Friday, July 29, 2011

New York Plein Air Sketches

Part 1 of this sketch - drawing done in NY

Part 2 of this sketch - painting done in the studio

There was obviously a lot of down time in between appointments. Even though it was awfully hot, I still wanted to sketch in NY as it has so much material. First I came to Central Park and started sketching horses and carriages. I was so fascinated with horses and lost track of time sketching. I wanted to sketch different scenes in NY, but got stuck with horses. Anyway how often do you have live horse model to sketch?

Then I only have a little time left to sketch several buildings. While I was sketching a building, two teenagers stopped by and I got a "compliment": Wow! it is so detailed! I mean really detailed. You are good. Can you draw me for twenty bucks?" I guess I should have used the opportunity to sketch, but it was so hot and I was exhausted and I just wanted to finish the drawing and go. Anyway, next time I'll do it.

Networking in New York with Children's Book Publishers


Last week I made another trip to New York to network. All the three days that I was there were oppressively hot, but it didn't dampen my enthusiasm and excitement. I mostly came for Networking Dinners with editors and agents organized by NJ SCBWI. The dinners were a fantastic opportunity to meet editors and agents personally and have a chance to make a connection and let them see the person behind the work.

I'm very grateful to Kathy Temean for all the events. She is truly the biggest advocate for emerging writers and illustrators and really cares about their success and careers.
While I was in NY for three days, I decided to really make an effort to show my portfolio around. I dread making cold calls to set up appointments as I know that most art directors are really busy these days and prefer not to see your portfolio, as they can see it online. I, however, think it's absolutely necessary to meet them personally and show your work, hear their valuable feedback, let them see how you think and talk about your work and make a personal connection with the art director. Mentioning the Tomie dePaola Award also gets some interest and I can't believe how much weight this award has.

Several art directors expressed sadness that portfolio reviews are thing of the past, as it always fun for them to see artists in person too. I noticed that people that I met before through networking or the ones that I had some ongoing conversation through new samples or emails were much more likely to set up an appointment or look at my website. Networking is crucial. Even if an art director couldn't see me personally, the phone call or email was very helpful as many did look at my website and got back to me with some comments.

Overall, my portfolio received a really good response, especially the new character studies. The piglet character was a hit. It's so good to see that my portfolio is so much stronger than it was last spring (I attribute it to my stubbornness and constant desire to get better) and that it gets a very different response this time around.

I'm so grateful to all the art directors or editors who took the time from their busy schedules to see me or answer my call or an email. It's so important to hear the feedback and encouragement and advice.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Plein Air Sketches


The guy in suspenders made this painting. He was priceless. When I started painting the scene, he wasn't there, but then - boom, awesome. Just what I needed.

What I like about plein air sketching is the lack of control; your arm is hanging, the wrist is uncomfortable, the colors are getting a little muddy because you can't change the water too often, you don't have have a stable surface and you are trying to balance the sketchbook, paints and water on you lap. At the same time you are forced to be spontaneous, think fast, make decisions and just draw and paint without paying attention to details. You posture is uncomfortable, people are bugging you once in a while, and you just paint, trying to capture what you see or maybe even what you don't see, but it really doesn't matter. It's just exciting to sketch outside and a different kind of experience and you just go with it without worrying about final results.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Figure Drawing


Most of the poses are 5-15 minutes. Even though I really like working in ink, I decided to step away from ink and use watercolor pencil. At this point it's more important for me to develop my drawing skills even further and try to accurately portray the figure. Ink is fun, but it's more for lose, gestural effects. It's good to notice that I draw much much faster than before and able to pay attention to the head, hands and feet. It's proof that it has nothing to do with talent, just the amount of time you put into drawing practice.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Commission: Interior Design Paintings


Several months ago I worked on paintings of rooms for the Interior Design firm My Interior Design Center. Check out their website! My paintings are in the Be Inspired section.
The client's website is up and running, and I'm happy to finally share the results of my work. Never in a million years did I think I would have this assignment, but I unexpectedly enjoyed working on it. The clients were a real pleasure to work with - nice and friendly and professional all at the same time. The drawings of the rooms were given to me (thank god! I do not enjoy perspective drawings) and I did what I love doing the most, painting in watercolor and gouache. It was kind of fun to be given all these swatches of fabrics and photos of the furniture and try to create the room with all those objects/textures/patterns. It was good to take a break from illustration and just paint without thinking of composition, color, concept and all that good stuff. My main concern was to show the color and texture of the fabric and furniture in the most accurate way and still make the room look warm and inviting.