This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Transcript: 4/28/11

Thanks to Wendy's perseverance, we now have a viable alternative for transcripts. There are limitations to this new service: only 500 tweets can be recovered per session--which means that we will miss chunks of the livelier chats. But this is certainly much better than the alternative (no transcript at all!). And I really like the addition of the icons. :-)

Thanks, Wendy!

TOPIC: How do you check your art for consistency through every page and spread?


#kidlitart 4-28-11

Friday, April 29, 2011

Archive for April 28, 2011 chat

We are still looking for a good alternative for wthashtag archives. The best replacement only provides a pdf file.

Please bear with us as we work out the kinks. :)


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Consistency is the topic for Thursay April 28 chat.

We've reached the end of the full sized sketches phase. Now is the time to look at all your drawings and make sure the tiny details add up.

There is a good article about character consistency for comic artists here: http://www.helium.com/items/949706-drawing-your-comic-characters-with-consistency Many of the points the author discusses are also relevant for picture book illustration.

Find someplace to spread out all your art so you can see every spread all at the same time. I use the floor of my bedroom. Other artists use a huge cork board on a studio wall. No matter how strong an artist you are, this step CANNOT be skipped. Big things to check for are:

• Facial features - does you character look like the same character from page 1 to page 32?
• Proportions - is you character the same size throughout? How about compared to secondary characters?
• Clothing - if your character has a costume, are all the details in the same place?
• Environment - is your background and supporting imagery also consistent with character and story line? Has your setting undergone any changes? Should it have?
• This is also a good time to double check your page turn and story flow. Are the images working to move the story forward as you intended in your thumbnails?

There may be a spread (or even two) you decide isn't working and will want to revisit them. In one book I was working on, my main character's skirt and hair grew longer. Since the story time elapse was a single afternoon, this was not a natural occurrence and needed to be fixed before any color was added. Such details are not readily observed unless all the art is set side by side.

These are the full size pencils being approved at Puffin: http://thepuffinblog.typepad.com/.a/6a00e5501c1be888330115705ac655970c-pi

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lost your mojo?

We're a little over halfway through the #PBdummy challenge, and some of us (stop looking at me like that!) have lost momentum, hit a slump, thrown in the towel, started wondering why we ever thought we were illustrators in the first place (maybe that's just me).

So, how do you power through the dark days? One of my favorite Disney illustrators (and I can't remember which, but it was one of my favorites, because they're ALL my favorites) said his personal breakthrough cam when he realized that periodic down times were just part of the process in any project. Hmmm . . .

How do you stay motivated?

Join us Thursday, 9 pm Eastern, to share tips on keeping the creative juices flowing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Transcript: 4/14/11

TOPIC: Are you mining your art for hidden gems?

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 4-14-11

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adding a subtext to your sketches

The #PBdummy sketches are coming along nicely . . . right? As you’re refining your layouts, enlarging from your thumbnails, you might find that the art is suggesting little tangents to explore, secondary plot lines, a background character who suddenly steals a scene, an opportunity to tuck a personal reference into the story. Go for it! This is why YOU are illustrating the book and not someone else.

Listening to an art director speak recently about what an illustrator brings to a picture book project, something finally clicked: it’s not that as illustrators we “get” to add these little personal touches—it’s our obligation to expand and add layers to the story. This same art director told about a famous author who, upon viewing the art for her latest picture book, commented (with delight), “I had no idea I had written that story!”

Just because YOU are the author of this picture book for which you’re now creating the dummy doesn’t mean you are relieved of the duty to enrich the story beyond the written text. An adult will be reading the words—the child will be “reading” the pictures. Give that child something to notice—some special knowledge that comes ONLY from the pictures: a fox peeking sneakily out from behind the henhouse while the chickens are planning a picnic; a mouse scurrying away with the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle; an unmentioned puppy who stays to comfort the main character during a thunderstorm.

Some artists have developed signature “Easter eggs”—tiny objects or characters hidden in each scene. (My daughters loved finding Lowly Worm on every page of a Richard Scarry book.) Other illustrators plan an entire “subversive subtext” to play out in the illustrations . . . or turn a familiar story on its ear (David Wiesner’s The Three Pigs is a prime example).

Join us for #kidlitart at 9 pm Eastern on Thursday, April 14, to discuss how to let your illustrations take your story in a completely new direction.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Transcript: 4/7/11; Special Guest Tara Larsen Chang

#kidlitart 4-7-11

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kidlitart welcomes Tara Larsen Chang!

As we continue to work on full-size sketches for our picture book dummies, we have a special treat for you: illustrator extraordinaire Tara Larsen Chang will be joining us at chat this week.

Tara is a triple threat: equally at home illustrating contemporary children, animals and fantasy creatures. Her client list of leading publishers as well as all the major children's magazines is a testament to her versatility and talent.

Bring your questions and plan to be inspired!

Join us Thursday, April 7, at 9 pm Eastern.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Transcript: 3/31/11

TOPIC: What's your worst perspective nightmare?

#kidlitart 3-31-11