home    books    art    blog    bio    visits    calendar    media    resource links    freebies    contact me    store
Welcome to DULEMBA.COM!
     Here's where you'll find my Coloring Page Tuesdays, contributions to Illustration Friday, Blog Book Tours (interviews with authors and illustrators), movie and book reviews, marketing and illustration tips under Method, Events and Big News (mine and the industry's), and general things I just find interesting. Enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2005

Observations on Children's Writing and Illustrating

I’ve been busy creating some new pieces for my portfolio pages, and preparing for Story-time at my local library. I will be the stand in for the month of May. All of this has me doing quite a bit of research. I read almost every picture book I own, a considerable amount, to select ones that read well to a young group. I pulled out my Picture-Book 2004, and went through it with a fine toothed comb to come up with ideas for coloring pages - and I’m learning some new things.

From my reading, I’m learning there are some noticeable themes in children’s books. Yes, we all know about fairies and good-night books, but I’ve been surprised to find some not so obvious themes: Acting Out, Dinosaurs, Dragons, Farm Life (usually from the animals’ point of view), Urban life, Dogs and Cats, Wild Animals, Holidays, Bed time, Bath time, and Dreams. I’m also realizing there are holes in some of these categories. For instance, there aren’t enough books about aliens or pirates. I try to fill in with songs and poems, even storytelling, for my Story-time program. But I really have to stretch to keep on theme in some areas.

Before I talk about my art research let me mention, I do feel like I’ve gone through a growth period recently with my art. It always seems to work like that . . . you cruise along with your skills on a flat plain for several months or even years, when suddenly *zwooop* - up you go to a new plain of skills. The neat thing to me is, suddenly, I feel like I’m looking at art through new eyes. I’m noticing things I didn’t notice even 6 months ago.

So I was searching for ideas, to draw new coloring pages for the kids, by devouring my Picture-Book 2004. What jumped out at me here though, was something I didn’t expect: nuances in illustration skills. Sometimes, an artist can really draw, but doesn’t handle their medium well. Or the detail level is wonderful, but without contrast, creating no depth. Sometimes they can’t draw at all, but they are wonderful designers and have amazing creative ideas. And sometimes an artist will draw wonderfully in black and white, but lose it when they get to color. I concluded there are talents underlying the umbrella talent of illustrator - some are: drawing ability, color understanding, medium proficiency, saturation, proportion, and design comprehension. The ones I really love are the illustrators who excel in all of these areas.

Saturation, or lack of saturation, especially, was perhaps my biggest surprise. Many styles and mediums, by their nature, allow lots of paper show through - watercolor and colored pencils for example. This can work, but sometimes it doesn’t. I think a wash of color before rendering can help in so many areas. A tiny example: the light allowed to show in the foreground of a piece, cannot be the same light allowed to show in the background of a piece. Otherwise there is no delineation between the two - no depth.

This has been such a valuable exercise, I think I’ll try to do this every 6 months or so, as it seems I still have new lessons to learn even when I look at things I’ve already seen. Training the eye to really see, isn’t that what being an illustrator is all about?



Blogger steve said...

About 3 (ish) years back I did a childrens comic book for my cousin Johnny Lauck who owned a comic book store back then. It was called 'Puffy Goes To Outer Space' and was written in rhymes by John Barrett. It involved various aliens encountered by a runaway child. (But the child was a dragon, so go figure) All around it was very fun to do and awfully cute to read.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

I just spend several minutes with google but failed to find the exact title of the Subject Index to Children's literature that I used to use when I was a children't librarian. Call your local library, I'm sure they can tell you what it is.... Just by reading the subjects you can tell what is perennially popular, what has never been done, etc. Most anything that kids might hear about (news/books/school/eavesdropping!!) can be a subject for a book...And although it might not be a big seller in the "trade" books about "life problems" are BIG sellers to schools and libraries... i.e. parents divorcing, death, dying, etc.

3:58 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

All Artwork © Elizabeth O. Dulemba,  - Y'all play nice, okay?