Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Illustration Friday: Round

It's about time I posted something new, isn't it? Gosh, the past couple of weeks somehow flew by with work and assorted holiday comings and goings—it's rejuvenating to have a day to draw, and to catch up on my blog visits. It's been almost a year since I started my blog, and when I don't have time to tend to it, I miss all of you!

My entry for the topic "round" on Illustration Friday is an homage, of sorts, to The Polar Express, a holiday favorite of mine. In fact, I love it so much that, on my forays into antique shops and websites, I'm often on the lookout for antique sleigh bells like the ones in the book. There are some gorgeous ones, but they're usually  brass, not the silvery (nickel?) ones in the story. A couple of years ago, after my father-in-law passed away, we were sorting through some things in his home and I came across this single, old sleigh bell. Right away, it reminded me of the one that Santa gives the boy at the end of the book. So, with apologies to Chris Van Allsburg, here's my sleigh bell—for all of us who truly believe.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Illustration Friday: Stripes...and Selznick!

Every  now and then I need to take a break from my drawings of botanicals and everyday objects, and after doing that turban squash, it was time! For this week's Illustration Friday topic, stripes, I decided to do another in my series of little trompe l'oeil drawings, using mostly white pencil on black paper. It's a complete departure for me, and a fun mental exercise, figuring out what's white and what's black. Here are the three together, you can see the original posts here and here):

But while were chatting about black and white drawings, I'm dying to tell you about my amazing evening a couple of weeks ago: Brian Selznick was in town talking about and signing his incredible new book, Wonderstruck, which is two stories intertwined, one told in words, one told in pictures. I've written about him before, especially my love for his book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. If you ever get a chance to hear Brian speak, you have to go—he's an amazing speaker and storyteller; everyone in the school auditorium was enthralled. While he spoke, we were treated to a fabulous screening of images from the book, his writing and drawing process, and the trailer for Martin Scorcese's new film, "Hugo". Brian answered tons of questions, and shared some fascinating things: 

There are hundreds of pencil drawings in these two books. He works really small (about 4 x 5 ) with a mechanical pencil on watercolor paper, and then the drawings are enlarged for the books. (He has an exquisite way of cross-hatching...I try not to drool on the pages.)

He decided to tell one story in pictures after watching a documentary about deaf people. (He has learned to sign really well; there was a deaf student in the audience and he chatted with her afterward.)

As a child, he was obsessed with the wolf diorama at NYC's Museum of Natural History. The wolves and the museum are important parts of Wonderstruck

He said that Martin Scorcese was unbelievably faithful to his book, and that the movie uses 3D technology in a new, sophisticated, artful way. When he visited the movie set, he saw that Scorcese, as well as most of the cast and crew kept his book with them  throughout the filming.

As he toured the set, built to look like a Parisian train station, Brian noticed how perfect a certain wall grate looked. He asked the production designer, the talented Dante Ferretti, where they found the grate, saying, "It looks just like the one I drew!" Ferretti answered, "It is the one you drew!" He was amazed that they had literally brought the smallest details of his drawings to life.
It was such fun meeting him as he signed my books.
(He had on the coolest silver leather shoes.)
I could go on and on, but I'll let you experience the genius of Brian Selznick firsthand. Check out his website here and the movie trailer here. It opens November 23...I can't wait!!