Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Art for a Cause - By Deborah Cuneo

You know how when you go to a gathering at someone's home, and there's that person sitting on the floor in the corner, playing with the dog? ...That would be me!  I've always  loved dogs, actually all kinds of animals and despite my parents protests, I've been rescuing all sorts of animals, bugs, fish, amphibians, reptiles and rodents, since I was a little kid.
Take Me Home - Pencil sketch

Fast forward a few years... Aside from being adopted by multiple rescue dogs and cats over the years, I have always collected for and donated to our local shelters . "Admission" to any of my home parties, is usually spare cans or bags of food for the shelters.  There are still so many animals that were either surrendered because the owners were too sick or too old to continue their care, or were rescued from horrible neglect and abuse, then put into shelters.  Some are lucky to get adopted right away, but some are there much longer and not all shelters have the funding to care for and rehabilitate them for any length of time...and, know how that ends.  I wanted to do more.
Dog Sketches - Pencil and Liquid Pencil

So...While organizing all my artwork in my flat files, I discovered that I had a lot of dog illustrations and sketches that I've done over the years, either  as samples for submissions or for different SCBWI events. Looking at that pile of orphaned illustrations, I immediately came up with a plan! A couple of the more involved ideas are already in the works and I will be able to share them with you on my personal blog at a later date, but because I'm in the throes of finishing my book, it's hard for me to do everything right now, so I decided to start small, until the book job is done. 
More Dog Art - acrylic/colored pencil/ digital

Character Study - pencil sketch

A couple of months ago, I started  posting one piece of dog art from that pile of illustrations and sketches, on Instagram every Friday.  Once my book is done, I will begin sharing a newly created piece of dog art, hopefully each week. While I work on my drawing skills,  I am also hoping to encourage  people, through my art, to consider the shelters and rescue organizations  when looking for a pet. 
Mini Sketch Series - Pencil

 Some of the art is kidlit, some of the posts are more fine arts pet portraits, but all are posted with the same hopefully lead to placing as many shelter animals as possible,  in a loving,  "fur-ever" home. 
Dog Character - Pencil sketch

More to come, so feel free to follow along at:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Inktober to me, by Mike Ciccotello

What's Inktober? (from Jake Parker's site)
Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. I created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits.
–Jake Parker
This year, at the end of September, I posted on my Facebook and Instagram account about the tools I’d be using for Inktober, 2016. I wanted to show you a little more about my process and what Inktober is to me. 

Last year, I invested a lot of time each day, coming up with an idea, sketching said idea, and finally, completing an inked illustration. I like to be efficient with my available time. We all have busy schedules, family obligations, child care, a full-time job, or even looming deadlines. Everyone's schedule is different, but what time do these busy schedules leave for an art challenge like Inktober?
Here's one way to go about it, and it very well may give you some good ideas for other projects.
I decided to spread out the work. One night in early September, I took 31 sheets of Strathmore Mixed Media 400 series 14x11” paper and drew an 8x10” outline centered on every sheet. This would be the paper for the final inked illustration.
8x10" pencil outline on 14x11" Strathmore 400 series Mixed Media Paper


Another night that week, I paged through 642 things to Draw (Chronicle) and picked from their prompts. I wound up swapping out a few to form my final list.
Next, I started creating rough digital illustrations on my iPad Pro of each prompt. This took some time, but I broke it up over a few weeks, leading up to October. There is nothing wrong with being prepared.
Catalogue of digital illustrations to be used for Inktober
Catalogue of digital illustrations created on the iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil in Procreate

Finally, I printed out all of my illustrations and I was ready to begin. I have a slim LED light board that I use to ink on. I tape the digital illustration on the light board with the 14x11” paper on top, and then start inking. I usually ink at night during the week and whenever I have chunks of time on the weekend. 
Printouts of digital illustrations
Printouts of digital illustrations

