I’ve been thinking more seriously about actually working on an illustration portfolio for children’s books. Tonight, my daughter (who will be four in September) and I were working on some drawings together. She has been putting me to shame with hours of focused colouring this week, taking a whole page of a colouring book and colouring every inch of it in vibrant, dense pencil crayon.
Tonight, she spent about four solid hours either drawing, colouring, or practicing printing, barely pausing to wolf down her pizza and strawberry shortcake. After dinner, she wanted to draw an olden-days girl, so I suggested we go get some of her favourite books and try getting ideas from those. I ended up drawing several spreads from a few books for her to colour in. This is actually a great way for me to practice composition and style. We make a good team!
I was really inspired, upon closer inspection, by the book “The 3 Bears and Goldilocks” (https://www.amazon.ca/3-Bears-Goldilocks-Margaret-Willey/dp/1416924949), illustrated by Heather M. Solomon – it looked like the glorification of some of my earlier botched illustration style. It was collage and painting done really well. Very vibrant colours, very painterly – you barely notice the collaging at first.
On yesterday’s altered book pages, I had the phrase “she looked up eagerly, half hoping…” I wanted to use the surface, which was very roughly textured using coffee grinds, gesso, paint pigments from Rousillon, France, and some collage of old letters, as a backdrop to try something more fantastical like Alice in Wonderland actually is. I don’t think that’s the best base for trying to draw realistic illustrations! And my daughter’s reaction, “Is that me? Is she wearing sunglasses?” It’s great having someone around to keep me humble at the same as being so delightful!