Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mimicking art

While teaching at the Inspire conference, I had some free time to take an illustration workshop with Jeannie St. John Taylor. Her road to publication and illustration is an interesting one and someday I hope to have her visit the blog. But what is always fun is to see how other artists work - their tips, their tricks, their methods and their madness.

Jeannie walked us through her "formula" for Eric, the star of several of her picture books ( like Am I Praying?) She uses a mix of mediums and methods but at the end of it all, we each had a version of Eric. It was fascinating to see how we all interpreted her instructions. Our Eric's were unique. Some comical, some delightful, some very close to her version, some a little ... challenged. It was a great exercise in learning how to structure a character and how to make an idea your own. She pointed out how she addresses some of the realities of illustrating picture books. And her formula definitely is something to keep in mind when developing a character of our own.

Here's my Eric. I didn't get to the final step which would have added some shading and contour but I know how she does it now. (It was also a lesson in color reproduction as he really isn't this yellow in real life.)
Is there an illustrator you'd like to learn from?

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