Saturday, December 31, 2011

the good stuff from 2011

With all of the travel and adventure that I experienced in 2010, it was one of the best years of my life and will be pretty much impossible to top.  Despite a severe lack of travel, 2011 has been really good in a different way.  The stability of staying in one place has made it possible to have a proper studio again, with access to my art supplies and papers, computer, printer, scanner, drawing table, good lighting... all things I went without while we were traveling.  I found ways to get around needing those things, but it's been nice to have everything at my fingertips again.

The beginning of 2011 saw us move to the city of Calgary, Alberta, into a fun, trendy, and central neighborhood.  We settled into an apartment with a studio space and enjoyed staying in one place for a while.  It was nice to reconnect with family and old friends.  But we also made many new friends this year.

I did illustration work for a bunch of new clients.  I got a part time job to get me out of the studio and to take some of the pressure off of illustrating.  And I learned a ton about spices thanks to The Silk Road Spice Merchant.  My favorite dish that I learned to make this year was Louisiana Shrimp Gumbo. Yum.

The biggest joy 2011 brought was definitely being commissioned by Fitzhenry & Whiteside to illustrate the picture book Bye, Bye, Butterflies.  It's been a goal of mine to do that since I graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2002.  It took 9 years, but I did it!

Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the 'caterpillar' spread

Things have been a little quiet on the blog as of late, but believe me when I say they've been quite busy in the studio.  The picture book that I'm illustrating, Bye, Bye, Butterflies, is coming along nicely.  I'm currently painting spreads and I look forward to sharing some of the finished, full color images down the road.

For now, I'm going to share another sketch. 

I really struggled to find a solution for this particular spread.  I didn't want to be literal and draw exactly what the text said so it was quite a challenge to come up with something that was a bit abstract but still appropriate.  Probably because it was such a struggle, when I finally came up with my solution I was especially happy with the image.

Here it is:

It might not look like much here, but try to imagine a bunch of colorful and interesting caterpillars marching across the page in this lovely shape. 

Unfortunately, this is the only place where it will see the light of day.  Once I submitted my sketches to my editor, we realized that we needed to shuffle some things around and the only way to make it work was to combine this spread with another one.  It broke my heart to have to change it as I really enjoyed the graphic shape moving across the page, but it was all for the greater good.  The spread at the climax of the story now works much better because of this change. 

This is what the new spread will look like: