The WIYFR Conference

Illustrator Intensive from the New York SCBWI Conference

Illustrator Intensive from the New York SCBWI Conference

 

Today we have a guest blogger Melanie Skelton:  Raising six children gave me a good reason to discover the magic of picture books early in motherhood. You pull that busy toddler on your lap, or gather several children around and let them get lost in the illustrations as you read the story. Sometimes you pause to point out details, whether funny or interesting. Each page turn brings added magic to the moment as you delve into the life of a character and introduce these young pre-readers to the world of reading.

That magic is in the hands of the illustrator as they use their ability to bring the words of the author to life. Illustrators capture the details of a story and give it to us in a unique combination of lines and color. How does an illustrator step into that world to create the illustration that will hold the attention of those busy children who pick up the book? Sherry does this with her illustrations and will be teaching others the tools for accomplishing this at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) on June 17.

I am intrigued by her topic, “Stepping into Your Picture.” It reminds me of one of Sherry’s books. Although “The Day the Picture Man Came” is not about an illustrator, but an old time photographer, her illustrations do create that magic of people stepping into a picture.

In Sherry’s description of the WIFYR workshop, Sherry asks, “How do you put down on paper what you are feeling about the character and the story? How do you create motion and life in your illustrations? What does the setting say about the story and the character? Will use of color and design help to create a mood for your story?” These are the things that make picture book magic and will continue to pull generations of readers in before they even understand the words on the page.

 

 

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers 

http://melanieskelton.blogspot.com/

 

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Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

It takes several sketches to get a drawing ready for the finished painting. This is a sketch for a watercolor I am now working on, “Old Glory”. I am also getting ready to present a mini-workshop at the “Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers Conference on June 17th. I am going to teach “Stepping into Your Picture”. That is something that we have to do as illustrators. We have to use our imagination to enter the picture we are working on and make it believable to those who view the picture. I am taking notes and pictures as I work through my current picture book project.

The WIFYR Conference has been a place where I have met and been taught by many great illustrators and writers. I took a workshop from the great writer Eve Bunting and the illustrator Eric Rohmann who did the Caldecott winning book “My Friend Rabbit”. It has been a place where you can be taught by some of the greatest in the country and not have to pay for a plane ticket and a hotel. This year I’m teaching the illustrating mini-workshop. So to live up to the great illustrators from the past I will be getting ready to make it the best experience I can for the illustrators that attend. When they leave, I want them to feel like they have learned and worked and received information that will change their illustrations. They are using my illustrations on the web site. For more information on the workshops that are available, check out  http://www.wifyr.com

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers

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What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing nicer than a blank giant canvas.

Nothing nicer than a blank giant canvas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can get a pretty nice line if you use your whole arm.

You can get a pretty nice line if you use your whole arm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tree needed to expand onto the ceiling

The tree needed to expand onto the ceiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few animals needed to be ground level

A few animals needed to be ground level

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting a good example for the boy

Setting a good example for the boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't paint on the walls boy.

Don’t paint on the walls boy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zebras have such a nice design.

Zebras have such a nice design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun with line.

Fun with line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the way the zebra stripes continue up into the zebra mane.

I love the way the zebra stripes continue up into the zebra mane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working close, its nice to take a step back to check the whole wall.

Working close, its nice to take a step back to check the whole wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line waits for the color.

The line waits for the color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line had to be dry when the boy took his nap. He loved to clap on the wall. It is going to be inevitable. The boy is going to try to do his own art work on the wall. Sometime during his nap, he did a little artwork with the only medium he had, his diaper. Next trip I’ll try to add the color. Keep the boy, the crayons and the wall separated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trying to Make the Connection

I grabbed my carry on out of the overhead bin and hurried down the aisle of the plane. The man in the seat behind me was trying to make the same connection to Laguardia. He was muttering, “I have to make my flight. They are boarding right now. I have to get home.” That put a certain rush to my step. If I didn’t get on that plane, I might miss the SCBWI Illustrator Intensive in New York and I didn’t want to do that.

