Cape Cod Digital Painting

Truro Painting

Here’s my view of Truro, Massachusetts, where we visited old friends. I used the ArtRage app with my Sensu Brush on my iPad. I seem to “paint” mostly when I’m on vacation. Love Cape Cod!

More digital artwork to come. For some of my previous iPad paintings, click here and here.

Painting by App, Part 1

Ever since seeing David Hockney’s iPad art at the Louisiana Museum outside Copenhagen, I’d been wanting to try it myself.

Now that I have an iPad, I read this article about painting/ drawing apps and jumped right in. The good thing is many of the apps are free or have a free trial version, so it’s a low-risk leap.

Here’s my first stab at it:

Brushes app image

Yes, my feet are gorgeous! I know, I know. You don’t have to tell me. I drew this with my fingers using Brushes (the same app David Hockney uses). Brushes is wonderfully simple and great for quick impressions.The picture is nothing special, but on the iPad itself, my kids love being able to watch the video of how it came together. I couldn’t get that feature to transfer here, but if you know how to do it, give me a shout.

Here’s a funny article about trying to become David Hockney via Brushes. You can guess how that turned out.

Below are a couple of sketches made using the free trial version of Sketchbook Pro. These are also done with my fingers, both in Florida where the hubs and I had a nice relaxing week to ourselves in early December.

Cloud Painting

Florida Canal Painting

Sketchbook Pro lets you to easily change brush size and tool choice (i.e. brush, airbrush, pencil). And with both programs, it’s easy to get just the color you want with the stroke of a finger. Sketchbook Pro lets you make colors more or less transparent, which makes for some cool effects. It takes a bit of getting used to, though, that the paint is so consistent. In other words, your “paint” doesn’t really blend with other colors, and it never runs out.

The “paint” is most like watercolor, though unlike watercolor, you can undo your strokes as often as you like. You could easily get carried away with self-correction. I tried not to but used “undo” as an excuse to take risks I wouldn’t have taken with real watercolors. I think that’s one of the greatest strengths of all of the art apps I’ve tried—the ability to try new things with no risk, and to make a picture quickly without getting out and putting away all of your materials.

Using your finger to draw is a little clunky. These three were all done before I got my Sensu Brush/ Stylus, and now that I have it, I’ll probably skip finger drawing.

I enjoyed both of these apps, but I found myself wanting more features and more detail. I decided it was time to try the apps with pricetags. More about app art to come.

If you make art on your mobile device, what do you do with the images? David Hockney prefers to let his iPad work live only in the digital world, but I think it could be reproduced a number of ways. What do you think? Have you tried producing a “real” version of your digital images? I’d love to hear how it’s gone.

Bologna Book Fair: Illustration Roundup

Want to see what children’s book illustrators are doing around the world?

As I mentioned in my last post, illustration is the main course of the Bologna fair’s visual feast. Here’s where you see, more than ever, that a great cover is a book’s best friend. The photo above is from the posting wall at the Fair, where illustrators are invited to leave their cards in the hopes that they’ll be noticed.

Here is one of my favorites, from illustrator Daisy Hirst:

I love the fun, playful quality of her work.

In addition to the posting wall and the many booths of books, there’s a yearly exhibition of top talent and a spotlight on a “guest of honor” country—this year, Portugal. I was so inspired by the showcase winners and by so many other illustrators whose work was on display. Check out the exhibition artists here.

Some links to blogs by/ articles about my favorites from the exhibition:

Alejandra Barba of Mexico

Jo Suna of Korea

Fereshteh Najafe of Iran

Anja Reiger of Germany (Berlin)

Katrin Stangl of Germany

Gerry Turley of England

Just as when I went to the Frankfurt Book Fair, I was struck by how many different styles of artwork there are across world markets. There’s so much exciting stuff going on in Spain, Korea, Holland, Iran, you name it.

I’d love to see some American publishers translate some of these books and/ or work with some of these illustrators. Most foreign book rights sales go the other way (English into other languages) but we’re really missing out on some fabulous stuff.

American publisher Front Street, back in the day, brought Dutch and French titles to the US market (A Day, A Dog, The Yellow Balloon, Little Bird’s ABC —all of which I love). But since Front Street’s passing, somebody needs to take up the torch. Is there a publisher out there doing this that I just don’t know about?

It was also interesting to talk to some European illustrators about where their work fits in best. One I spoke to had been told her work would sell best in Eastern Europe. Another had been told his would do better in Latin America or Asia. I’d love to see a map of what kind of illustration fits where.

Would you like to see more international books brought to the US market? There’s some dispute that Americans just don’t buy these books, but can our taste really be that monolithic? What do you think?

Max and Moritz: Great Uncles of the Comic Strip

File:Max und Moritz.JPG

You know the Brothers Grimm, but maybe you haven’t heard of some other famous German brothers: Max and Moritz. They’re some of the most beloved characters in all of German literature.

Published in 1865, Max and Moritz is the story of two naughty brothers whose adventures range from mischievous to vicious. Their darkly comical story is told in a series of seven pranks, and in the end….well, let’s just say they don’t get away with their crimes. It’s not exactly a Disney fairy tale.

The subversive  humor of the book and the boys’ flippancy toward adults represented a departure in the children’s literature of the time, which was strictly moralistic.

The book’s action-filled sequential line drawings are paired with relatively little text. It’s widely believed that Max and Moritz was the direct inspiration for the Katzenjammer Kids, the “oldest American comic strip still in syndication and the longest-running ever.” (from Wikipedia)

The other day I made a date with myself to go to the Wilhelm Busch Museum here in Hannover. The creator of Max and Moritz, illustrator and poet Wilhelm Busch, lived in and around Hannover for several years of his life. The museum is located on the edge of the royal Herrenhauser Gartens. It’s my favorite kind of museum: small, intimate, a beautiful space with really strong exhibits. It houses some of the original Max and Moritz sketches—I love seeing the rough beginnings of things.

Here’s the museum below:

The museum also hosts temporary exhibits of illustration and caricature, and I was lucky enough to catch the show of Lisbeth Zwerger, famed Austrian illustrator. I’ve been a fan of her whimsical fairy tale illustrations for a long time, so it was really interesting to see them in person. Along with German and English editions of Max and Moritz, I couldn’t resist getting Zwerger’s Noah’s Ark, also in the original German—I guess it’ll be good for my language skills.

Also on display, and equally interesting, was a large retrospective show of  influential British carticature artist Ronald Searle. I snapped a quick pic of this machine in the corner of the gallery:

What do you think it is? I’m guessing it’s a hygrometer to make sure the air doesn’t get too damp and damage the artwork, but I don’t know.

I can’t wait to get back to the museum for the next exhibits.

The Max and Moritz image above, which is in the public domain, was found at wikipedia. Information in this post comes from the English and German wikipedia entries for Wilhelm Busch.

Several Moves Ago

Emily Smith Pearce Copyright 2000

Emily Smith Pearce Copyright 2000

Moves feel like such milestones, and I tend to segment my memories by them, maybe because I’ve moved a lot in my adult life. 

I found these old paintings in my attic, and they took me back, way back. I painted them when I was living in what I fondly call my “bachelorette apartment” in Boston, MA. The place had its issues, to put it mildly, but it was a good time in my life. I did a series of paintings of nearly every room in the apartment. Most of the crazy furniture we got off the street. 

Sadly, I didn’t have enough foresight to spend more on my materials. These two were painted on discarded foam core. Note to self: even when low on funds, use quality materials. My current home is now almost completely empty and echo-y.  I kind of like it this way except for the fact that I can’t find anything.

 

Slowpoke Has a Cover!

Now that it’s official, I can finally share with you the cover of my upcoming easy reader. That’s Fiona there in the middle, taking time to smell the roses. Slowpoke is the story of a slow-moving girl and her impatient family.

I still don’t have a pub date on it, but it looks like it’ll probably be Fall 2010. My daughter is just now learning to read, so it’s exciting to think that she may be able to read it herself by the time it comes out. I’ll keep you posted.