Friday, November 12, 2010

seen and noted

 For a small rock, Peaks Island can be quite the draw.  In a most rare event, Charlesbridge designer, Whitney Leader-Picone, trekked out here to connect with several islanders who are creating books for them. It was my good fortune to play host, and here we are in my cluttered studio, looking over a color comp for a non-fiction picture book about climate change.

Here's a rough of a spread about the golden toad.

I still need more reference on cloud forests and toad eggs, but it's a start.

Here is a comp for the title page. I found an old snapshot I took at the Boston Aquarium years ago, of a penguin swimming, and paired it with a torn paper polar bear, topo map style. This, too, needs work.

Sometimes it's good to find inspiration on TV, such as this shot from Disney's Earth movie, which has spectacular footage of polar bears.

Nothing beats getting outside, though, and making your own observations. I brought Whitney to the beach for a brisk walk. We both share an eye for pattern. She took this photo of the carpet of periwinkle shells that covers the sand at low tide.

And I took this of berries, left like ornaments on the bare branches. We both love red!

After warming up by a crackling fire, we met our colleagues, Annie Sibley O'Brien and Tim Nihoff at the Cockeyed Gull.

It was splendid to talk books in a delicious atmosphere. Thank you, Charlesbridge!

The next morning, it was Annie's turn to show her work in progress. Here is her wall of oil paintings, drying and awaiting the next round of color.

Before departing on the ferry, Whitney stopped at Tim's, a sweet cottage facing the bay. She had a bit of fun with his whimsical masks which adorn the studio.

Whitney headed home to Boston, and I got back into the swing by drawing in my Sketchbook Project
journal. You can still sign up! Do it! It took me awhile to break the ice with my first page, but now I am just drawing up a storm. I mean, a sketchbook isn't about masterpieces. It's about making sense of one's day.

My topic is "boys and girls" so here is a giggly girl I know.

I'm having a tough time getting used to the thin paper, and working on white. Testing out brands of colored pencils, seems like Prismacolor suits me best.

While watching the World Series, my dog and I got hooked by the rookie ace for the Giants.

I couldn't help myself, and did some quick sketches of Tim Lincecum, not very good.
The charcoal pencil smudges the opposite page, but sketchbooks are the real, raw deal.

I even whipped it out during the recent talk given by Ahmed Alsoudani, a MECA grad who has become quite successful in international art circles. He was full of great quotes, which I scribbled down as fast as I could.

Maine College of Art has an amazing visiting artist program, among other things. My first encounter with the school was in 2002, when I took a Continuing Studies class with Judy Labrasca. She's an artist, photographer, and teacher who is now a dear friend. We got together recently, and talked about
what else: colored pencils!

We also went for a stroll on the magnificent trails at Gisland Farm, part of the Maine Audubon Society.

I would follow Judy anywhere. She's been a gentle mentor and loyal supporter of all my progress in books.

Once again, it was lovely to get outside. That's the message of Nest, Nook & Cranny, which Whitney art directed. Just saw a great review that can be read here.

Time for me to walk the dog, sniff the air, and find more grand stories to tell with drawing.

1 comment:

SuzB said...

Topo polar bear?! BRILLIANT! & WOW, how much fun to gather with the Creative Cool. XXSuz