share soon (working on getting a new camera, oh boy!)

As of yesterday, I am participating in kidlitart's  Picture Book Dummy Challenge. I'll be creating my own little mock-picture-book, and it will be done by July. How fun!  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  I'm writing a poem for this project that should be lots of fun to illustrate.  It's still rough, but I thought I'd share a clip: 
When Lily falls asleep, her dreams are full of stars.
She walks on paths of stardust that glitter from afar,
wondering and wandering, as children often are.

Nearby she hears a tiny song, humming through the dark. 
There upon a silver tree, she finds three golden larks.
Three tiny larks with crystal tears, three little broken hearts.

"Oh Lily, dear," sang the first, "Our magic eggs are gone.
The second sang, "An owl came, and took them far from home."
"Come sit inside our wish-tree nest, and tell us where he's gone."

In other news, SCBWI recently announced Yvette Piette Herrera as the winner of the 2012 Tomie dePaola Illustration contest! Congratulations to her and the other people who placed! It was a lot of fun to particpate.  I look forward to trying again next year. 

And last but not least, I've been working on an illustration for a story idea of mine, called "Pia and the Dragon." I faced one main challenge: I've never successfully drawn a dragon before in my life. But after a long afternoon of practice, I think I got the hang of it.

Here's a very early version of Pia and her dragon-friend, based on a beautiful work by one of my art heroes, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

(Side note, I don't know how this short-winged, barrel-chested dragon would fly... magic?) I later developed Pia to have more spunk and a dare-devil attitude.  The dragon has also morphed into something more my style. I'll share the final composition as soon as I can get a decent photo.  I'm starting the painting tonight, and I'm so excited! Really, this is a lot of fun.

Happy 2012 to all!