Our very active Chicago area SCBWI Illustrators group participated in the #meettheartist initiative. Here's mine...at first I had more dislikes...but this one topped them all! Treacherous territory!!
Sometimes, you gotta revisit the past...go back to the beginning. Figure out how early passions inform the present. For me, it's the memories of art school, my love of drawing/painting people from life, capturing their faces and the stories behind them.
I was very happy to discover a professional gathering of artists happening just a stone's throw from my home, the Pauper's Art Guild. Like a kid in a candy shop, I was instantly enamored of this place filled with serious (and fun) artists. The walls display gorgeous original art while numbered prints on the consignment pile wait to be framed. Tom Waits, Elvis Costello or some obscure indy band urges us on as those present delve into it with the medium of their choice. While it was a bit of a rough start getting back in the swing of drawing from a model, soon everything resolved itself. The atmosphere goes from silent intensity to raucous debates with a little blue humor mixed in. I found my tribe, in my own 'hood, no less!
One of the most captivating and productive school visits I ever had was when I recently met with 50 Young Authors at the Union Ridge School in Harwood Heights, IL. In the first half, I presented Visual Storytelling using my latest illustrated picture book "One Day I Went Rambling" as a guide. In the second half, students read the first 2 minutes of their story, and as a class I led the discussion in helpful critique...what we liked, suggestions for improvement.
In between, the students had a visual challenge to exercise their imaginations. I showed my own "Illustration-A-Day" challenge where I created art from a "3 unrelated words" daily prompt. First, I showed the art I created from the words "lamb, night sky, microphone." After that, I just showed various other 3 words combinations and had them guess what an illustration might be. You could just see the gears turning, lightbulbs flashing, hands wildly waving. Eruptions of laughter and clapping ensued when their imaginations matched mine. Sometimes, their visual impressions were better. Sometimes they protested "Lizard was not one of the words." To which I answered, "I didn't say you COULDN'T put a lizard in!" Then we talked about using imagination in writing.
We even made the online school newsletter. Kid writers + Illustrator....what a great equation!
I've never held a contest before. Maybe I'll get 5 participants. Or 50. Or 500! After hearing about "Inktober," a creatively-inspired group effort of artists posting daily inked drawings on social media for the entire month of October, I chose to do a half-marathon.I posted my inked creations on odd days only. Now I'm having a contest to give the original art away! Your choice of art!!
The contest only lasts 2 days, so your chances are pretty good!
HOW TO ENTER TO WIN:
- Share this post on Facebook (and let me know you did!)
- Read and comment on this blog entry
- Follow me on Twitter and retweet this from @terrimurphy5
- “Like” my Facebook page at facebook.com/terrimurphyillustrator
Pretty simple, yes? If you have any questions, just post it in comments. Bonus, it will also count as a contest entry!
Here are samples of all paintings the 3 winners will get to choose from. If you have Facebook, you can see larger images here.
Winners will be drawn at midnight on Halloween and announced shortly thereafter! Good luck to my 5, or 50. Or500?…
Winner Update: video
It’s been a while since I’ve devised an artistic challenge, and so beginning tomorrow and for the full month of May, I’ll be creating one illustration a day. Even though I have a big job/deadline on my drawing table, it seems those are the times I feel a great need to refresh and inform myself while frolicking with the muse. The parameters will be a concentration on design and tonal value, to be completed in the morning within an hour.
Wherever one is in their career, there is always something new to learn and explore. The first seed that inspired this challenge is a critique (above) I received from illustrator Matt Faulkner www.mattfaulkner.com, who pointed out things I can concentrate on to improve my craft. The other seed is I’ve been privileged to take a picture book making class with illustrator Laura Montenegro here who stirred the pot of my creative process.
To make things more interesting, I’ll be picking 3 subject suggestions from this list I’ve compiled to create the illustration. Hopefully it will feed into my sense of the absurd.
Starting May 1st .. Let the wild rumpus begin!
Update: Here are some of my favorites of the month:
Link to larger version
Maybe it was general consensus among publishers that the picture book market is rebounding. Maybe it was witnessing the many editors, agents and art directors who were not part of the conference make a special trip in to view the Portfolio Showcase.
Or maybe it was these lovely tiny foods in glasses.
