Friday, August 31, 2012

The Zen of watercolor

This is the work of Jon Muth, author/illustrator of ZEN SHORTS.
Notice the wet-into-wet technique, the graded wash, masterfully controlled. An interviewer asked him for advice about painting in watercolor, and he answered: 

"The only bit of advice I can offer is: I've never won an argument with a watercolor. You really have to pay attention to the nature of the medium. That' s true of any medium; it's true of stone. I do find that if I try to make watercolor do something it doesn't want to do, I make pictures which are somehow not quite right. It's really a matter of paying close attention to the nature of the medium and your own intentions." 

Before turning to children's books, he was illustrating for a Japanese manga magazine. Read the full interview at the link, above. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


"Sketching is an essential part of the art making process. Drawing is thinking, sketching is planning- putting pencil to paper is how an artist arrives at ideas." --CSN
Follow this link for a nice overview of Christopher's process as he began to transform a typed manuscript into an illustrated book. Though already a well-established illustrator, this was his first children's book assignment, from Chronicle Books, published 2011. Some of the questions he asked himself:

"When sketching for this book I kept everything loose and concerned myself more with the overall story and also how to break up the words on each page. Where should the next page begin? How big should the chipmunk be? What imagery will be on this page? How is the overall pacing of the book? Are there enough little animals and big animals, close ups and wide shots? These are the kinds of questions I would try to answer while drawing." 

Monday, August 27, 2012