MAM Art Truck!

So one of my part time gigs is teaching at the local art museum and yesterday I did an event at the Montclair Public Library where we made a craft project on the plaza. My friend Bruce drove the MAM Art truck but it was only when we were leaving that it dawned on me that this was a converted ice cream truck!!!!!! We drove through the streets with that classic chiming music playing and I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Want a Fudgesicle© kiddo? Sorry, only art supplies! But we can help you create something cool! ;)

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Sorting through...

So much work goes into making a picture book! This is the first time I am illustrating someone's else's manuscript so I've really enjoyed immersing myself in the art. I've been trekking to the park each day to capture trees and plants for reference. (j'adore my iPhone!) I've also been doing lots of plain air watercolors at my favorite public gardens. All the little details to be planned out--sketches, watercolor bits, color tests, backgrounds, etc. I keep creating while I wait for my editor to review the last dummy. Wondering what will make the book...

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on process...

So much goes into the making of a picture book. As author and illustrator, I have experienced the editing on both sides, but this time around I am solely the illustrator. A lovely manuscript by Maryann Cocca Leffler was assigned to me and it has already been such a fun experience. I get to put all my energy into the look of the book. I've been experimenting with different style/mediums for months but for now it is all about the sketches!

The process of illustrating is a long one. You may think 32 pages isn't much-actually 40 in this case-but for each page you see, there were probably 4-5 sketches behind it during the dummy phase. In April I submitted my dummy to my editor and now it has come back with notes and revisions. An illustrator must be aware of continuity when drawing a character multiple times-as well as complex scenes that must make sense in the pages ahead. There are so many things to solve during the drawing phase-from style, setting, scale to all the minute details of season, time of day, expressions, body language, etc. The paper trail adds up quickly so I keep everything in a big bound sketch notebook where i use binder clips to keep all the loose papers/trial illustrations, notes, etc. Really helps to have things in one place.

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The dummy/sketching phase is vital to working out every detail before moving on to final art. It's a bit like an architect's blueprint. You wouldn't just start building a structure without a plan. A book is no different. Yesterday I made notes on the dummy revisions so that I could create the second one. There are some pages that can be salvaged, save for a scaling of spots here and there, but other pages which require a complete overhaul. 

Am I excited to start final art? Oh yea! :) But it is uber important to nail everything down now.

But in between revisions, I can't help but play with gouache and watercolor to determine the tone for the final art. I created a small mood board so I could determine the look for the fall scenes. Here I can see elements i may want to keep and those i may decide to toss. Again, it's a long process. This book has a more serious tone so I will probably go with a more subdued palette. I want the author to be happy with what I choose and the more I have thought about style, the more I think I will go with watercolor. More to come! Ok, that's all for now. :)

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