I have illustrated three books: A Paper Hug, Operation: Celebration and The Celiac Kid.
We talked about each of the books in turn and when we got to The Celiac Kid we spent awhile discussing Celiac Disease and how people live with it everyday. The kids had questions about what foods had gluten in them and whether it’s “catching.” Most of the classes wanted me to read all of the books, but since we only had 20-30 minutes it just wasn’t possible.
I also showed some of my current projects and other random sketches that I had in my note and sketch books.
Then I opened it up for questions, although, they were asking questions all the way through. Some of my favorite questions:
All in all, it was a really fun and positive experience! It helped me see all that is involved in illustrating a book. It is a great career with lots of work but very rewarding!
If you’d like to see some of my other art projects, visit my website!
I got my first illustrating project in 2006 – A Paper Hug. I sketched out most of the illustrations in my large sketch book. I didn’t realize at the time how difficult it would be to scan those extra large images into my computer. Needless to say, on the next two books I used a smaller sketch book.
Once the pictures were scanned into the computer I used Photoshop to clean up and add color to the illustrations. This was probably harder than coming up with the drawings to begin with.
I showed the kids a bunch of my original sketches and talked about how I came up with the ideas and what happened when reviewers didn’t like the illustrations I came up with. We discussed why some images made it into the books and why others didn’t. The kids were really interested in that part of the process.
I also showed them the different story boards I had for the books. A story board can be a large poster board, chalk or white board or a simple piece of paper. The book is laid out page by page with simple sketches for each page. Then I think about it for a day or two (if I have that kind of time).
This is a good time to collaborate with the author. Some authors have a lot of input into the illustrations and others allow the artist total liberty in creating the artwork. Thankfully, I work with an author who allows me complete liberty. However, it is interesting how sometimes as I read the text, I picture a boy as the main character while the author had a girl in mind. At that point we talk and come to an agreement.
To be continued . . .
Thirty sixth graders walked into the library for their designated time – some eager, some ready for trouble and some just following the crowd. “Does an illustrator always know what to draw?” After some discussion, the answer is, “No.”
I told the students that during high school my elective classes were music oriented. However, I just happened to take an Autocad class and stared to learn how to draw on the computer. I started dabbling in sketching and when my English teacher assigned us to write a children’s book, I totally over-achieved the assignment. Not only did I write the story, but I illustrated, laminated and spiral bound the book.
So on to college I earned a degree in design and continued to learn more about computer graphics and managed to throw in a few art classes. My sketch pad was almost another appendage. The students were enthralled at the sketches. Their two favorites were “The Chick” and “The Skull and Flames.”
Because these two sketches are very different from each other, I was able to tell the kids that you need to try different ideas and not get caught up in one subject or style. Experimenting with new ideas, styles, etc. expand your abilities and opportunities.
To be continued . . .
Recently, I was asked by an elementary librarian to talk to a few classes about illustrating a book. Authors usually receive top honors, so this was a pleasant change. At first I wasn’t too excited about it but as I began to prepare, I became more and more enthused about my work. I dug through boxes and files and old sketch pads. It was fun to see my talent develop through the years. I was amazed at how much sketching I had done and saved.
I took two large sketch pads, a smaller sketch pad (all were mostly, if not totally full of sketches), copies of A Paper Hug, Operation: Celebration, and The Celiac Kid, as well as some of my first attempts at illustrating and then some bookmarks to giveaway. I needed two large bags to tote it all. I just hoped that the kids would be as excited for the experience as I was.
To be continued . . .
More often than not the author of a book is asked to speak at an event. It is rare to hear from an illustrator. I used to think that because illustrator/artists worked with paint, pencil, clay, etc., they didn’t have much use for words. I couldn’t have been more wrong. On the other hand, just because an author works with words, that doesn’t necessarily make him or her a great speaker. Having said that, the illustrator of A Paper Hug, Operation: Celebration and The Celiac Kid, and “doodler extraordinaire,” shared her portfolio and just how someone goes about illustrating a book. Anneliese kept Kindergarten through sixth grade children enthralled as she shared her expertise.