Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Children's Book Week

This is an illustration I've recently completed for the Sioux City Public Library, and very fitting to post today because this is Children's Book Week, an annual celebration of children's books that goes back to 1919. The Children's Book Week Posters book by Leonard Marcus was a wonderful reference to look through when I was searching out inspiration for my own book-themed illustration. Here are a few of my favorite CBW posters, I have the first two hanging in my office that I found on Ebay, and I would love to get my hands on a copy of the poster by Jan Balet (my most favorite)... have not had any luck in my searches so far.

William Penn DuBois, 1950

Garth WIlliams, 1955

Jan Balet, 1953

My other inspiration for this piece came from one of my favorite artists, Grant Wood. Whenever I have to take a drive across the state I always look out on the green, rolling hills and rows of corn and think of Grant Wood's paintings. I knew from the start that I wanted my library illustration to also represent the beauty of rural Iowa, something I am proud of because of my family's long history with farming in this state. This is Grant Wood's painting Young Corn:

And I'm not done! This is a small illustration, but over the next few months I will be recreating it twice- on a 30"x30" canvas and 4'x4' masonite board. Both with be hung at the Sioux City Library's main branch for public viewing when they are finished. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Illustration Friday: Journey

The word for Illustration Friday this week is Journey, which I love because it fits perfectly with a piece that I have been meaning to get posted for the last few months. The illustration is of Heidi, from the classic book by Johanna Spyri. I entered a contest last December for the Tomie dePaola Award, and in the guidelines were the first few paragraphs of the book, detailing Heidi's journey with her aunt to the top of a mountain where she would live with her grandfather. After a few weeks of sketching several ways this scene could be illustrated I decided that Heidi must have felt scared and also in awe, so I chose not to do a close-up shot but instead wanted to make her feel small in her wide open and large, completely new environment. I didn't win the contest, but it was a wonderful challenge that I put a lot of thought into, and it's a great addition to my portfolio.

Please click on the full illustration if you would like to see it larger/better detail.