Monday, December 27, 2010

Free Time At Last!

So, can you tell we’re on Christmas break? No school, no art classes (except for planning my next ones)…there’s actually a little time to think about illustration.

This one was inspired by a random doodle mixed in among dozens of doodles in an old sketchbook. I knew I wanted to do it with paint and I envisioned it in a very different, more painterly style than what I’ve been doing. My new gouache set provided the perfect opportunity to have a little fun with it (gouache is my new best paint friend). You can let me know what you think (please).

I had been thinking about my style recently, especially after my last post “Mail.” It was very much like the Spectator Ant I had done a couple years back, and I think I’ve managed to pinpoint some definite characteristics of my style - detailed, black line, watercolor wash. I like how that works for me. In fact, I think I’d like to try some different types of pen and play with different types of line. I’ve been doing these with Microns, but I’d like to try a pen with different nibs.

I’ve definitely decided that I’m NOT a color pencil person. While I like what some people are able to do with it, overall it’s not the best fit for me. I’ll only use it if the subject matter really demands it or for quick color studies.

All this thought about style brought me back to one of my earliest posts on this blog (has it really been almost 3 years?). I had read an article by Caldecott winner Paul O. Zelinsky where he said that the story dictated what style and medium was called for. And, you can see this in the variety of work that he has put out. I liked his philosophy as I tend to crave variety - I couldn’t imagine working the same way ALL the time. As much as I love how “Mail” turned out, I think I would get bored if I worked that way exclusively. But, on the other hand, I don’t want to constantly be “inventing,” either.

I guess I’m finding a happy medium by playing around with more than one style while ruling out others (for the most part). I like the style that’s emerging with the ink/watercolor and it shows consistency that, I think, would be helpful for future publishers to see. But, it’s refreshing (mentally, creatively, and - hopefully - professionally) to spend time with different approaches. I would think that versatility would also be a “plus” for publishers.  Am I wrong?

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