New York City

New York City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I searched for flight information and started headed down the long terminal of the Denver Airport. Walk fast, don’t run. Walking faster, don’t run over the little old ladies. Wow it was a long terminal and no gate in sight. When I made it to the gate, no one was sitting down. They were all on the plane. I made it on board, out of breath and a bit sweaty and made it to the big city. Once again I had the opportunity of attending the SCBWI New York Conference.

Brett Helquist, illustrator

Brett Helquist, illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love making sketches of the presenters. I jot down what they say and try to capture their faces.

Paul O. Zelinsky, illustrator

Paul O. Zelinsky, illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Wein and Linn Oliver, writers

Elizabeth Wein and Lin Oliver, writers

 

Linn shared some great olympic jokes written by those who attended which brought her to tears.

There was a great panel of illustrators that was moderated by Arthur Levine.

Shadra Strickland, illustrator

Shadra Strickland, illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver Jeffs, illustrator

Oliver Jeffers, illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Brown, illustrator

Peter Brown, illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marla Frazee, illustrator

Marla Frazee, illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raul Colon, illustrator

Raul Colon, illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you hear Jack Gantos and Kate Messner talk, you can become so mesmerized that you forget to sketch.

Watercolor by James Armstrong

Watercolor by James Armstrong

I made a few new friends like James Armstrong from the Boston area who taught me about clams and the night sky. Here is a watercolor he painted of a clam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were a few great friends that I got to hang out with at the conference and a few more that I met in person.

Illustrators Sherry Meidell, Bethanne Andersen, Manelle Oliphant and Shawna Tenney

Illustrators Sherry Meidell, Bethanne Andersen, Manelle Oliphant and Shawna Tenney

 

I got to have my Strega Nona Does it Again by Tomie dePaola autographed by Tomie. I ran into Bailey and he slipped into a picture with me and Tomie and Lin Oliver. They worked together on “Little Poems for Tiny Ears” Tomie did the illustrations and Lin did the poems.

Bailey, Tomie de Paola, Sherry Meidell, Linn Oiliver

Bailey, Tomie de Paola, Sherry Meidell, Lin Oiliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And with a bit of good luck when I flew home, the gate I got off in Houston, was the same gate I had to get back on to catch the flight home so no running around the airport. The children’s book writing and illustrating community is filled with some very nice people and I met many of them.

Brett Helquist

Paul O. Zelinsky

Elizabeth Wein

Lin Oliver

Shadra Strickland

Oliver Jeffers

Peter Brown

Marla Frazee

Raul Colon

Bethanne Andersen

Manelle Oliphant

Shawna Tenney

James Armstrong

SCBWI

Kate Messner

Jack Gantos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Running For My Sketchbook

Richard Ormond grand nephew of John Singer Sergeant

Richard Ormond grand nephew of John Singer Sergeant

Richard Ormond, the grandnephew of John Singer Sargeant who was being interviewed with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts over the web. As I watched the interview I got the strong urge to run and grab my sketch book and try to capture his face. I’m not sure why it hits, but some things just beg to be captured in my sketch book. Was it the strong shadow that the lights created? Was it the nice design of black against white? I’m not sure and usually don’t know the reason why. It just has to be painted or sketched.

"House of Order"

“House of Order”

A similar thing happened as I sketched a house down in Orderville. I sat on the front porch painting the white pioneer house across the street and I saw in my mind how it would look in a larger finished painting. I just had to paint it. “House of Order” will be on it’s way down to St. George. It will hang in the 27th Annual Robert N. & Peggy Sears Dixie Invitational Art Show and Sale, Delores Dore’ Eccles Fine Arts Center 155 S. University Avenue, St. George, Utah 84770, February 14 through March 30th.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts www.mfa.org

Sears Museum Galley  http://dixieculturalarts.com/sears-museum/

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George Handel’s Messiah

Sketching at the Oratorio Society of Utah, Messiah

Sketching at the Oratorio Society of Utah, Messiah

 

I love sketching at concerts. Somehow the intensity of the music gets into your sketches and it adds something to the visuals. Your hands and pen get into the rhythm of notes and singing. There are also some great black and white visuals and shapes caused by black bowties and  tuxedos. You can start several sketches and move back to them as people move back into the same poses. These sketches were made at the Sunday night performance of the Oratorio Society of Utah at the Libby Gardner Hall. It was fun to watch the soloists as they listened to the music. There was some slight head bobbing and some glistening of eyes.

