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The Merry Muddle

APRIL 10, 2013
I read an interview with Ryan O'Rourke yesterday. He's a children's book illustrator — among other things. He mentioned that working on children's books is akin to running a marathon and that doing editorial illustration is more like a sprint. I would agree. I'm currently working on two picture books and I only have a lot of sketches, tests, and jabs 'n stabs on the cutting room floor. Some days it's like having a sword fight or a game of tag with an invisible friend at the bottom of a swimming pool of molasses. I head over to a coffee shop to sneak up on myself and hammer out a new outline and thumbnails but soon enough, I have to confront the molasses of doubt again as I hopefully catch a glimpses of the faraway finish line. This is my life right now.
Regardless, my inclination and extensive training in fine arts (BA painting & printmaking, MFA sculpture) compel me to make Art as constantly as I can (currently in a series of sketchbooks). I really believe that the resulting accretion of images will someday amount to an artistic life lived without too many apologies. So, while Illustration right now seems to require wandering into the lairs of personal demons and even procrastinating with well-intentioned diversions, the payoff (of sorts) is that my anxiety and doubt breed the egotistic introspection to make Art that I can live with (and others may find interesting or inspiring some day). And it occurs to me, in looking at a few items from the past month, that this personal work (examples below) looks like children's book Illustration – with a dash of editorial illustration thrown on top. I guess it stands to reason. Onward then!
PS: in this time of year with so many transitions for those dear to us, consider for whom the bell tolls and be grateful for the freedom you have to make Art (and even blog about it) --I think this is just about the ultimate form of liberty one can manage in the fog of our relative comfort.
April 4, 2013 (blogged here) pencil, colored pencil, ink
March 31, 2013 Easter Sunday "Wolf Harried by Birds", watercolor, colored pencil
April 1, 2013 "Mad Bird, Sad Bird", mixed media
February 27, 2013 "Introspection", collage, watercolor
March 28, 2013 "Empty Planet", mixed media
April 1, 2013 "Nothing Biting", watercolor, charcoal, crayon, acrylic, ink