Archive for February, 2010
Posted by: Kali Ciesemier
Book: Sabriel (purchase on Amazon)
On these nights, Sabriel would lock herself into her study (a privilege of the Sixth Form–previously she’d had to sneak into the library), put the kettle on the fire, drink tea and read a book until the characteristic wind rose up, extinguished the fire, put out the electric light and rattled the shutters–all necessary preparations, it seemed, for her father’s phosphorescent sending to appear in the spare armchair.
My first illustration deals with Sabriel while she is still in Ancelstierre– an indeterminately located country that seems to be set in an early 1920′s time period with a vaguely british atmosphere.
I wanted to show Sabriel in her Ancelstierran school surroundings before grim and mysterious happenings force her to venture over the Wall into the Old Kingdom (a vaguely medieval place, where the seasons run slightly differently and magic is afoot). This is the moment when things start to go wrong: her father does not show up, and a terrified knocking on the door startles her and alerts her to a strange occurance.
There’s so much story to this book, I was really hoping to have a spot or two done in addition to this illustration! Alas, time was not on my side! I’m thinking I’d like to do spots in the future though, in the same flat & limited color style as my bookplate. I ended up exploring a slightly more textured and rendered style for the main illustration, so we’ll see where it goes!
I have been/will be posting parts of my preliminary process with these images…feel free to take a look!
(and Sabriel, of course, is (c) Garth Nix. I don’t want to step on any toes!)
Posted by: Phil McAndrew
Book: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (purchase on Amazon)
Claudia had planned her speech. “I want you, Jamie, for the greatest adventure in our lives.”
Jamie muttered, “Well, I wouldn’t mind if you’d pick on someone else.”
Claudia looked out the window and didn’t answer. Jamie said, “As long as you’ve got me here, tell me.”
My first illustration shows 11 year old Claudia Kincaid informing her younger brother, Jamie, that she has selected him to accompany her on a great adventure. She plans to run away from home and she wants him to come with her. At first Jamie isn’t terribly interested (Claudia pulled him away from his daily game of war with his pal Bruce to break this news to him), but after some convincing he agrees.
He sat up in his seat, unzipped his jacket, put one foot up on the seat, placed his hands over his bent knee and said out of the corner of his mouth, “O.K., Claude, when do we bust out of here? And How?”
Claudia stifled the urge to correct his grammar again. “On Wednesday. Here’s the plan. Listen carefully.”
Jamie squinted his eyes and said “Make it complicated, Claude. I like complications.”
This seemed like a perfect scene to start with. It paints a terrific picture of the relationship between Claudia and Jamie. Reading this scene, my growing excitement for Claudia’s grand scheme mirrors Jamie’s growing enthusiasm for the adventure to come. As Claudia is trying to sell the plan to Jamie, it’s almost as if she’s attempting to convince the reader: this is going to be good.
Posted by: Laura Park
Book: Geek Love (purchase on Amazon)
click image for larger
A chance encounter with a garden of experimental dual colored roses served as the inspiration for Aloysius Binewski’s ’dreamlets’.
“The roses started him thinking, how the oddity of them was beautiful and how the oddity was contrived to give them value. “It just struck me – clear and complete all at once – no long figuring about it” He realized that children could be designed. “And I thought to myself, now THAT would be a rose garden worthy of a man’s interest!”
Geek Love is the story of the Binewski family, both of their past glory and of what remains of them in the present. Former geek Crystal Lil and ringmaster Aloysius run Binewski’s Fabulon, a traveling carnival. Their children, who serve as the Fabulon’s main attractions, were designed as human wonders through a variety of experiments involving drugs, chemicals, and radiation treatments. There is Arturo the Aqua Boy, the firstborn with fin-like hands and feet. Next are the violet-eyed and musically talented Siamese twins Electra and Iphigenia. Our narrator Olympia is a hunchbacked albino dwarf, deemed too ordinary looking to be much of an earner. Lastly, there is Fortunato (called Chick) completely normal in appearance but gifted with secret talents. The Binewskis are a tight-knit family and each ‘dreamlet’ is fiercely proud of their abnormalities.
