Thursday, February 10, 2011

mitten island

The Friends of the Peaks Island Library hosted a morning of book activities around Ice Harbor Mittens this past Saturday at the Doug MacVane Community Room, next to the library. Author Robin Hansen trekked down from Bath, and together we shared our inspirations. Robin met my model for the Josie character. Here is Finn, a good sport, with Robin.

Robin brought a well-worn sailing chart and a pair of compasses, to talk about orienteering around tricky ledges in foggy waters. I brought my grandfather's buoy, which I included in one of the illustrations. That's a map of Peaks on the wall.

I gave a short slide show of my process, "Drawing a Good Yarn," with sketches and reference photos, talking about using scenes and folks on Peaks Island to shape my illustrations. It was almost a year ago, on Sunday, February 14 that Finn and Ellis posed for me in and around Don Crandall's lobster boat. in a back yard over on Crescent Avenue.

I'd already done some small thumbnail sketches, to sort out the sequence of the whole book, in story board fashion. Josie may look like he's in the road, but he's actually in a kitchen. Trust me.

Then I visited the house of Veronica Foster, who had left for a nursing home. The caretaker of the house, Kathie, let me in to see her kitchen.

I sketched Josie and Aunt Agnes from the story into the same scene, with the above photos, plus one of my model for Agnes, Annie Romanyshyn, along with some imagination and a dash of perspective.

The sketch was approved by the charming editor at DownEast, Michael Steere. And then I got busy with my pastels!

Robin also showed slides of West Point, Maine and the fishing community there, the locale where she once lived and learned about compass mittens. And then, she read her story.

Here's a mom in fine form, fingering the words for her pre-reader. Sweet!

No island event is complete without baked goods. I made some mitten and osprey cookies
from a recipe found in the back of a favorite picture book at the island library, Jingle the Christmas Clown, by the amazing Tomie dePaola.

I made up some activity sheets for kids to draw.

Even little Skye had fun making bright swirls, sporting a most fetching sweater, too.

Here's Daisy's map of favorite island spots, some real and some true.

This is Nikolai's mitten pattern. I rather like the glowing thumb!

Robin and I signed books, and drew little signature mittens in them.

                                   photo courtesy of Kathie Schneider

Our next bookish venture will be at Pinelands on February 22. Come to the Snow Splash Book Bash, sponsored by DownEast, from 11 AM - 1 PM, and find fun inside and out!

Meanwhile, I'm heading out into my own ice harbor...

My morning view of Little Diamond Island shrouded in sea smoke is the kind of cold beauty that makes my day.

1 comment:

Madeline said...

beautiful! Love this entry!Can't wait to see the book.