A Photo for Greta on the way


In a few short weeks my new book, A Photo for Greta, will be out at last! You might remember some of the paintings I posted as I was working on it last summer here , here, and here.

While the illustrations were done last summer, the book has been in progress for a long time. Its a story I've always wanted to write about growing up with a dad who is a photographer (which mine was). Here is a photo he took of me when I was about 4, which we used on the jacket flap:


I painted a version of it on the endpapers:


I've been putting together some promotional materials for schools (more on that soon) and some behind the scenes peeks of the making of the book on my web site. This weekend I made this little painting in progress "movie" out of photos of one of the illustrations. I hope it will make the painting process clear to kids who watch it...

Old Red Shoe painting in progress movie

This week I am in Virginia on a whirlwind tour of school visits and presentations to teachers. As part of a talk I'm giving for Kindergarten teachers, I put together this painting-in-progress movie of an illustration from What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe? (similar to the work-in-progress posts you see on my blog). It is so hard to explain how an illustration evolves from sketch to finish, it is so much easier to show...




Check out my first painting-in-progress movie for Priscilla here.

Disappearing Desmond continued

Today I spent the morning in Connecticut at a school visit, and the afternoon at a book talk given by the lovely Alison Morris at the Smith College Campus school- a follow up to the book fair yesterday where Grace and I presented and signed with a bunch of local author/illustrators. It was a busy day considering I usually sit at my drafting table all by my lonesome (with the possible company of my cats), and a needed break before the final stretch to my deadline.

Anyhow, here is the conclusion to last week's post about one of the Disappearing Desmond paintings. Just a few more to go, all the art will be done less than two weeks- eek!

When we left off I had just started to repaint the figures over the background layers:



Next I filled in the snowman and Desmond, dressed in blue to blend into the shadows:



Then I worked on the two figures behind him, beginning patterns on their clothing:



More layers, on the trees especially:



And the finished painting:

Desmond painting part 2

Here is the rest of the process for last week's Desmond painting:

Still building layers on the character's faces (maybe the bunny should have spots?):



The word balloons get outlines and the bunny is better grey:



Building up the layers of paint in the word balloons, Desmond's face, and his outfit:



And some final touches... the character's clothes get patterns and "hi" finishes things off:



Of course the painting is never done until the day of the deadline, I still may tweak the colors or add some little details. I was thinking Desmond might need a little something extra to spiff up his outfit. What do you think? A hat or a flower on his sweater vest perhaps?

Another Desmond painting in progress

Thanks to all who came out for the RISD sale on Saturday, it was a great day. Be sure to join Grace and I at the holiday sale in December!

Now back to painting (deadline is ticking)...

Here is the sketch I started with, its a new Desmond after he has given up hiding for the joys of friendship:



After transferring the general shapes of the sketch (so I know where to put the highlights and shadows), I started on the background, a nice green:



No, green is not good. No green. How about orange:



Better I think. Warmer and more celebratory. Now the characters get their first wash of color (after I transfer the sketch once again):



Word balloons too:



Starting to layer the color in Desmond's outfit, and some of the faces:



Stay tuned for more next week!

Disappearing Desmond painting part 2


My apologies for taking so long to post the last half of this "painting in progress". A couple weeks ago I posted here about how this painting began... when we left off I was layering the color, mainly in the background:



Next I built up the figures some more, and tightened up edges:



Then added details like the beach goers in the background, and the shells and sand in the foreground:



When it all came together the painting looked like this:

Disappearing Desmond painting in progress

For those of you who emailed and commented and facebooked about the Desmond jacket last week- thanks for your input! We did indeed pick image number two (the fence one). Its good to know you pretty much all agreed.

This week I am painting...

The sketch:



The underpainting:



Layering on the color:



Building up the color/texture of the sand and the waves:



Still working on the background, and adding color to the figures:



To be continued next week!