NEWS: My work is currently up in the real world at the Washington State Convention Center. The exhibition is titled PS 5 and it features prints by South Puget Sound artists Dorothy McQuistion, Bill Colby, Janet Marcavage, Ann Johnston-Schuster and me. The exhibition runs through Oct 23rd, so you have plenty of time to go see it. The address for the convention center is: Level 2 South Galleria, 800 Convention Place, Seattle, WA. Hours are 7am-10pm.
The other bit of news is that my work and an interview are also featured on the Printsy Blog. Its quite a fun little interview with pictures of prints for sale in my shop.
I love to browse the other entries on the blog on my free time. The whole site is devoted to printmakers who are on Etsy and the articles feature work from one end of the spectrum to the other. It is wonderful and encouraging to see how many talented printmakers are selling work in alternative venues outside of the traditional gallery system. I like galleries, but with the constant moving, I find it easier to sell online and though exhibitions.
Mentioned in the previous posts was that I had carved a place to work in our new house. My husband is the greatest, and let me take up half of our living room to use as a studio, with flat file, presses and equipment. Otherwise it would have had to go up two narrow flights of stairs, to the third floor, which was not the greatest option. I bought this white and orange retro bureau (see below) from a yard sale, that has a shelf that folds down to a writing table. It works perfectly in a small space to paint on. I have given myself a time limit to finish all the rest of the illustrations in the next two weeks. I have been painting or drawing just about every day for a couple of weeks now, and am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I only have 5 images to draw and paint.
So to illuminate the process, I took some pictures. When working on a book illustration with a character, you want it to look the same thoughout the book. Being towards the end of the book, I have a set way of painting the little wren that makes it much easier than in the beginning, when I was just getting to know the her. When working, the whole place looks like a big mess, since I spread other finished illustrations on the table next to me with the manuscript and reference images, so I can constantly look over to make sure colors look the same thoughout. I tidied it up for the picture a little bit...
I start by sketching on any sheet of paper that I have handy- normally I do have something better than a notebook though (but you never know when inspiration strikes). Here is a sketch for a 1/3 page illustration of the little wren sitting in her nest. I normally just keep drawing over and refining the sketch until it is they way that I want the final illustration to look. Then I trace the main lines on watercolor paper and start painting away.
How do I know what to draw for the book? I have gone over the manuscript with the author in the beginning. We talked about color themes, how she envisions the illustrations and what her expectations were. The text was also divided up to fit 1/4 - 1 page illustrations. The author had a general idea of what she wanted me to draw for each one but was open to suggestions and input from me. Throughout the process as I finished images, I sent them to her for approval. Sometimes I made suggestions on how to adjust the illustrations and sometimes she had some changes to make. So it has been a flexible process as we go along. The author I am working with is wonderful- she gives me a lot of freedom to interpret and if needed change the illustrations around. Working with such a great partner also makes me want to paint even better and make the book look absolutely beautiful. I can't wait for it to actually be finished.
I am painting borders for each page of the book. Below you can see how the finished nest illustration will look set on a page. The text is obviously missing, but it will go on the top and if needed slightly around the illustration.
Here is the little wren singing. I decided to flip her facing the other way to make her look more natural in the layout of the pages.
After I am done with the illustrations, they will all be scanned in with a high resolution. Then they'll be set within the borders. Everything will be imported to Adobe InDesign to put the illustrations together with the text and then the book will be ready for publishing! It has been a very exciting process, and I will keep you posted on when the book is ready. I don't want to give out too much information before it is all done.
So now you know how I work, not very glamorous, but it works and I would not want to do anything else! Next time I'll share a small intaglio printmaking tip from Dan Welden.