A couple of weeks ago, I attended San Diego SCBWI’s MayFest virtual conference. Brian LaRossa, Art Director at Scholastic gave a fascinating and engaging talk on the “dos and don’ts” of an illustration portfolio. I’m a huge sucker for talks that have numbered points because those are often laid out in a clear, logical way that I can wrap my brain around.
One of the things he urges you not to do is to hide hands. A good illustrator needs to be able to draw hands. That was good news for me because I love drawing hands! I don’t do it often enough and I’m probably rusty at it, but I do enjoy it.
Here are some hands I did quick sketches of a number of years back…
You may have noticed that most of the drawings are of the left hand. That’s because I’m right-handed and my left hand serves as the model. That happens a lot, apparently. The one drawing of the right hand is of Kid1’s hand as they ate a noodle dish in Xi’an when we were there in 2013.
Have you ever tried to draw hands? What about feet? Now, THOSE I don’t like to draw. As I said to a friend, feet are like the ugly, malformed cousins of hands. Heh.
As I mentioned previously, I fell in love with Mr. White’s art when we were at the MoMA. But as you can see from a drawing I did in 1994 (left), I have a ways to go before getting to his level (right). Granted, mine was just a rough sketch and his was done at the height of his career, so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. It gives me something to strive for!
The thing with painting in Sumi ink on rice paper (or Chinese painting) is that there is no preliminary drawing and what you lay down is what you get. There is no correcting of anything. If you don’t plan well beforehand, your composition will be not be great. I need to plan better. It also means you have to understand precisely how to handle your brushes, the water, and the ink, and this knowledge, like with other media, comes only with lots of practice.
The prompts today are acorn (Doodle Day) and noisy (Inktober). What could be more perfect than squirrels for that? Besides, some of you always expect squirrels from me. 😉 You can see water haloes since I’d just finished and it was still wet when I took the picture:
For today, I’m getting a feel for the Chinese paint brushes again. I’ve not done this in even longer than watercolor landscapes. I was a teen when Dad taught me how to do Chinese painting, so it’s been almost 40 years.
I still remember how to pick up ink so that the bamboo segments have a gradation, giving them a more 3D look but I’m seriously rusty.
The Doodle Day prompt is fall and the Inktober prompt is fast, so I tried to paint a mouse with falling leaves.
In the past several days we had trespassers we had to call the county sheriff for, I had a couple of agent rejections, my dad has had recurring dizzy spells (he’ll be 80 next year), and a dear family friend (our age) died of cancer.
This old sketch (5 minute Inktober drawing) kind of captures how I feel right now.
I’ve not painted a landscape in over 2 decades but decided to give it a try when my friend Robin and I got together to play with watercolors (which I also hadn’t really worked with in a couple of decades…not as fine art anyway). It was a fun way to break in the Arches watercolors pad my sister gave me.