Inspiration: Tony DiTerlizzi

A while ago I did an "inspiration" post about Giselle Potter, and I got a lot of good feedback from folks about showing sneak peaks of my illustration and art faves. So, I've decided to do a post like this once a month in order to spotlight some of my major influences.

And who better to start with than Tony DiTerlizzi? He is in a nutshell one of the reasons I went to art school. One of my all time favorite kids' book illustrators, he imbues his work with imagination and heart, referencing greats like Arthur Rackham and Norman Rockwell (some of my favorites).
I first discovered Tony's work when I was in college. In Northampton, MA, there's an outstanding art gallery, the R. Michelson Gallery, on Main Street. On a whim, I stopped in to look around. The gallery featured some great work, but when I saw that it had an entire section devoted to children's book art, I was hooked. On that first visit, I discovered paintings from Tony's book Jimmy Zangwow's Out of this World Moon Pie Adventure hanging in the back room. Just the title! Awesome, non?

The illustrations were richly colored and imaginative. Each one was a masterpiece in gouache.

Of course, I rushed to the library to check out his others books. He had also illustrated a gorgeous black and white adaptation of The Spider and the Fly.

And Ted, a loony and endearing picture book about a boy and his imaginary friend.

Later Tony teemed up with author Holly Black (Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale among others) on The Spiderwick Chronicles. Here his work shifted from full color gouache paintings to watercolor paintings - cover and frontispiece - and ink spot illustrations. I fell in love with the line quality of this work...

...and with his use of watercolor and a muted palette.

Rather versatile this Mr. DiTerlizzi.

Tony's work is beautiful, but the elements that I believe are truly key are both his imagination and his understanding of character. Every character in his illustrations has a personality and a life. Each one says something in his/her posture, gesture, facial expression, clothing... it's all in these careful details.

Honestly, I only have good things to say about him... even how nice he is. Yes! Dear readers, one of the reasons behind this post is that I actually met Tony today. Tonight there was an event at Books of Wonder to promote his new book, The Search for WondLa. (Note about the bookstore... it is an AMAZING children's bookstore in NY, and it's attached to a cupcake bakery. What could be better?! Seriously, get off of your computer and go!) But back to the book... I haven't yet read it, as it came out today, but I do have a signed copy waiting for me on my night table. The illustrations are similarly excellent and in a style that reflects the genre. It's a new departure - ink and digital coloring - but from what I've seen thus far, they're beautiful.

So, lovely readers, I urge you to check out Tony's work. As most of us in illustration-land do, he has both a blog and a website. And as I mentioned earlier, not only is Tony an amazing artist, but I can also state with certainty, he is super nice...

Comic Feature!

Hey there everyone!

I've been so intensely immersed in prepping for the book show, the comic class already feels ages ago. Regardless, Jessica Abel (one of the professors of my summer comic class and author of the graphic novel La Perdida and the how-to book Drawing Words, Writing Pictures) wrote a feature on her blog about the work I did this summer. Woah!

Take a looksee!

Special thanks to Jessica for the great spotlight article and of course to her, Tom and Keith for an incredible summer class.


It's done!!!

Believe it or not, but it's done. It's sewn, it's glued, it's end-papered, it's trimmed, and it's bound! The pictures are matted and framed and all ready for hanging on Tuesday, and the business cards and promotional postcards are all designed, ordered, and on their way.

Alas, no images of the book yet. It may be done, but the glue is still on the wet side... pictures to come.

But! In the meantime, some more shameless self-promotion.

Could it be...

Could it possibly be...?

It would seem, dear readers, that my book may very well be coming together. It's been a harried few days. I've been at the studio every day this week doing final corrections to the art, reworking the text, hand-lettering, scanning, photoshopping, and laying everything out in InDesign. Whew. Just listing all of it is exhausting. Despite one slight mishap, everything is going rather well.

As for the "slight" mishap... I spent 6 hours scanning all of the artwork on Saturday only to make a horrifying discovery early Sunday morning. Since I had all of the raw files on my hard drive, I decided to work from home. Alas, when I opened the files, I discovered that each and every image had horrible lines and banding. ACK! I wrote a hasty, stress-induced email to the ever amazing P - computer-guru and studio-tech guy - who came into the studio and took all of the scanners apart and cleaned the scanner heads. Amazing, no? Anywho, after the heads were cleaned, I re-scanned everything and tada! No banding! Admittedly the loss of the 6 hours of work was traumatic, but it all worked out in the end. (Thank you P!)

The layout for the book is 90% done. All that remains is to format the title page, actually come up with a title, letter the title page, design the cover, and finally print and bind the book.

Because all of this layout business isn't really exciting, image-wise... I shall leave with you a new piece from the book.

The Carousel

And again, for the NYers, I hope you'll consider coming to the opening. If you can't come to the opening, let me know. The exhibit will be up for a bunch of weeks, so provided I have some free time, I'd be happy to arrange a private tour and show you around.

Until next time!

Book Show!

Hey there everyone!

The school year is just around the corner, as is the book show!

It has been a busy couple of weeks. After wrapping up the comic class and launching the snazzy new website, I dove right back into the book project, and finally FINALLY last week I moved into a bright shiny brand spanking new space at the studio. It's marvelous. Pictures to come.

So these past bunch of weeks have been work, work, and some more hard work; I finished two new spreads, doctored two old spreads, scrapped and rewrote the manuscript yet again (for the third, fourth, eighth, twenty-fifth time), played with some text treatment, scrapped a finished spread, redrew a new one, and am currently finishing up what I hope (fingers crossed) is the last spread in the book. I only have about half of it painted, but here's a sneak peak. (Pardon the low quality... my crappy little camera seems to be on the fritz.)

With this last spread nearly done, the book finally feels like it's coming together. Next steps: cover design, scanning, formatting, text-placement, printing, and binding! It's certainly going to be a busy September.

That being said, the book show is going to be amazing, and I hope that those of you who live nearby will consider coming!