Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creatures & Such

It looks like I'm sort of continuing on with my monsters/robots/creatures doodles, so here's the next page. It doesn't feel like I'm finished with it yet, but I think the more I work on it, the worse I make it.

Maybe it needs to be finished now whether I like it or not.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Robots and Monsters

Another page from my visual journal.

I started with the idea of robots and robot parts, and it quickly evolved into funky creatures in general. I like the idea of robots and monsters as subjects because anything goes. That might be the same reason they're so hard for me. Too many possibilities for my little brain to sift through. That's the challenge I decided to give myself with these little doodle dudes.

I think I'll call them The Juxtapositioning of Disparate Elements. At least the title sounds classy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Monster Under My Bed

I figure the first step in making friends with the monster under my bed is to identify it. I'm still trying to figure out what it looks like, but here's a page I drew of ideas a couple of nights ago.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I finally met #ShaunTan (happy, happy dance)

In case you're new here, the one thing I can tell you about me is, I can't get enough of Shaun Tan.

I had never been to a national SCBWI conference before the one that just happened in New York, and all it took for me to get there was to see Shaun Tan's name on the keynote speaker list. I swear I was the first one in line.

My first meeting with Shaun went pretty much like this: On Friday, the first day of the conference, I was on the elevator by myself heading up to my hotel room on the 30th floor. When the elevator stopped, the doors opened and there waiting to get on, by himself, was Shaun Tan. I sucked in a breath, but somehow nothing came out. We stepped aside for each other to enter and exit. The doors closed between us

I spent Saturday morning waiting for a moment (and finding the nerve for) when he wasn't busy talking to somebody else. When I finally caught him waiting for the elevator yet again, I introduced myself and told him he was the reason I was at the conference. The elevator opened, we stepped in and joined a couple of other people already inside. I had barely started talking again when the nice lady beside me reached out her hand to Shaun and said, "Hi. I'm Jane Yolen. We've actually met before."

Not kidding.
Then the other lady in the elevator said, "Shaun Tan and Jane Yolen in the same elevator together. What are the chances!"

Yes. What are the chances.

We didn't have a chance to say any more before the elevator stopped at his floor (our floor), and he got out.

I did not.

Finally, on the last day of the conference just before our train left the station (literally; we rode the train to NY), I was working the autograph party as an SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator and waited for my opportunity. Shaun signed books for three hours straight (an hour longer than he was scheduled), and after the line disappeared, I finally (finally) got my photo op.

As you can see, he signed all his books for me, even though he had been sitting there for three hours. He was kind, patient and unassuming, and if his two had been the only talks I had heard all weekend, I would have left completely satisfied.

First Neil Gaiman last November, and now Shaun Tan. That's it. Is there really anybody else?

I guess I can die happy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The @BrothersHilts: Illustrators I Greatly Admire: Exhibit F

The Brothers Hilts (with an "s" at the end, and not because there are two of them)
Last fall sometime (I'm figuring around Halloween because that's when Ben and Sean told me Barnes and Noble featured their book in displays for the holiday) I picked up a copy of The Insomniacs, written by Karina Wolf and illustrated by The Brothers Hilts. I picked it up, of course, because I always judge a book by its cover, and this one was not your typical one.

I also had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting the two of them at the SCBWI conference in New York a couple of weeks ago. They're fun, they're genuine and so very humble considering their talents.

If you're wondering how they work their images together, you're not alone. They like to experiment with lots of mediums, but in this case Ben (the elder of the Hilts) worked in charcoal. His part of the images are more dreamlike with less sharpness on the edges. Sean (the younger one, if you haven't figured that out) worked his part in pencil. His half of the images added the linear crispness. They combine each of their drawings together in separate layers in Photoshop, tweaking away parts of each that might be too distracting. When it comes to adding the color, they each pick and choose which illustrations speak to them, and those are the ones they work on. Once they get started, if the color isn't working for them, the other brother steps in to help. Their method seems to be working rather well.

My favorite page from the book is this two-page spread featuring the bats.

To give you another idea of what they can do, here's one of the illustrations from their site. It's a re-imagining of the cover of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, and I think it's fantastic. So conceptual and simply stated. Just beautiful.

If you would like to get to know them a little better, they were featured on the Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog last December.

Very much looking forward to their next project.