Friday, December 28, 2012

An Artist You Should Know About

I'm mixing it up a bit with some dead guys, now.

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) was an English oil painter. He was a part of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.  Which was basically a bunch of artists getting together and rejecting another artist so that they could have an excuse to make the kind of art they wanted and call it a movement.  Because that makes it legit.  But no matter how you look at it, Waterhouse is da'bomb.  Check out more of his work here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Artist You Should Know About

Edward Kinsella is a Missouri-based illustrator working in  . . . well, I think whatever the heck he wants to work in at the moment.  Check him out here at his website.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

A very merry Christmas and a warm holiday greeting to you and yours from the studio of Sara Silkwood. May your time this season be blessed and filled with hope.  

Here's the finished Christmas Spirit piece!

Monday, December 24, 2012

An Artist You Should Know About

So, this is Anne Yvonne Gilbert.  I just discovered her work myself via Tumblr.  There are days when Tumblr can be a gold mine.  And then there are days when it is definitely not a gold mine.  But that's neither here nor there.  

Gilbert is a British illustrator residing in Canada.  She  works mainly in colored pencil.  And she works with it really well - which is unusual.  A lot of colored pencilists are really bad.  I'd love to be able to see some of her works in person some day.  She works with publishers all over the world which I am very curious to know how she accomplished that, as well as how she managed the logistics.  

This is her home page, but you can also find her on Behance and here on the Good Illustration Agency page.   And here's an interview where she talks a little about her process as well as the publishing industry which I found interesting.  There are also a lot of little blurbs about her all over the internet: search for her on Google.  

Also, I have bought that version of Robin Hood up there (did you catch the homage in the second piece to N.C. Wyeth?  Though that painting was for The Black Arrow, if we're going to be accurate).  And The Wild Swans.  (The Wild Swans and East of the Sun, West of the Moon are my two favorite fairy tales.)  SO EXCITED.  But then I see that they're not getting here till January and I weep.  If I could find this version of Snow White I would be even more excited, but it was done for a Japanese publisher, I think.  If anyone finds it, please let me know!  

Actually, maybe you shouldn't.  I don't think I have any more room on my bookshelves . . . 

Merry Christmas, everyone!  God bless!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An Artist You Should Know About

Pascal Campion might be my favorite blogger - mostly because he is so very consistent.  Everyday he posts a new illustration on his blog.  They're wonderful snapshots of the important and wonderful little moments in life that make you smile.  As you can see, I couldn't choose the moment I liked the most!  He lives in San Fran.  Go check out his website here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thoughts and WIP

I've been struggling with this one - a lot more than I anticipated.  The whole piece feels like a representation of everything that is and is not going on in my life right now.  One of my problems with the piece is that I think it has potential, but I don't know how to go in, grab it, and drag it into the light.  Working smaller was supposed to make this easier and faster.

It's much easier to get strong darks with the watercolor on Strathmore 500 Illustration Board, but I cannot tell you how surprised I am that I am leaning more towards the Arches Coldpress Watercolor Paper.

Still attached to the watercolor/colored pencil thing.  It appeals to my inner OCD.  Which might be a bad thing.  I've been following a couple of people who are involved with the Moleskin Project #2 which is going on at the Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco.  I think I have a Moleskin lying around and I am playing with the idea of taking it on Family Vacation next week and doing a couple of little studies in watercolor and colored pencil as well as some graphite drawings over the course of the week.  If I have time.  I still need to work on my execution and endurance.

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Artist You Should Know About

I found Lisbeth Zwerger in college and fell in love with her work.  I'm more a fan of her earlier work than her more recent pieces, though.  That last example of her work, the Wizard of Oz piece there is kind of what I mean.  Her new stuff is very geometric, less realistic and less of the beautiful line-work.  I mean, look at that picture up there of Thumbelina waving her scarf - the whole thing is just . . . I mean look at her feet!  Those ankles and . . . the way the folds in her dress are described . . . I think I need to experiment with incorporating some of these aspects into an illustration.

