This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moving right along . . .

Continuing with the full-size sketch phase of our #PBdummy schedule, we're focusing on perspective this week.

Perspective, for an illustrator, is like those 7th grade science lessons--if you can manage to remember what you learned way back then, you can amaze your friends at parties: "Yes, the Coriolus effect does determine the rotation of adjacent isobars on a weather map!"

Unlike the Coriolus effect, however, perspective plays an essential part in your layout. Even if you decide to deliberately abandon logical perspective for effect, you must have a thorough knowledge of how it works, or your subjects may appear not to be grounded properly, the anatomy of your figures will be off (foreshortening, anyone?) and your layouts will, literally, lack depth.

The good news is that there are lots of resources and inexpensive aids available. My favorite desktop reference is a slim paperback I picked up at my local art supply store, appropriately (and exhaustively) titled, Perspective: An essential guide featuring basic principles, advanced techniques, and practical applications, by William F. Powell (one of the Walter Foster Artist's Library Series). Books on animation and comics, such as the ones by the often-mentioned Scott McCloud, are also excellent resources. And some artists swear by perspective templates, sketching sheets with grids and sightlines laid in. (I've lost the link--so if anyone knows how to get their hands on some of these, kindly leave a message in the comments section.)

A quick trip to Amazon yields the following titles:

Creative Perspective for Artists and Illustrators, by Ernest W. Watson

Perspective Drawing Handbook (Dover Art Instruction), by Joseph D'Amelio

Perspective Made Easy, by Ernest R. Norling

Join us Thursday, March 31, at 9 pm Eastern, for a #kidlitart chat on the problems and perils of persnickety perspective.

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