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Tulips at the Gate

Tulips at the Gate by Sherry Meidell 21" x 29" watercolor

Tulips at the Gate by Sherry Meidell 21″ x 29″ watercolor

I am pleased to announce that “Tulips at the Gate” has been juried into the 39th Western Federation Watercolor Society Exhibition. The exhibit will open on April 1, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is the fourth time I have been juried into Western Fed which will make me eligible as a signature artist.

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Delivery of the commissioned piece

Detail of commissioned watercolor

Detail of commissioned watercolor

You take the idea that the person has in their head, try to get as much information as possible about what is their vision and then you run with it. You add your touch to the watercolor. You make it your own. You sketch and study and work out color schemes. You get to know the subject until you feel comfortable with it. The painting slowly comes together in front of you and it’s done. Well almost done. There is that last dob of magenta that tucks nicely under the deep green of the distant trees. Nice, it ties together with the other splashes of magenta. Now your done.

So you take this painting that you’ve sweated over and present it to the owner. You’ve painted the painting so that it pleases you, now you worry if it will please them. Annnnnnd it does. The smile and the hug tell you that they love it.

 

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Quotes from the Clipper

"As Shepherds Watched"

“As Shepherds Watched”

Some words need to be spelled another way like the word shepherd. You would think that if you are talking about an ancient shepherd, it should be spelled shephard. It just has a nice biblical feel. But I have been informed by my in house proof reader, that it is indeed shepherd.

Jenniffer Wardell, the Associate Editor for the Davis County Clipper, had some nice things to say about the “New Art Center Exhibit Offers Dose of Holiday Cheer” Here are a couple of quotes about my art from her Wednesday Nov. 27, 2013 article. “The most traditionally heartwarming pieces feature Santa Claus getting friendly with the animal kingdom. Robert McKay’s warm cheerful Santa says hello to man’s best friend in “A Creature Was Stirring.” In Sherry Meidell’s adorable “Christmas Bears,” santa sneaks a teddy bear to two cubs that are far less drowsy than their hibernating mother.” And here is another comment about a little oil I have in the show: “Meidell portrays a different portion of the Biblical tale with “As Shepherds Watched,” a small, wonderfully human oil painting. Meidell captures both the shepherd and his sheep in what must be that first moment of curiosity, not yet fully aware of what that sudden light would mean.” Now my in house proof reader mentioned that I had misspelled shepherd on the title of my little oil and Jenniffer Wardell because she is the Associate Editor of the Davis County Clipper has spelled it right in the paper. If you would like to see the holiday show it will be at the Bountiful/Davis Art Center in Farmington until December 21st. And if you go you will see my creative spelling of shepherds – “As Shephards Watched”

Davis County Clipper

Bountiful Davis Art Center

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Sometimes a Frame Begs for a Bit of Paint

blogbdacChristmas Bears is the featured art of the Bountiful Davis Art Center 2013 Holiday Show. The opening reception was great and I met some wonderful artists. The art work is priced for holiday gift buying and the show runs from November 15th to December 21. The art center is temporarily located up in Farmington in the old court house on the second floor. That is also where the classes are held. My watercolor class will start up in January for anyone who wants to take it. Christmas Bears is available as a giclee print at the show.

"Christmas Bears" Giclee print by Sherry Meidell

“Christmas Bears” Giclee print by Sherry Meidell

I found the perfect frame for this giclee’ print. It’s a heavy wooden frame that seemed to fit the watercolor painting. It needed just a touch of something, so I used a little Rub n Buff Spanish Copper and painted some little red berries and green leaves on the frame. It gives it a real old fashion Christmas touch. This giclee along with three of my oils and other art by Catherine Hostetter, Greg Newbold, Simon Winegar, Rebecca Hartvigsen and Diane Turner to name a few, are  available for purchase. It is a great show. Be sure to check it out at the art center.

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