Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Illustration Friday interview

 IF interview with illustrator Stephanie Graegin

Since pencils have been on the menu lately, this artist caught my eye.
Here's what she says about finding her style:

2. How did you get your start in illustrating for children?

It was a long, long road of developing a strong portfolio while working a lot of non-art related day jobs to pay rent. I started out with small illustration assignments, mainly for children’s magazines. It took me awhile to get to the style I use now. The first breakthrough came once I threw away all my pens, which I used for years, and used pencil and computer. Something clicked for me, and the work drastically improved.

At this point, I had gained more confidence in my work, and I put forward a huge effort in getting myself out in the world. I spent about a year putting together portfolio pieces that represented the type of assignments I wanted to get, I built a better website, and made a promotional mailer. I spent months making the promotion mailer; I knew I wanted to make something more memorable than the typical postcard.

I ended up making a mini handbound booklet that fit in a 4 x 6 envelope. I sent out around 200 of these booklets to editors and art directors. My approach worked, and almost immediately I started receiving calls for work.
I was incredibly fortunate to be featured on the illustrationmundo blog a couple months later (thank you Nate Williams!). Steven Malk, a literary agent for Writers House saw my work there and took me on as a client. Everything started to fall into place and since that time I’ve had a continuous flow of projects — It’s been almost 2 years now since I sent out that promo.
A testament to the rewards of dedicated and persistent creative work!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ezra Jack Keats

 Ezra Jack Keats- Caldecott Medal 1963

From his bio: The techniques that give The Snowy Day its unique look—collage with cutouts of patterned paper, fabric and oilcloth; homemade snowflake stamps; spatterings of India ink with a toothbrush—were methods Ezra had never used before. “I was like a child playing,” he wrote of the creation process. “I was in a world with no rules.” After years of illustrating books written by others, Peter had given Ezra a new voice of his own.
In subsequent books, he blended collage with gouache, an opaque watercolor mixed with a gum that produced an oil-like glaze. Marbled paper, acrylics and watercolor, pen and ink and even photographs were among his tools. The simplicity and directness of The Snowy Day gave way to more complex and painterly compositions.
In  his evolution from fine artist to children’s book illustrator, Ezra applied influences and techniques that had inspired him as a painter, from cubism to abstraction, within a cohesive, and often highly dramatic, narrative structure. His artwork also demonstrates an enormous emotional range, swinging from exuberant whimsy to deep desolation and back again.