Tuesday, February 2, 2010

nook books are here!

Hooray! I got my box of Nest, Nook and Cranny books! O happy Pub Day!

I worked feverishly a year ago on the illustrations for this book of poems by Susan Blackaby. About animal habitats, it was a delicious challenge to immerse myself in the wordplay and my own environment, my radar always on the look out for immediate reference.

The book is punctuated by spreads that define a particular habitat: desert, grassland, shoreline, wetland, and woodland. Except for desert, I could mine my own territory, more or less.

Since there is a beaver colony on Peaks, I thought I could do some direct research. However, they are elusive critters, leaving only their signature chiseled marks on downed trees. Probably why I drew this beaver leaving the picture frame in my first piece for the Wetland spread.

The interior is black and white, but for the spreads, I wanted to play with some paper combinations for a greater range of tonal values. I needed to revise this, and show the beaver, plus draw a less awkward heron in flight. Thanks for astute art direction, Whitney!

There are some things you just have to invent. I had to draw a bear and a hive, but couldn't find very detailed reference. I drew this pattern.

I inverted and warped it, printed it out, and tore the edges, for that layered, papery quality of a hive. I combined the collage with the bear drawing.

It figures that reference often comes too late, but maybe it will be useful for another time, like this honeycomb I found in the snow yesterday.

Even though I live on an island, there's plenty of woodsy inspiration for this piece, for the Woodlands spread.

I loved the pattern of the inside of an envelope for the tree, but needed to revise that. This is the final version in the book.

Whenever I could, I played with cut paper and silhouettes.

Most of the illustrations are simple with plenty of white to give the poems their space.

Look who visited the lowtide about 3 months after I finished my illustrations...

And this morning I noticed this on a neighbor's roof:

The author writes at the end, " As a writer, I'm often asked where I get my ideas, and I usually say that I poke my nose out the front door. I suggest you do the same. If you stay on the lookout for quirky, curious, and remarkable things, you'll soon discover them everywhere."

Well said, Susan!

It was hard to miss this quirky curiosity, spotted down my street.

Only a clever quack would come up with such a remarkable obstacle for those drivers blasting to the next ferry.

Thanks to Suz, Charlesbridge, and folks like Tim, who make the world an ever fascinating place.


Kirby Larson said...

The book is stunning, Jamie, and I'm on my way to my local indie to buy it. Hooray!

jamie peeps said...

thanks, Kirby! Yay for indie book stores!

Patricia Erikson said...

The book is gorgeous, Jamie. Congratulations! I took a picture yesterday of your favorite girl by a beaver dam. Will send it along.