Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Learning Watercolor

For a long time I’ve wanted to get good at using watercolor so I can illustrate with it. I love the way watercolor looks. But I’m afraid of it. Irrationally terrified. Pencil can be erased, and with acrylics or oils you can paint over mistakes. But if you mess up a watercolor painting, it’s hard to fix. Sometimes I do something I don’t like and when I try to lift it out of the paper, I end up ruining that part of the paper. Then no matter what I do, it won’t look right. So I’ve done lots of nice big drawings and then instead of painting them with watercolor like I planned to do, I just let them sit. 

What’s the worst thing that could happen? I mess up a drawing and then I do another one. And consider it practice. Or I figure out how to turn a mistake into a happy accident, and stop being a perfectionist.

Right now I’m learning to do skin tones, and I’m doing it in my art journal, because it’s small and just for me and not as scary. I won’t show you my first attempt but I’ll give you a hint: It was bad. Here’s the second one.

I’m using this book and it’s really helping me.

Realistic Watercolor Portraits: How to Paint a Variety of Ages & Skin Tones by Suzanna Winton

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekend Links: Short Tips for Writers

We're winding down after a busy spring break, so something short and sweet is on the menu for today. Above is a short video on the difference between a writer and an author. 

Below is a fantastic resource. It's story boarding for writers, but not the way you story board for a picture book. This is a three-act structure device and a great one if you are struggling with your plot:

And finally, just for fun, a clip from my favorite YouTube channel, Bored Shorts. 

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weekend Links: The Beauty of Human Collaboration

I saw the above clip today with Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury and thought it was perfect to illustrate what happens when a writer and an author add their distinct interpretations to a story. Bear Hunt is a classic I've read to my children, not quite 2500 times, but pretty close. Okay, not that close. Anyway, it's fun and educational to learn the story behind the story.

The video below shows one of my favorite illustrators (who has also authored his own stories), Chris Riddell. He and Paul Stewart have collaborated on a number of fantasy books for children. It's a great overview of what happens when art and words, and the people who craft them, work together.

And the final video, well it's a life insurance ad from Thailand. I'm not sure how effective it is as an ad--I guess if it were a Kleenex tissues ad--but it's quite a glorious message so don't let the advertising deter you. The video has nothing to do with writing, per se, but it is about the human experience which is what we, as writers, seek to unfold.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Weekend Links: It's All About the Art

My daughter's 3d grade art project that was selected for a county-wide art show.

I'm not an illustrator, but I love art. I grew up surrounded by it. My mom is an artist and my brother became an animator. So for all your artists and illustrators out there, this post is for you. 

The video above is shameless advertising but I loved the artist's style. Alison Woodward, a Vancouver-based illustrator used paint and washes to create a gorgeous picture I'd love to have on my wall. 

Video 2 is an illustrator I was introduced to through 12x12, Shawna JC Tenney. In her video she shows how to create a texture for Photoshop.

And finally, a bit on the long side but helpful if you're an illustrator wondering how much to charge for your work. Here's Will Terry giving his two cents:

Have a great weekend!