I don’t know if I still have followers on this site to be honest! But if you are there, welcome. I am mostly retired now from the CAT Agency, which I explained previously. I don’t think you can access this blog from the agency website anymore, but I can still write occasionally here I guess. So….for those of you there….
It occurred to me again in this challenging time, that the more things change, the more they essentially stay the same. A reminder of that isn’t all bad! Ultimately, we have only ourselves, and what is rolling around in our heads and hearts…and a few close family and friends if we’re lucky. The more simple things get the more we can see the patterns and subtle complexities.
The same is true of ART….of all sorts perhaps. In my retirement I got back into ‘plain air’ (out in nature, on the spot) painting again in watercolor (even from a bobbing boat!) and acrylic….in SW Florida and the CT shoreline. (this is something one can do alone….though it can draw people too close in their curiosity!) This summer I tried an on-line 4 week Sat. 3+ class with a most marvelous painter/teacher David Dunlop (from Silvermine School in NC/Norwalk). I had studied last summer and fall with him so was used to his style of teaching….on-line is different but still SO great. Part of what is great is the sharing! The seeing others styles and hearing crit comments from David. His demo is always just amazing, full of historic tidbits as well. There are lots of other artists blogs and ‘classes’ available on line too. This has prompted me to write another post about our KIDLIT industry artistic needs too. Again…. the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Some basic artistic truths are still true! These were there throughout the history of art, and we keep relearning them throughout our lives! We need to speed time LOOKING and SEEING. Thinking about our INTENTIONS. If we hope to communicate something to ‘viewer’ we need to be focused ourselves . The scene, the photo(s), and sketches are there to ‘suggest’ to us. What happens on the page is what the art needs…what YOU feel and decide is important. We start from the GENERAL and move to the SPECIFIC. BIG to the SMALL. Big areas first….creating the composition. This might include a suggestion of the darkest darks and lightest lights and other large color general areas…no detail. Balance that will support all else to come. Tones and temperature might be decided here, with actual color coming later (often limited is best to keep things simple and clear). Relax, breathe and remind oneself of the ‘intention.’ Detail is the last….even in illustration, thought it comes faster…to clarify, highlight, focus attention even more. In KIDLIT, we want to remember the need for IDENTITY from the viewers. They must see and understand clearly, but with interest and curiosity. We want to KNOW the character(s) and identify with them. (thus the importance often of the eyes!) We like visual action (often referred to as ‘noise’ in fine arts). and HUMOR and EMOTION. Simplicity in design (composition) can mean using the white (negative) space most effectively, and limiting the palette perhaps so the viewers eye can FOCUS on the character. This can lead to emotional interaction which keeps your child viewer interested on ‘the story’ that is being told on the pages by your art.
Art styles are always changing….so many magical eyes and ways of seeing! I have so enjoyed, and still do!, the amazing new talents that come our way! And there is so so much more out there coming! I want to encourage each artist to keep on learning and growing and becoming who they are artistically. Don’t compare to others but LEARN from others. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, just different. Not every style is for every eye, or publisher, but that is OK! Keep at it as it’s a life long gift to revisit over and over and over. ENJOY this time of reflection and simplicity that allows us to better see the truths always there.
So I might or might not write more about our wonderful industry as time marches on here. If you are reading this and have any questions, or to just let me know you are THERE, please feel free to write me at Chris@catugeau.com