Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Process

It's always interesting to see how an artist works. I'll post my process from time to time because I don't always work the same way in terms of how detailed my preparation is. For the peacock image I did a detailed line drawing and then I didn't do any color sketches but rather delved straight into the painting from the line drawing. My process always begins with an unrecognizable thumbnail sketch. For Noah's Ark I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do in my head so I moved into a basic outline sketch to size:

Next I traced it and refined the image (I use "refine" loosely):

I added a background for the sky and water, blocked in the boat, and began to add some details: the cloud swirls in the sky, the decorative waves and the lines and color variations in the wood of the boat.

I continued layering the colors and filling in the details. I used some colored pencil in the peacock. It's a little difficult to see where I used the gold from my scan, but it's strongest in the waves, with touches on the wood to catch the light in person, some of the fur and on Noah's robe.

This image was done for the Children's Illustration Showcase exhibit at Gallery Connect on view through the end of March.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Judging Day for the Morgan Book Project

Wow! This past Friday I had the privilege of being a judge for the Morgan Library Museum’s program for children, the Morgan Book Project. Nine judges reviewed a selection of amazing books created by children from 3rd to 8th grades.

Teachers learned the process first and the kids were treated to a gallery tour and an opportunity to see the Morgan’s collection of illuminated manuscripts for inspiration. Back in the classroom, the teachers helped the kids to fabricate the accordion books. The kids wrote their own stories and then illustrated them using paint they created from scratch! Yep, they took raw materials like saffron (for yellow), and cochineal insects (reddish pigment), ground the material up using a mortar and pestle, added a binder and voila! Paint. They were even given 22k gold leaf to use on archival paper. This is serious business! The stories ranged from the anecdotal to full out fantasy. A day with a stomach bug, the birth of hamsters, Dad as a medieval knight, Native American influenced stories, and a magic turtle were some of the themes. They were funny and moving, and the artwork was awesome. As judges we were given guidelines but it was so hard to choose. Well done guys, beautiful work!

Here’s more info on the program:

The Project: In this free program, every year teachers from New York City public schools participate in a four-day Summer Institute for Teachers, developed by the Morgan in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, and focused on the integration of book arts into the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subject, as well as The New York City Department of Education Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. Through the following fall and winter, these teachers lead their students in the writing, illustration, and binding of manuscript books. They submitted their students' four best projects to a jury. At the end of March, the winning books are featured in a one-day installation at the Morgan, while the students whose books were selected receive an award in the presence of their families, school teachers, and principals in the Gilder Lehrman Hall.

For additional information on the The Morgan Book Project, please visit

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Morgan Library Museum: The Morgan Book Project

I’m so thrilled to have been invited to participate as a juror this year in the Morgan Library & Museum’s annual Morgan Book Project for children. The jury meets tomorrow so check back for further info.

Friday, March 2, 2012

An animated short I recommend

Have a look -
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011)
Here's the link: