Monday, November 30, 2009

Karen's Hot List

18th Annual Children's Book Illustrators

Show & Signing


Saturday, December 5th 1-5pm

At last, I have the opportunity to add my 2 cents about our illustrators and our upcoming fabulous book signing / illustration art show. Each year we say, “how can we possibly have as good illustrators as last year” but each year we have another stellar group. Which illustrations are my faves? you ask… Well, I’ll be so happy to share with you!

From "Brewster the Rooster" - Lee White

Let’s start with Lee White simply because his name occurs last in the alphabet. Lee’s sense of humor just makes me smile! So, I have chosen this view of Doc Sawyer checking Brewster with a stethoscope while the family crowds around offering their professional diagnoses. Don’t you just love that eye hanging out in the smack-dab-middle of the illustration!? Lee’s faces in Brewster the Rooster are so expressive, I know exactly what each character is thinking.

I love the textural quality of Lee’s mixed media illustrations. His use of bold bright colors really pulls me into to the whimsy of his illustrations that coordinate seamlessly with the text of the book.

Don’t think Lee’s a one trick pony. His editorial and personal work is quite serious and intriguing. We hope to have this work on a regular basis throughout the year.

From "Always With You" - Ronald Himler

Contrasting Lee’s whimsy with Ron Himler’s handling of topics often not discussed with children or discussed on a superficial basis is where I would like to go next. This illustration from Always With You of a young orphaned Vietnamese girl, Kim, who is rescued by American soldiers is so moving and powerful. Ron’s use of grays with only spot color highlights the feeling of despair this young girl must feel. The fact that only Kim is in color not only serves to show that she is the central figure, it also shows the good she senses from the soldiers.

Every time I see this piece, my heart skips a beat. And, the way we framed it – whoa - only adds to the entire feeling of this picture. I guess you’ll just have to come to the gallery to see it for yourself. No sneak preview here!

From "Fiona's Luck" - Kelly Murphy

My favorite illustration of Kelly Murphy’s comes from an out of print book we don’t even have. But, I do have to tell you, I saw Fiona’s Luck years ago and it is the reason I contacted Kelly to participate in our show. The muted colors Kelly used in this illustration give the feeling of days gone by and the cold dank Ireland environs. Yet, there is something warm and inviting about this illustration…Fiona’s kind face & the rounded figures Kelly uses to illustrate her characters.

Kelly’s technique is quite unique when you examine the illustration closely. She has created impressions in the paper by outlining from tracing paper. Then she deftly paints the illustration, skillfully layering colors to create her beautiful look.

From "Scholastic News" - Kristina Swarner

Kristina Swarner’s work is enchanting and mostly very small in size, but definitely not content or technique. Even so, I cannot resist her monumental illustration that was done for Scholastic News. Kristina sent us a picture of the illustration asking if we might like to have it for the show. My answer was an affirmative… that would be YES! Then seeing it in person, OMG. The sense of wonder created by this illustration makes my imagination soar.

It appears that Kristina has used a variety of techniques that we will all have to grill her on when we meet her on December 5th. What I can tell you is that there is every color in the rainbow masterfully placed to enhance every color in the scene. I would love to stroll through this flowered forest. And, look at the face on the charming child. You’ve got to love it!

From "Our California" - Rafael Lopez

After previewing the books and then seeing the art in person, the one illustration that gives such a different impression in the real form is this Yosemite scene from Rafael Lopez’s book Our California. I’ve never been to Yosemite and I’m not a camper (unless it’s at the Ritz Carlton), but this illustration is simply wonderful.

The vertical format is unusual but accentuates what I imagine to be the grandeur and majesty that is Yosemite. The colors, in the real life illustraion, almost glow and jump off the contrast of the night sky.

The illustration is acrylic painted on thin plywood. You can see the grain of the plywood through the paint along with textures worked in that remind me of American woodblock tradition. Besides, I just want to squeeze the squirrel’s cheek!

Plan to meet the artists, view over 200 original illustrations, select from over 40 book titles. You can click on the names of the illustrators above to see their work if you can't wait until Saturday. But, of course, they really come to life in person! See you Saturday, December 5th 1-5pm! Enjoy the illustrator lectures/demonstrations from 2-4pm to learn more about their work.

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