Monday, June 10, 2013

It's critique night with Giuseppe Castellano!

Tonight is critique night!

In March, my wonderful and generous illustration teacher, Mark Mitchell, made arrangements for a critique session with award-winning illustrator and Art Director at Penguin US, Giuseppe Castellano.

Giuseppe created a mock assignment for our class, based on the very first Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books (Giuseppe also oversees the imprints of Grosset & Dunlap, the original publisher for both series). He gave us very specific guidelines to follow, and encouraged us to treat this as an actual submission. The class was excited and enthusiastic, and everyone worked diligently to get the assignment turned in on time.

After reading through The Tower Treasure, it was the road leading up to the tower and the yellow jalopy that stuck out for me. I used my Brooklyn photographs and a couple of watercolor paintings to digitally collage my cover. It's been a couple of months since I created this, and I can now see many things I'd do differently, but I really can't wait for this critique. I'll let you know how it goes!

When in doubt, cut it out

This past week, I spent much of my time focusing on my characters for a children's book project. I had a stack of drawings and paintings in my bedroom, as well as various digital attempts on my computer, but I still could not "find" my characters.

Then I remembered my new mantra: When in doubt, cut it out.

I immediately grabbed a stack of my texture paintings that had already been scanned and filed on my computer, and I began cutting shapes. Within a few minutes, I'd assembled this little owl, and I played with his eyes and wings. I gave him different expressions, imagining things he might say, and I had a little photoshoot session with him.

Although I went on to make my character with a completely different style, it was this cutting process, and puppet-making process, that cleared my mind and helped me to animate my character.