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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Transcript: 5/26/11

TOPIC: How do you get illustrations ready to deliver?

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 5-26-11

Friday, May 20, 2011

Transcript: 5/19/11

TOPIC: What's your color? Choosing the proper palette.

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 5-19-11

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Choosing color – the trick of the proper palette.

May 19th #BPDummy challenge chat 9 PM eastern

We’re coming to the end of the creating final art section of the challenge. By now you should have decided on a style and a medium. The last thing to consider is the color palette.

As illustrators, we’ve discussed how our art needs to add to the story put down in the text. We were talking about the drawings, the characters and the story inside the story. In case you never thought of it this way before, did you know that your color is another layer in story telling? Another character, as it were?

That’s right. The colors you choose, the way you use them help to tell the story.

A story that takes place mainly at night will be cool muted colors, shades of blues, purples and greens. Tuesday by David Wiesner is a perfect example of this. http://www.amazon.com/Tuesday-David-Wiesner/dp/0395870828/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305732734&sr=1-1

A story like Red Ridinghood would have colors that help depict the storyline of danger and deceit. Reds, bright purples and shocking oranges might be included in such a pallete. http://www.amazon.com/Little-Riding-Caperucita-Bilingual-Fairy/dp/0811825620/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305732945&sr=1-4

When deciding on a color palette keep in mind the mood of your story. Is it funny? Scary? Historical? Does it take place at night? Inside? Underwater? IS your style realistic? Or is it more stylized?

It is also a good idea to check out color theory as it relates to fine art. The practices of using tone and complementary colors to highlight the center of interest also translate into picture book illustration. The job of an artist is to lead the viewer’s eye around the art. As a picture book illustrator, you have to do that as well as lead the viewer out of the right hand page so they will turn the page. All this can be accomplished with thoughtful use of color.

And the last thing you have to keep in mind has to do with the final product, the printed piece. The colors you use, whether you paint traditionally or digitally have to be reproducible. Pale yellows and blues in watercolor, while lovely, will most likely leach out in the scanning and reproduction processes. Those bright tones you see on the computer screen are RGB while the printing piece uses CMYK. Make sure the colors you choose will reproduce in the book the way you intended by avoiding non-printing colors.

So what’s holding you back? Go paint already!

Some suggested links:






Friday, May 13, 2011

Transcript: 5/12/11

TOPIC: Do you go traditional or digital for final art?

Digital vs. traditional chats are always fun, mainly because there's no "right" answer. Everyone has an opinion and tips to share on both sides. This chat was no exception: if you sift carefully through the transcript you'll find advice on the best paper for drawing and painting, creating custom brushes in Photoshop--and which coffee roast packs the most powerful punch of caffeine.


(Note: We're still working on the bugs in the new transcript service. Because of the more complicated formatting, some tweets are offset and appear above or below their authors' icons.)

#kidlitart 5-12-11

Monday, May 9, 2011

Transcript: 5/5/11

TOPIC: How do you develop and nurture your personal style?

So, the transcript difficulties continue--we were able to recover only the last half of this chat--but we think we have a system for ensuring that we get the entire chat next time. Stay tuned!

Oh, and for those of you keeping count: there is no transcript for the April 21 chat--that one's gone forever. :-(

#kidlitart 5-5-11

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Final art!

Having sweated through writing, editing, thumbnails, layouts and full-size sketches for your dummy, it's time for the hard part: producing samples of the final art that you envision for the book.

Opinions vary on how much final art to produce. I personally think two spreads is enough to let the art director or editor see how you handle the characters, and whether your style suits the tone of the text. If you submit much more than that, you run the risk of appearing to be too locked in to your original concept--keep in mind that once accepted by a publisher, your book will probably undergo many revisions, so it's best to demonstrate your flexibility and willingness to adapt early on.

But back to that "hardest part" comment: many illustrators, newcomers and veterans alike, find it extremely difficult to define themselves in terms of style. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who developed a signature style right away, but more likely you've struggled with this issue before. Those of us with backgrounds as freelancers sometimes get into the habit of suiting the client, and while it's great to be versatile, too much facility with different styles can make it harder to discern your own visual voice. Or sometimes you just get weary of a particular style, and have a hard time breaking out of the mold you've so carefully established for yourself.

Whatever your issues with style, they will all rise up to confront you at this stage, so be prepared to fight your way through. It's one thing to be a competent draftsman--now you've got to take your excellent blueprint of a sketch and clothe it so that it looks like you.

Join us at #kidlitart on Thursday, May 5, at 9 pm Eastern, to share how you've arrived at your own, unique style . . . or not.