It was a hard time choosing how to start this project. There’s a wealth of inviting images to pick from. The main tragedy of Geek Love is the loss of family, and I thought it best to start off with an image of better times. So here they are, before things got complicated. Papa Al, the dreamer surrounded by his dreamlets.
posted by Laura Park
Posted by: Jeremy Sorese
Book: A Wrinkle in Time (purchase on Amazon)
Mrs. Whatsit Chapter 1
For those that haven’t read A Wrinkle In Time, the story centers around the Murry family, specifically Meg Murry and her youngest sibling Charles Wallace. Meg is a awkward pubescent high school girl with a fiery temper, terrible grades and braces to boot. Charles is the baby of the family, an extremely bright boy but outside the company of his family, is silent. Most people assume he’s a little slow causing Meg to defend her brother in countless fist fights. The Murry household is rounded out by Sandy and Dennys, the middle siblings, their dog Fortinbras and their mother, a brilliant scientist. Their father is also a scientist but has been missing for months, supposedly on a business trip doing who knows what somewhere in the universe.
The novel opens on a dark and stormy night and Meg cannot sleep while a terrible hurricane whips the sides of her attic bedroom. This compounded with a terrible week at school and a scuffle with a dumb boy that afternoon, Meg is convinced the world is out to get her. Going down to the kitchen for a midnight snack, she finds Charles who predicted her plan and has already started to simmer milk on the stove for her. Charles has a way about him, he always seems to know exactly whats bothering Meg, whatever it may be. The two kids are soon joined by their mother who is also restless and hungry. In the middle of the sandwiches and hot chocolate, Fortinbras starts to bark. When Mrs. Murry goes to investigate what could possibly be out and about on a night like tonight, she brings back a person bundled tightly in layers of clothing. Meg is convinced its the tramp she heard about at the post office, come to her house to murder her whole family. Actually its Mrs. Whatstit, a small elderly woman whom Charles had met in the woods a few days before. Her boots are filled with water and Mrs. Murry helps to remove them to dry them out, (as seen above). As Mrs. Whatsit leaves, she turns to Mrs. Murry and says, with no prompting, that tesseracts do exist. Mrs. Murry is shaken, the color draining from her face as the squat woman heads back out into the storm.
The door slammed.
” Mother, what’s the matter!” Meg cried. “What did she say?” What is it?”
“The tesseract -” Mrs. Murry whispered. “What did she mean? How could she have known?”
Stayed tuned for next months installment! Thanks again for watching!
P.S. I did a test image way back in December that I posted over in my blog back when this little gig got started. For those that haven’t seen it, I’ll post it again here. And for those following along in your own copies of A Wrinkle In Time, this picture is from page 37.
posted by Meg Hunt.
Not to get off topic from the amazing art being posted, but these are Alice-related snippets of information, so please enjoy!
1) I was researching some things and remembered people being interested in Picture Book Report prints. Unfortunately due to the rights, much of our bookshelf probably can’t be reproduced (unless someone can set me straight!) but at least for me, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is in the public domain. So I decided to start posting my illustrations as available prints through Society6. So please check it out if you’re looking to bring Alice into your home! I will post these in the future along with each blog post so there won’t be a lot of cluttering.
2) There are a couple of very fun Alice-themed gallery shows opening up (coinciding with a little flick released soon) that I got to take part in. Little Alice is taking her journey to Alhambra, CA and Ottawa, Canada!
- Curiouser and Curiouser opens 2/27 at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA (word on the street is that there will be exclusive concept art and treats from the movie at the opening!)
- Two Days Slow opens 3/4 at Canteen Gallery in Ottawa, Ontario (in Canada!).
Both shows have a lot of awesome work, so please do check it all out!
Posted by: Israel Sanchez
Book: Where the Red Fern Grows (purchase on Amazon)
“I sat down on an old sycamore log, and started thumbing through the leaves. On the back pages of the magazine I came to the “For Sale” section-”Dogs for Sale”-every kind of dog. I read on and on. They had dogs I had never heard of, names I couldn’t make out. Far down in the right-hand corner, I found an ad that took my breath away. In small letters, it read: ‘Registered redbone coon hound pups- twenty five dollars each.’ “
In this early part of the story Billy finds a sportsman’s magazine left behind at a fishing campsite. After reading the ad he puts together a plan to get the hunting dogs he wants so badly. He starts making money catching bait for fisherman and selling opossum, rabbit, and skunk hides at his grandfather’s store. It takes him two years to save up the fifty dollars.
Posted by: PMurphy
Book: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (purchase on Amazon)
If you are unfamiliar with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” here is a very brief description…
The story is set in a mental ward and narrated by Chief Bromden, a large Native-American man with schizophrenia. Chief Bromden often describes the institution as “The Combine”. The Combine is a machine to keep patients in a state of limbo and it is headed by the sadistic Nurse Ratched. None of the patients in the ward challenge Nurse Ratched’s twisted way of conducting therapy. They are afraid to do so because they may be sent to electro-shock therapy or worse. The ward is disrupted by a boisterous, energetic patient named McMurphy. He is the one to challenge Nurse Ratched’s system. He is like a guiding light for those patients caught in the fog of the Combine.
