Friday, July 27, 2012

Penguins, Art Directors & Time Travel

Little Tumpsy looks comfy resting on my mini-shelf
with some new found friends. 
*but more about Tumpsy later...

Last Sunday was the last day to see
:: From Mice to Monsters: Illustrations for Children ::
at 440 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Three artists spoke about their work and demonstrated
their process so that kids, and a few adults, could 
try it out for themselves.

Melissa and her daughter share Penguin Book

Here, Melissa Guion, author & illustrator of
"Baby Penguins Everywhere" shares her book mock-up.
This is her 1st published children's book, 
a very exciting thing indeed!
It will be released this fall/winter by Philomel Books,
an imprint of Penguin (of course!)

Drawing a penguin, she said, starts with a
 simple egg shape. She shared countless sketches 
she made to get them and their world, just right.

I love her loose cute style
Melissa takes a minimal approach, relying on her expressive 
energetic line, to give her penguins their sweet whimsical charm.

We listened to the sounds a penguin makes
before the kids got down to work :)

moody expressiveness!

Bill Zeman's older daughter made penguins in party hats :)

Love the proud dad's expression in background

There were numerous interpretations.

Talking shop 

You can pre-order Baby Penguins Everywhere on Amazon
or wait for the store release. I look forward to buying it :)

*some pics here were courtesy Melissa's blog 52 Pictures 
where you can see more from her perspective.

Next up, was Bill Zeman
His book, "Tiny Art Director", published by
Chronicle Books, is a clever cute compilation of 
artwork made for his daughter, when she was 2 years old, with an 
accompanying critique of each piece. It's quite funny! 

Here's one example-

The Brief: Crocodiles
Preliminary Sketch (no longer extant): Upon seeing the preliminary sketch, the art director, in a rather unprofessional outburst, collapsed on the floor sobbing and screaming.
The Critique: The back is so so so bad I don't even want to look at it! You always do that to the crocodile's back!
Job Status: Rejected and Destroyed

Finished Version (above):
The Critique: Good. The big one is me. You can be the little one.
Job Status: Approved

*Many were Rejected, you can visit his Tiny Art Director blog 
to see more or buy the book, of course.

Yuko Katakawa, talented illustrator, listens in background

Bill works in several mediums and here he
describes how to work with watercolor. He also  
talked practicalities, like sometimes opting for a less expensive 
paper, but going for quality when it comes to the paint
and importance of the right brush.

Here, Bill demonstrates while kids watch and listen. 
His youngest daughter, several years older now, continues to critique 
as she snacks,
just like an art director ;)

I'm sorry I didn't take more photos of the children's work.
They were all very focused.
It's possible I was in back checking out beverage choices.

sweet pitcher

Take a look at Bill Zeman's website to see his range 
of work and also to view these cool rockets he's created...

even Tiny Art Director loves this one :)

Finally, we come to "Tumpsy's Time Travel", a real hit with all of us!

Mariko Suzuki created these tiny characters 
and dioramas for her story about a young bear who 
travels far away to catch a glimpse of his 
grandma's childhood home. 

"Felting" is her method of choice. 
She learned it from her mother-in-law and she appears to take 
great pleasure in doing this intricate and time consuming activity.

What starts out looking like cotton candy soon transforms
into an animal, plant or piece of furniture.
There are no seams, she simply uses a single 
needle to seamlessly press fibers together & into each other.

For larger pieces, like the sky or ground, she uses
a tool that holds 5 pins, so you can work with increased speed.

Here, comparing the book images with actual ones

This little girl carefully studied Mariko, possibly stealing ideas.

Mariko self published her book through Amazon,
but she is currently looking for a professional 
publisher for her story.

With such a unique appealing look, I would think
she'll find one. Just a matter of time and some legwork to 
find the right fit (easier said than done, i know)
Great for kids or as a novelty gift for adults, like me, 
attracted to all things kawaii ;)
I think it should come with a kit, so kids can
make their own.

I was impressed to learn that Mariko is not at all precious with
her tiny creations, that if one is the least bit off, it's tossed
or reconstructed. Her husband described to me 
the trauma he felt, returning home to torn limbs 
and headless Tumpsies ;-/

After her reading and demo, Mariko offered
up her characters and landscape accessories to 
an awe struck audience.
I've rarely witnessed such surprise from kids, 
it became so quiet
you could here a felt pin drop.
I had to restrain myself from fighting for one. 
I decided to wait and luckily, brought home Tumpsy.
 Still, I felt sort of jealous of the boy who 
snagged grandpa and the cake!

C'est la Vie!

Little art buyer with great ring!
Again, it was a pleasure to show my work with such fabulous illustrators.
I had such a good time at the two Sunday talks, also.
Thank you to 440 Gallery and to the artists involved in this!
You Rock!!

: Have a swell weekend :
xo, A

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