All I know it that I'm usually spinning around for a few days after a big conference, overwhelmed with information, trying to get my bearings.
This year, I'm focused. Inspired. Things to do...
Thank you SCBWI, for being at the helm of one of the nicest industries there is, and for putting us all in touch.
The best thing about doing school visits featuring my latest illustrated picture book, “One Day I Went Rambling” (Bright Sky Press, Kelly Bennett-author) is that inspired kid ramblers will rev up their imaginations weeks before I get there. Children will often pair up with others or entice their families to go hunting in junk drawers, nooks-and-crannies, and outdoor environments for cast-away and forgotten items. Using the two most creative words in the English language, “What if…?” they transform their found objects into a new creation of their own inspiration.
To foster this kind of inventiveness is the greatest compliment. Last week, at Eastland Elementary in Shannon, Illinois, an entire wall display of “Rambling” ingenuity greeted me as I walked through the door.
Thank you Eastland Elementary, for the opportunity to creatively connect with your students!
It’s my third attempt to be accepted into the International Book Fair in Bologna, Italy. To be considered, one must produce 5 original children's illustrations, related in theme or narrative. This year, I decided to go with an edgier look to my art.
I’ve titled the series “Dream of the World” and the one above is “Spirit Guide, The Awakening.” After studying international art all year, some of my new favorite children’s illustrators now hail from Japan, Italy, Poland and the Middle East. The community in my heart and mind is truly global…
I hope I make it in…but even if I don’t, I feel I’m on a new path of discovery. Who's to say where it will lead? Here is a step-by-step of the process I developed, and hope to take further:
Sketch on watercolor paper .........basic colors blocked in.
Everything except line painted out...entire surface inked.
Rinsed, and with fingers crossed......The Big Reveal!!
That last part is wildly wonderful to experience. It can also go very, very wrong….and experiments with this technique were sometimes heartbreaking. After this last step, I paint further with watercolor to give it that spark
So will I make it in to Bologna, Italy in 2014? Time will tell. In the meantime, Viva Immaginazione!!
You can see the other 4 in the series currently on my facebook illustration album or soon at my revamped website.
I’ve had the pleasure of presenting the picture book illustrator’s craft at school visits and have more booked on the horizon--but Springfield Elementary in Midlothian, Illinois, knows how to do it right! I realized this as soon as I walked in and saw their Welcome Bulletin Showcase with a Rambling theme, to honor my latest illustrated picture book “One Day I Went Rambling” (author,Kelly Bennett, Bright Sky Press 2012).
I was doubly surprised to see their cute version of the story’s main character Zane with a wagon-full of found treasures and a “cowpoke’s twirling rope!”
Authors and illustrators are interested in the same thing, telling a good story! The children learned that a good picture book story leaves room for an illustrator's interpretation, and an author does not need to say everything in words. Kids were able to answer questions I asked like “How did I use color to show the character's emotion? Or “How does this character’s body language give hints as to what a viper is?"
Certainly the best part of the illustration presentation is the live demo. Here I show my black and white technique, an involved process some of which I create in the studio. I save the most magical part for the demo. The pre-prepped board is painted black, takes a bath, and a line-drawn image appears and is projected on the jumbo screen!
Demo for 3rd & 4th grades:
To the delight of many!
Finally, my last delight was this sea of aqua shirts with the “Are You Ready to Ramble?” theme logo. I lunched with these dedicated teachers, heard how they inspire their students to read, write, problem solve and create, while making learning fun! Thank you Springfield Elementary staff. You are true ramblers...finding the strengths and passion in your students, and encouraging them to flower!
You can find out more about booking my picture book illustrator program here .
One way I get to travel is when I follow my artwork. So far it’s lead me to New York and Texas. Now I’ve just shipped off 5 themed illustrations for consideration to Bolognafiere 2012, held in Bologna, Italy. It’s the “Sundance” for children’s illustrators. Last year, no one from the United States was chosen. But if these make the cut, I’ll go to Italy. I’ll go!
Those with generous overflowing imaginations and heart, can you picture them there?
Children's book illustrator Terri Murphy has Halloween Fever and it shows, in the Oct 2010 issue of Spider Magazine for ChildrenRead More