Four hours

Hey there blog readers,

So you remember that lovely little children's book organization that I write about every now and then...?  SCBWI, you know, that one. Every fall SCBWI announces a pretty neat contest run by Tomie DePaola. Last year I had a bunch of free time and entered a piece. This year, however, was just a wee bit busy with trips and jobs and all kinds of stuff, so though it was announced months and months ago back in September/October, I didn't have any time to tackle the project.
The assignment: create an illustration in black and white (including half-tones) from a classic. We had to choose a passage, a line, or description from one of three books:

  • "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott,
  • "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain, or
  • "The Yearling" by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

I felt terrible about missing out on an opportunity not only to create a piece of work in beautiful black and white, but also to put that piece of work in front of Tomie. I tried my best to put it out of my head... but I contemplated it in early October. I half-heartedly considered it later in the month. I spared it a passing thought in November. And in December, I finally decided to pass. I just didn't have any spare time.

Until the day of the deadline...
At 1pm on the 14th, I realized that I couldn't not submit anything. So I made a beeline for the studio, grabbed a pencil, and dashed off a sketch. I use the term "sketch" veeeery loosely... scribble would probably be a better word. I've been dying to try out some old papercut techniques after seeing Andrea Offerman do an amazing demo, so with that in mind, I set to work.

When the contest was first announced, I realized that it had been years since I'd read Little Women, so I picked up a copy for my own pleasure.

One passage that I loved was something that Jo says to her sister, Margaret:

"I'd have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled with books, and I'd write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie's music. I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle-something heroic, or wonderful-that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream."

With less than four hours until the deadline, I sat down to work.

And at 5pm, I sent in my entry:


Nicole S. said...

Honey, this turned out absolutely STUNNING! So proud!

Tina said...


Andrea Offermann said...

It's absolutely beautiful Lisa, I am so happy you liked my demo!

Helen N. Hill said...

Beautiful work! I love the flow and visual movement that comes off her desk. It was my first year entering the contest and I didn't realize until I posted my entry that it was a total design moment as well. Your complimentary text shines!

Spaceman Spiff said...

That a way...dreams come true,Beautiful art and thoughts.

mahnoor said...

This is so fantastic. My favorite passage from Little Women, too! (If you're ever up for selling a print, I call dibs.)=D

Kary Lee said...

Nice approach and beautiful execution! It's funny how time works. This project hit me during a lul in my work so I had 'time' to think, execute and 'obsess' about it. Although I was happy with my submission but spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME on it, because I could. I love the fact that you did this in four hours. It just goes to show that with creativity, sometimes less is more!

Thanks for taking the time to post this! And, Good luck!

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