Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter Days

6 more weeks of winter?  Not likely here in San Antonio.  But I always enjoy reliving my childhood memories of Michigan winters in my art work.   Snow crunching beneath heavy boots.  Scarves and mittens hanging to dry once we were warm inside.  And my favorite winter day activity - sitting on top of the register with a blanket trapping in all the heat.  That one drove my mother crazy!  But it was so cozy warm.  Maybe I was just a weird kid. 

Favorite ways to stay warm:
Cuddle under blankets watching movies
A big mug of hot chocolate
Extra fluffy socks (I spend most of my days barefoot)
Dreaming of planting a garden (never happens)
Make a pot of veggie chili to share with friends
Bake Valentine sugar cookies
Read in bed

Monday, February 1, 2010

Back to Basics

Or maybe the title of this post should be, "Mind your basic design principles, young padawan." Okay, that's probably something a Jedi Knight wouldn't utter, but it is something that should be on your mind if you want to pull viewers into your work on a all sorts of levels like visually, emotionally as well as through the narrative.

I had the privilege of sitting in on a talk by two-time Caldecott Honor winner Marla Frazee at the Austin SCBWI conference this weekend. She showed us examples of using those design elements to portray emotions in your illustrations. She is brilliant and this gentle reminder of getting back to the basics to tell the story visually was inspiring.

Her talk was on Storytelling Tools and Techniques. She reviewed:

Artist's Voice/Style
Interpretation of Text
Sequential Action
The Page Turn
Format - Size and Layout Options

She encouraged us to be aware of each choice we make in an illustration and how that can impact telling the story. She tries to get at the heart of the text to find what emotions need to be portrayed in each scene.

Want a refresher on those basic design principles? Here is a good link with all sorts of resources.