Friday, January 27, 2006
Showing it again
All this talk of children's books and writing and blogging and conferencing and researching, and cartooning, might lead one to forget what I really do for a living: work for the newspaper. The above is an illustration that recently ran in my hometown newspaper. I wasn't too happy with the turnout, but because it received so many nice compliments, I figured I'd run it here, too.
Sketching it again
Sketches for Justin have been approved with minor adjustments. The challenge is that they made their selection of me based upon my art for the book Summer Sun Risin'. The thing is, my art style evolves as frequently as my hair. Asking me to re-create something created three years ago is difficult because...well, I've been there; I've moved on and hopefully have grown. Many children's book illustrators have a trademark style that they use for each successive book. I don't do that. I keep evolving, each work being something slightly different than what I've done in the past. The sketches I submitted didn't exactly match the style they had in mind, so I'll need to spend the weekend revising them to better suit their needs, while somehow remaining true to where I am as an artist today.
Painting it again
I am so psyched up about starting the final artwork for Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World. This time, I've decided to use oil paints. After looking through my portfolio, I realized that my strongest pieces of art were done in oil. I started using acrylic paint because of tight deadlines but acrylics lack the lumosity of oils. And besides that, nothing quite stimulates a brotha's senses more than blocking out a cerulean blue sky over a burnt sienna wash. That, and the aroma of paint thinner... Ah, heaven.
Reading it again
Finished reading Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers. Loved it. The drama of it kept the pages turning, and I read this book in less than two weeks. Pretty good for me considering how long it normally takes me to read a book. I especially liked the way Myers wrote this book in small chunks, scene-by-scene within chapters. I tend to write in hunks and have been having trouble transitioning between scenes. Guess I don't have to force it.
Next read: Unforgivable Blackness by Geoffrey C. Ward. Temporarily, I'm sitting YA aside to return to what I absolutely love — adult historical biographies/historical fiction. I am a sucker for a story about an African American man who overcomes great odds. Women, too — I loved The Black Rose — but of course, I relate better to a man's struggles.
Feeling it again
About three years ago, I almost lost the use of my hands due to repetitive stress. Actually, the doctors never did conclusively diagnose what was wrong, but I had a very scary, and painful couple of years. The pain level finally subsided, but never completely went away. To this day, drawing, mousing, or typing any more than 10 minutes just plain hurts. My doctors prescribed a wonder cure which I stopped taking because it cost a small fortune. Besides that, it’s an anti-depressant, and I ain’t depressed. This stuff tricks your brain into not realizing how much pain one is experiencing. Lately, my hands have been telling me that it’s time to pull that little trick again, at least for awhile. Sigh.