Another childhood favorite is by Mercer Mayer called One Monster After Another, 1974. I loved that book for its fantastical images and humorous story. Up until this book, most children's books I saw weren't far from reality. This one really plunged me into a fantasy world. I could be lost for hours imagining each scene. It was the first book that I noticed the author had a voice and had a sense of humor. Earlier books I read were just like a narration with illustrations. Looking at the story again, I think I've realized why I like Zooey Deschanel so much. She reminds me of the little girl in the story.
So, if you've been wondering why you haven't seen a post in a while, it is because any extra time has been going to a Benefit for my brother-in-law. He is currently undergoing round after round of chemo to fight his Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML), also referred to as Bone Marrow Leukemia. I am on Brian's Benefit Crew meeting weekly to plan for his Benefit to be held this month. The Benefit is to raise money so that he can undergo a Bone Marrow Transplant. Does this sketch look familiar? I was able to use my earlier sketch of Loon Lake (where their cottage is located), on the flyer and poster. I think it gives a gentle, relaxing feel to the flyer.
What can I say about the beauty and sweetness of Maurice Sendak's illustrations for A Kiss For Little Bear? The charming story is by Else Holmelund. The line drawings look like hand-colored etchings. Maurice Sendak is not only a Master of the Picture Book, he is great at adding and making allusions. Notice his monster he draws which looks like monsters from Where the Wild Things Are. And Grandmother Bear who sits and is dressed like Whistler's Mother. I just love the beauty of the illustrations and the expressions on the hen's face just cracks me up. So much expression on a chicken. I could go on and on about Maurice Sendak. He is one the greats!
I LOVE the stories of Harry like Harry The Dirty Dog by Gene Zion with illustrations by Margaret Bloy Graham circa 1965. This was a major influence to me as a child. I have never tired of the story and pictures. It is my first introduction to the art of printing, really. I used to stare at the use of color and try to guess how it was done. It was the first book I noticed the use of 3-color printing, and how there are different values of the spot colors green and orange with the black. Today, I still marvel at the simplicity of the story, and the perfect marriage of words and images. There are several 'Harry' books. My favorite is still Harry By the Sea. I remember reading these to my younger brother and sister, my nieces and nephews, and then later to my own son.
Tell me, do YOU have a favorite book from your childhood? What makes it so special to you?
Here are two sketches from my sketchbook done June 1999 on our family trip to Mackinac Island.
I had glued some dark paper in my sketchbook so I could use chalk pastel. This location is the view from Mission Point beach on Mackinac Island. [Go to the navigation bar at the top of the page 'About. . .' to see more information about Mackinac Island.]
My process: I've used this technique in other drawings on this blog. I use a medium value of paper, then I can add a dark line, and lighter color for highlights, and it hits the whole range of values and makes it feel complete.
Here's my boy! This is a sketch from the same sketchbook, that I didn't complete in color. It is of our son, who was 4 at the time resting in the umbrella stroller, when we were on the same vacation on Mackinac Island. You can see the horse and carriage, and a bike in the background. It must have been at Arch Rock.
There is something about this sketch I like (besides the subject matter), I think it is the varied lines weights on the darker paper. The tone reminds me of old master's drawings.
This is the famous landmark of Grand Haven, Mi. We had gone out to see the effects of our frigid winter on the pier and channel. It was below zero windchill that day. In this drawing, I wanted to capture the day where everything was white or gray with the exception of the pier. At this point in our relentless winter, I've had enough of the endless snow and ice and dream of the return of sunshine. BUT, this is PURE Michigan, and I love the beauty of the seasons.
My process: I chose a blue-gray paper so that would be the basic color of the scene. I used marker for the line drawing, then used chalk pastel. I added darker gray for the ice and shadow, and light blue for the sky. I used workable fixative to set that layer and then went in with white over the top.
I had done some drawings from my sister Diane's photographs of Paris. I gave the finished drawings to her as a gift. She loves Paris and visits each year. I wanted her to have some scenes to keep. I've never shared these preliminary sketches. They have a slightly different feel than the originals. The medium is charcoal on paper. I was just trying to work out the compositions.
The bottom finished drawing was called TREASURE SEEKERS because my sister loves crows, and both crows AND Diane are known to be treasure hunters. They both search for treasures wherever they go. I was working out how I would have her meet a crow and exchange treasures.
I love my little red girl, Windry. She is a 'Red' Shiba Inu. She's dainty and beefy at the same time. She is charming and beautiful. I haven't really drawn her much, because the task is a bit intimidating. I haven't been able to capture her beauty so far. But I am determined to get her on paper! This is a study for a future book I am working on. She is lying on the ottoman in her favorite sunspot.
My process: It is drawn on a brown grocery bag. I like the tone for her coloring. It is done with marker and then a few accents of chalk pastel on top.
Just for fun. This is a sketch that makes me laugh. I drew it from memory of posing for a photo at my Mom and Dad's house on their deck in front of a tree. I was just trying to work out shapes and proportions. I was trying to work out traits recognizable. If you know us, maybe you can recognize my husband, son, and me….not flattering in the least of any of us. It's just a sketch, but something about it I like.
Showing this is my way of opening up and building confidence. Ordinarily, I'd NEVER show something like this to anyone. It is just a personal exercise. But I am realizing that I like drawing more when I don't have to be so exact and critical. I like the gestural quality of sketching. So, maybe I'll explore THAT direction. Come along for the journey!
From my sketchbook: Basking in the warmth of memories of the summer, here is a quick sketch I did of my sister Linda as she was chatting on the phone with her daughters. We were visiting a quaint little nook at an artist's store on Loon Lake while taking advantage of some wi-fi. Linda is currently busy, busy, working on a benefit for her husband. More on that later!
I did this sketch on the shore of Loon Lake, northern Lower Michigan, at Linda and Brian's Cottage.
Over the last few days I've been thinking about the impressive conditions we witnessed when we visited the ice covered pier at Grand Haven, MI. I thought I might do some drawings of that, but couldn't bring myself to work on them. I've had enough of this relentless string of snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. I wanted some GREEN to warm the soul. I thought this was fitting to share because we are currently planning a benefit for my Brother-in-Law Brian. Because of his illness he hasn't been able to get up to their cottage.
This is my way of spreading hope and looking forward to the warm days ahead when he'll feel well enough to get back to Loon Lake.
I walk outside and feel a bit claustrophobic. This is my new take on an old Nursery Rhyme. You may remember the Old Woman who lived in a shoe? I feel like her, only I have so much SNOW, I don't know what to do!
Walk out to Winter. . .
Welcome to my first post on my very first blog in the very first month of the very new year. This blog is my way of sharing with you what is on my 'drawing board'. Thanks for looking at things through my perspective.
My corner of the world has recently gotten MUCH smaller and whiter.
Hi. I'm Ann.
This is where I post my current thoughts and ideas about the topics that resonate with me, and how I work them out as illustrations. This is my work in progress.