Anyway, Zwerger's Austrian, and she's the recipient of almost every known international illustration award you can think of.  Not that that validates her work as an artist, but it's a cool fact.  As far as I know, she only illustrates books that are public domain - so older classic works of fiction.  I have never been able to find a website for her, but there's a collection you can look at here, her work is relatively easy to look up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shop is Open!

I am trying out a site called I'm selling two versions of the Steampunk Little Red Riding Hood.  Just click on the new page link up there, "Shop" and you'll be able to see and order whichever print you'll want.

Now I also have an Etsy shop (there's nothing there right now), but I found out about Shoplocket and it was just so . . . simple.  I thought I'd give it a try.  Let me know what you think.

Keep checking the store; I'm hoping to be able to add some more prints before the end of the year!

The Hobbit

I'm not going to see it.

For those of you who know me, please don't start calling me to ask if I have a brain tumor or something.  I don't, first of all.  Maybe I'll see it someday.  But I have things to do first.  And one of them is getting all my ideas down before they're altered or influenced.

And second, I'm just not interested in TV all that much anymore.  I'm going to finish watching Alias, I think, and then I'm gonna stop.  It's just not worth it anymore.  I get all judgmental about portrayal and characterization and story.  I get so worried about all of it, and I'm tired.  Life should have more to look forward to than television.  I think it's become a spotlight in my life rather than a garnish and I'm really disenchanted with the whole industry right now.

And you know, after not watching the Lord of the Rings movies for a couple of years and going back and rereading the books a couple of times - it just means more to me.  All the elements and nuances, I really love the books.  And all my old vision of them is coming back, I think.  And I'm interested to see what my own personal artistic vision is capable of.  So.

Am I going to miss not having seen them on "the big screen"?  Maybe.  But there's one thing I've learned over the years is that it all comes back.  At the very least it'll be showing somewhere in theaters again before the 3rd movie comes out.  Maybe then I'll be able to just make a day of it.

Also, as a side note, I haven't seen the trailers.  I haven't read the articles.  I am trying to be very all encompassing about not knowing anything about it.  So if you know me (like in real life), don't come telling me about it after you've seen it (and I know all of you are going at midnight, together).  Don't be jerks.  I will also be avoiding Tumblr for several WEEKS after the debut, because, really, it's like SPOILER ALERT out the wazoo.  I know when a new trailer's come out because my feed is absolutely FLOODED with gifs and screen shots and you just have to wonder what it is that these people DO all day.  I mean, really?  HOLY CROWS, guys, do you know how many times I've nearly killed myself trying to shut down a page with my eyes closed?  It's gotten to the point that I just see a HINT of beard and . . . it can get scary.  I know all the cues for the trailer's on TV, too.  I have run into many walls trying to leave the room with eyes closed and hands over my ears.

I am listening to the music, however.  I have pre-ordered the album.  Because I'm pretty sure Howard Shore eats lunch with angels or something.  At the very least he has some part of Tolkien's brain in a jar somewhere, because in all seriousness - an echo of that music is what I heard when my dad read it to me as a kid.  No joke.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Art of My Youth

I am going to share a piece of my childhood with you.  I'll put together some lists of different things I remember influencing me growing up.  I figure I'll do a kind of series - mostly for myself; I think it's always a good idea to know and understand where you come from.  Not that any real understanding can come from this other than that I'm OCD.

Evaline Ness

Sam, Bangs and Moonshine was the first children's book that I fell in love with as a child.  I couldn't tell you what it was that captured my imagination so completely, but I have vivid memories of this book, of pouring over it for hours.  I know that at least half of it was the story itself, but the pictures . . . It was in the bag that I packed and left just under the foot of my bed in case there was a fire.  All of my favorite things in the world were in that bag.  If there was a fire in the night, all I had to do was grab that bag and everything would be alright.

She's the reason I picked up Llyod Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain - her covers are what drew me to the books (I wasn't smart enough to realize that it was from the same artist).

I still have a copy of this on my bookshelf and I still take it down periodically to read it and look over the illustrations.

