You are in for a real treat if you do not know about Crankies. I ordered a traveling Crankie from Louis Leger and took it to Alaska City Folk Arts Camp in Anchorage to make Crankies with young artists and musicians.
They are a type of moving panorama, a story put to song, an old homespun folk art made with paper or fabric that delights all ages.
As a book illustrator, I couldn’t wait to draw a story in one long continuous picture instead of individual pages.
Check out thecrankiefactory, a website by Sue Truman for a full description, history and gallery of Crankies!!
“I know what magic looks like. You see that magic and you want to be part of it again and again,” comes from our friend, Bill Dentzel, fifth generation carousel maker. Dentzel Carousel Company
This is the original watercolor for a brand new novel written by Matt McConville, a friend of mine, titled …It’s Just The Wind, Kind Of A Sailing Story. It takes a village to make a book, ask any author. I’m compiling a visual narrative of the evolution of this book’s cover design.
In the meantime…jump ahead to the Kindle cover.
The print version is just around the corner. Here’s a sneak preview.
The class was first come first served, free, and art supplies were provided with two hours of instruction! The assignment was fun and unexpected. We drew names from a hat to determine our subject matter – all based on Julie’s love of animals and sense of fun. The palette was limited making even more of a challenge. It was a lovely surprise to see the varied results produced with the same limits!
Our three colors were red, purple and white. Hmmm…I had already painted my canvas purple, so I was left with just red and white to paint a dragon. I began by painting in the red background to find the shape of the dragon – I wanted to fill the 10″ x 10″ plywood canvas. The painting of the dragon was a discovery each step of the way. His white spikes reminded me of sharp teeth, the red background was for his fire that he did not have as he hid behind his wing with only a puff of smoke.
Thank you Northwinds for this great program and thank you Julie for sharing your talents with acrylic paint. I learned a new technique in surface preparation that I can’t wait to try.
Read more about the summer series and see the next artist featured June 16 – http://northwindarts.org/news/wall/inspired-by-nature/
The first time I tried to illustrate the elusive northern lights, I used chalk pastel. I thought I could duplicate the ethereal softness by smearing and blending colors across a dark blue paper sky. I was looking for magic. I found it when I began experimenting with ordinary salt tossed into wet watercolor. I used that technique for Aurora, A Tale of the Northern Lights. Read more about the writing of Aurora.
For Northern Lights A-Z, I collaged hand painted papers. To create an inventory of colors for my palette, I used a variety of painting techniques including French Marbled paper, straw blowing, bubbles, saran wrap texture, plexiglass monotypes, splatter, wet on wet and of course the salt! See It Looks Like Rain, from a workshop taught at the public library in Sitka, Alaska.
The paintings in Northern Lights A-Z are special to me because of the times they represent in their making. Our family had just moved to Port Townsend, WA. We traveled cross country with all that we could stuff into two vehicles and one van towed behind with extension ladders tied to the top. We needed tools after all, we were going to build a house in the City of Dreams. Our first month was spent in a tent while we searched for a place to live. That first year we bought four lots and began to build our house. But before the dream house went up, two little buildings, (the sheds) were built which we promptly set up as studio, tool storage, cook house, and sleeping quarters. Yes, all of those things. The hand painted watercolor papers hung from clothes lines inside the studio shed amidst the hammock ropes. Swaying sheets of colors and sleeping children carefully intertwined as I made papers of every color for my palette.
He’s in love and he has met his match.
Coyote In Love now available in paperback with a free Teacher’s resource. Learn about coyotes, tracking, hear a real coyote sing, make stars to spin or to hang in your window and much more.
We saw this coyote sneaking across the field at dusk out on a 1,000 acre farm in Ellensburg, WA. As I tucked my kids into bed, I told them that the coyote had magical powers.
He did not pose a threat, he felt more like a mysterious visitor, an elusive presence. We made a game of trying to spot the mischievous trickster of legends.
Children’s Book Council is a nonprofit association dedicated to supporting and informing the industry and fostering literacy. Coyote in Love was chosen for their seasonal showcase of mystery and magic!
The Smartest Part of a Picture Book is the dummy! From the Storyboard where you explore and imagine, the dummy is where you really see the book. You problem-solve, you work things out, smartly. Holes in the story will appear as you turn pages and see the text next to the art. This is the place to resolve what you set out to do in the storyboard. I like to work small in this phase. In fact the book dummy for Coyote In Love was sewn together just like a miniature book. The editor was delighted, “Can we publish it as a tiny book?!” Luckily not, it became a high quality hard cover book.
The book dummy will help you think of the following tips each time you turn a page:
1) remember you are moving ahead in time
2) there is always a change of scene
3) change of pace (action gets more exciting toward the end)
4) a new character is introduced
5.) be sure tiny details or faces go into the gutter (the crease in the middle of a double spread)
To illustrate and write your own story is very, very rewarding. There is always a point in the process where your creative energies flow back and forth between the words and pictures. You have the freedom to change the pictures to match your words and vice-verse, not so when you illustrate someone’s manuscript. Then, your job is to bring something fresh to the story through your illustrations. You will end up creating a whole that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.
I always try to remember this great advice by a seasoned professional.
“The images in a picture book are the driving forces that tell the story. The words tell only what the pictures can’t.”-Dan Yaccarino/author/illustrator
read more about him:http://nccil.org/experience/artists/Yaccarino/index.htm
click to download the book dummy for Coyote In Love
Last winter, at the Alaska State Literacy Association conference, I presented a slide show to teachers about why we need fairy tales. But, why tell Alaskan fairy tales?
Even if you have not been to Alaska you understand that it is a place like no other. The people are as genuine as any you might meet, they are adventurous people living lives in an extraordinary place. If fairy tales happen once upon a time different from our own in a land far, far away, is that Alaska? Alaska is far, far away to most people and if we set the story in a long ago time, not only is the magic possible, but it is believable. Everyday occurrences in Alaska can seem like pure magic; the sky filling up with dancing colors, the earth shaking you in your sleep, great blue iced glaciers that creep along mountains, wind deserving of names like Willawaw, plants that tower over your head and blister your skin but only when the sun shines, temperatures that drop far below zero, wild animals as curious about you as you are to them, salmon so thick you can walk across their backs, darkness that comes early in the day and stays late in the morning, sunshine that keeps you awake all night, mosquitoes with a ferocity of hornets, light and atmosphere that can create a complete mirage called Fata Morgana…is this the stuff of fairy tales? Improbable events in fairy tales lead to a happy ending and really, don’t we all hope for a little magic in our lives?
Click to see the whole slide show, WHY FAIRY TALES
or just a few slides about WHY ALASKAN FAIRY TALES