So, for my first drawing, I’m showing McMurphy’s entrance to Nurse Ratched’s ward. I’m keeping this electric color palette throughout the P.B.R. project because I think it’s a nice contrast to the subject matter. The bright colors were also inspired by the fact that author, Kesey, was using psychedelics while visiting psych wards and writing the book.
post by PMurphy
Posted by: S.britt
Book: The Bremen Town Musicians (purchase on Amazon)
(click image to see larger)
A certain man had a donkey, which had carried the corn sacks to the mill indefatigably for many a long year. But his strength was going, and he was growing more and more unfit for work. Then his master began to consider how he might best save his keep. But the donkey, seeing that no good wind was blowing, ran away and set out on the road to Bremen. There, he thought, I can surely be a town musician.
Like most children growing up, if that is indeed the direction you chose to go in, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Grimm’s fairy tales. One of my particular favorites was The Bremen Town Musicians, because all kids love performing animals (you simply weren’t a kid if you didn’t). Not only this, but they also manage to outfox and swipe a house out from underneath a band of bumbling bandits! Not bad for a bunch of feeble-minded musical misfits that their owners had long since put out to pasture.
As much as I was entertained by their lively barnyard antics, I admit I had all but forgotten the story until I heard Danny Michel‘s “Bremen” around 10 years ago. Even though the song is more about the northwestern German town than the actual fairy tale, I still enjoy them both equally (how’s that for fair?). So when I was asked to participate in Picture Book Report, naturally I decided to pick one of my favorite childhood stories and one of my favorite grownup songs. It’s like reading your cake and having it sing to you too!
So if you’d like to continue following along with the story, please come back every 3rd Wednesday of the month for a new installment. And if you’d like to tap your toe along with the equally inspiring song, you can listen to it here.
Posted by: Lizzy Stewart
Book: Ella Minnow Pea (purchase on Amazon)
Ella Minnow Pea is the story of a small island called Nollop. So named because it was once home to Nevin Nollop; a local hero responsible for the famous pangram ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’; the shortest sentence to contain all letters of the alphabet. The much lauded and revered Nollop is immortalised on a stone cenotaph upon which his famous sentence is written out in tiles reminding islanders of their rich linguistic heritage. Until…
“On Monday, July 17, a most intriguing thing took place: one of the tiles from the top of the cenotaph at town center came look and fell to the ground. A young girl here, one Alice Butterworth, discovered the fallen tile at the base of the statue, carefully gathered up the bits and shards, and quickly conveyed them to the offices of the High Island Council. Tiny Alice delivered these fragments into the hands of the most senior Gordan Willingham who promptly called an emergency meeting of that lofty body to glean purpose and design from the sudden and unexpected detachation.”
Eventually it is decided by the powers that be that the fallen ‘Z’ is a sign that that very letter should be struck from the English language. And so ‘Z’ gets banned. Totally. No one may speak it or write it whatsoever. Craziness. Anyway thats pretty much what happens in the first letter (it’s all written in letters from the eponymous Ella’ and thats pretty much what I drew. I have a feeling my posts on this are going to be all over the place. I want to try out a fair few ways of dealing with the text because…well…I guess you’ll see why as it goes a long. Things…uh…deteriorate to say the least. Anyway this is a mix of pencil and digital and was a nice excuse to draw a wise looking bearded man!
Posted by: Andrea Kalfas
Book: Tarzan of the Apes (purchase on Amazon)
Tarzan is really only fragile and vulnerable once in his life. Even when he’s a young kid he can hold his own against fully grown bull apes, so I knew I wanted to make one scene showing how fragile he once was. But this one is also a lot about Kala, Tarzan’s ape mother. Her baby has just died when she lost her grip on it in the trees and when the tribe makes its way to the Clayton’s cabin on the beach, she carries its corpse the whole way, refusing to leave it on the ground to be eaten.
As she took up the little live baby of Alice Clayton she dropped the dead body of her own into the empty cradle; for the wail of the living had answered the call of universal motherhood within her wild breast which the dead could not still.
I slowed this scene down a lot, actually. In fact, Kala has to dodge in and snatch Tarzan before Kerchak can mangle him, BUT the moment is really pivotal and I always found it really moving to read that Tarzan’s life depended on death and mourning to continue, so I thought it could use some extra time. I love the beginning of the book because it’s full of so many stirring tragic moments like this one that really defy all the silly Tarzan stereotypes out there. The book can be pretty melodramatic at times, but it’s packed with emotion, and is also really death-filled and violent! Not too Disney after all.