Wesley Dennis

I have a confession to make.  I was one of those girls growing up; one of those girls absolutely in love with horses.  And that phase lasted a lot longer for me than for others (to be really honest, it still pops up every now and again . . . or maybe more than that).  And Wesley Dennis fed that obsession.  A lot.

To be fair Marguerite Henry has to take her fair share of the blame.  I think King of the Wind was my favorite book for a couple of years - until my dad started reading the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia to us.  But I think Wesley Dennis was the only illustrator that they used for her books, so.

He and Holland C. Holland are mainly responsible for my love affair with pencil and charcoal.  I allowed other artists to lead me away from my love of the drawing once I was in college, but I think it's making a resurgence.

Holling C. Holling

I was never impressed with his watercolors, but oh, I was having conniptions over his drawings when I was in middle-school.  And the adventures that happened in his books - oh my gosh!

Darrel K. Sweet

I'm gonna be honest, my dad and I enjoy making fun of this guy.  I know he's dead.  I know it's not very nice, but really his draughtsmanship . . .

I want you to understand - this is a post about art that influenced me growing up, not about my favorite artists, even though some of them have made it in here.  I do not like Sweet's paintings.  I'm not sorry about that - even though the guy's a beast with his paints.

But, I remember my dad reading the Wheel of Time series as I was growing up and I remember this cover.  Dad would leave his books around the house as he was reading them and this illustration was captivating; I would stare at it for the longest time.  This cover is what made me want to read the book.  I couldn't wait until my dad told me I was old enough to read the series - because of this cover.

Chris Van Alsburg

It wasn't until college that I figured out that the covers of my favorite edition of The Chronicles of Narnia and the illustrator of Mark Helprin's trilogy retelling of Swan Lake were one and the same.

Mark Helprin I discovered in a bookshop in College Station, I think.  I picked up the second two books - not realizing that there was a prequel - I finally tracked it down in college, much to my satisfaction.  Sometimes a series just . . . moves me . . . in a way I don't understand.  Diana Wynne Jones and Madeline l'Engle (to some extent: for me she bridges the gap between these two artists and Lewis and Tolkien ) are other authors that do that for me.  They're different from Lewis and Tolkien - their work is . . . I don't know.  I don't want to sound corny but it speaks to the deepest parts of me.  Jones and Helprin . . . reading their work makes me think of what it must feel like to sit and listen to an oracle.  I can't explain it better.  Their books are otherworldly to me.  Anyway, this series was one of those.  And when it was combined with Chris' illustrations - oh, my gosh!

Those covers for Narnia where nothing short of magical.  He is the main reason that I have such a hard time thinking of illustrating these books myself, because they are just so perfect.  And then there's Pauline Banes . . . yeah, I just give up.

Trina Schart Hyman

This was another book I picked up as a kid on the force of the cover alone.  I thought the story was good, but man, I carried this book around for weeks and just stared at the cover in my free time.  I loved her hair, I loved her hands . . . My mom, who was always a big proponent of learning through reading, got Hyman's illustrated version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  I forget what we were studying - medieval literature? But I remember reading every story (they're abridged, edited by Barbara Cohen, so it was much easier for a middle-schooler to read, and less my mom had to worry about me reading something not age appropriate, which was always a concern because I was (am) a rather avaricious reader.  After the first few times I came to my mom with questions about things no 8 year-old should know about she made that rule I mentioned above about asking permission before reading a book) and just staring at the pictures.  My favorite was the Franklin's Tale, maybe partially because it had my favorite painting.  But only partially.

Anyway, I think that's enough for now.  This doesn't cover the multitude of other books I read growing up.  I had a ton of animal information books and books without pictures - I got into those at a very young age and always mourned their lack of illustrations - books about pioneers, castles, period cooking, Native Americans, dogs, horses, China, etc.  My mom keeps trying to get rid of some portion of the books we read  - trying to clean house, I guess. But every time I sit down to fill a box for her I'm always coming across an old friend . . . And what kind of person would I be if I just got rid of it like that?