Sunday, November 13, 2011

A New Way

I went to the SCBWI Carolinas conference in Charlotte this September (fun!) and was very fortunate to meet the fabulous illustrator David Diaz. It's taken me awhile to process how seeing his portfolio influenced me. His work (which is not the kitten pictured here!) really blurs the line between illustration and fine art.

What line? some of you may be asking. I've heard the arguments before. But, in my mind, there's a huge difference between creating art based solely on having an artistic experience and creating art for a book. Even a beautiful picture book. I once met a painter at the Vermont Studio Center who said (paraphrasing) painting is like taking a walk in the woods. You know where you're starting, but you don't know where you'll end up.

When you're illustrating, you must have some idea of where you'll end up, right? If the text is about a group of penguins on a journey to Hawaii, you can't do a self-portrait. I mean, I'd like to see your self-portrait. But your art director probably would not.

David Diaz is an illustrator. But he showed us all kinds of art, which looked totally free.

And made me take a closer look at my portfolio. And about how I feel about my portfolio. I think there are some great pieces there. But I want to find a way to feel more free. Have more fun.

So I got out my acrylics and my big brushes. I've been saving them for the day I have time to go into my studio and create art for myself. Which may be a long way off, if I truly want to publish my middle grade novel and my picture books and illustrate. (and I do!)

I used my acrylics and big brushes to paint this kitten for a picture book I'm working on. He's getting ready to leave his basket for the first time. To journey forth to new adventures. And have fun.
Just like me.