Overall, I don’t look at this challenge as creating an ink drawing every night as stated by Jake Parker. As I said before, I need to be efficient. I am about a week ahead of schedule. In order for me to succeed, I need to utilize whatever time I have and keep working. By working that far ahead, I can prep for other things I have going on, RUCCL (RUTGERS UNIVERSITY COUNCIL ON CHILDREN'S LITERATURE) on October 15th, and I can finish up two picture book dummies for agency submission shortly after the Rutgers conference. 
Illustrations for Inktober by Mike Ciccotello
Final inked illustrations
Like last year, I will pull from these Inktober illustrations to create new portfolio work. I'm planning a solo exhibit with my best work from Inktober 2015 and 2016. And best of all, I'll be using the 2016 Inktober illustrations as story prompts for creating new picture book ideas.
To me, it’s not just about keeping up with a 31day challenge, it’s about nurturing those ideas into something bigger and making the most out of the body of work. If you ever thought about participating in Inktober, I highly recommend it. It's worth the effort. If you want to follow along with my progress find me on Facebook and Instagram. Check out my tool list below.
Tools for Inktober
Some of the tools I use to ink

Here are a list of tools I've be playing around with this year. These aren't absolutes when you pick tools, just items that I like using. Every artist has their preference. This might provide some guidance, if you want to try some pens out, but don't know where to begin. By using different tools multiple times, you learn what is comfortable, what needs work, and what you absolutely despise. 

Twitter: @ciccotello 
Instagram: @ciccotello 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Halloween Haunting by Patricia Keeler

I'm not haunted by ghosts, or scared of spiders or the dark. 
But one thing keeps me up at night in fear . . .
                                                                                                                                            © Patricia Keeler
 no, not rabbits!  it's beginning the illustrations for a new picture book. 
All that white. 
All those empty pages. 
All the UNdrawn.

© J Byron Schachner

At Eastern PA SCBWI, I heard a great presentation by J Byron Schachner—Judy to her friends. (She's one of those people who is so friendly that you think you are 'instantly' her friend.) So going on that assumption, Judy has a method for climbing into those scary white pages. It's a Character Bible.

In one of Judy's Character Bibles the pants came first. Judy found a picture of pants drying on a clothes line. She thought it was a great shot of pants. Maybe put a raccoon in them? Hello, Dewey Bob! Later, she found a photograph of a raccoon in a pair of pants.

Permission given by J Byron Schachner to publish images from her Character Bible on Drawn To Picture Books.
© J Byron Schachner
 Judy can spend a year or more creating a Character Bible before beginning to write and illustrate.  

I'm developing a story about a Halloween witch, and am creating my own Halloween Character Bible. I'm learning;

1. By collecting images of witches and cats, I'm finding what feet, noses, hats, etc., I like, and those that don't work for me.

2. I can sketch my characters in various guises, not worrying about the final look of the characters yet. Here they can grow and develop.

Building my Halloween Witch Character Bible         © Patricia Keeler
3. There are the common Halloween images like bats and spiders, but I'm finding pictures of objects I hadn't thought of, like brown moths and pumpkins wrapped in black lace.

4. While looking for witches and cats in shops, magazines, and online, I'm discovering new Halloween fonts and graphics.

5. I'm discovering new Halloween colors. Who knew pea green would be a scary color?

6. And surprising locations. The circus definitely works for Halloween images! Eeek!

© Patricia Keeler
Making a Halloween Character Bible feels like preparing the earth for planting. No wonder it is so hard for me to get anything growing. I've had little to grow new images from.

Here's my first sketch of a Halloween witch
 and I don't even have a headache!

Thank-you Judy for your enchanting stories, shiny characters, and kaleidoscopic art.
And for showing me a way in!

Judy Schacher signing DEWEY BOB, Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015
Facebook:  PatriciaKeelerBooks
Twitter: @patriciakeeler
Instagram: @patriciakeeler

represented by Liza Royce Agency