Thursday, December 30, 2010

details

Details of the storyteller's face and each of the children from my illustrations for "How Anansi Obtained the Sky God's Stories" an African Folktale from the Ashanti, published by Childrens Press of Chicago.
Another element that was a major decision when I illustrated this book was how I would use media.
What type of media?  Watercolor,pastels, acrylic,pencils or oil? This is a question I have often wrestled with. At that time I didn't feel like I had a strong style. And I had training at The Art Center College in so many types of media and styles that I spent some time after school wondering what felt best for me. I have now realized that this question really doesn't suddenly answer itself, you pick something, work as hard as you can with it, eventually a personal style emerges after much time and many hours.
I spent a great deal of time researching images and information about Ghana and the Ashanti people for this book. I also looked at lots of award-winning children's illustration, the styles and media used.
I decided to work with Prismacolor pencils with a very heavy, blended application. I wanted to get the colors as dense and rich as possible. One reason for this is the color scheme that I imagined for the African folktale. And the other reason was that I had been looking, at the library and at bookstores, at too many children's books illustrated with very light pencil or ink lines and light pastel toned washes. I wanted my work to stand apart from that type of look.

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