Monday, November 11, 2013

Three Scenes from My Life with Percy: Done in a Paul Brown style

Yesterday, I challenged myself to do some drawings in a mid-20th century pen & ink style. Before starting, I took a close look at the works of Paul Brown (1893-1958). Brown was a respected children’s illustrator, well-known for his horse art. Brown’s line work is typical of the time. accurate but fast, with most of his lines being gestural, rather than decorative. The sparseness of his line work typifies the black & white illustration and advertising art of the 1930’s through 1960’s - very “modern” and streamlined.

from what I can tell, Brown preferred a brush to a pen for his ink drawings. This is clear to me from the variation of line widths and the types of marks he used in his drawings. His people tended to be pretty generic, but his horses and ponies showed great character. 
Horse illustration by Paul Brown
I decided to treat my drawings as if part of a children’s book called, “My Life with Percy.” All are done in brush and ink. True to the style, I left the people generic, and made my colorful horse the star of the drawings.Ultimately, I tinted them to make them look like they were from an old children's book.
My Life with Percy: Dad visits and brings a bag of apples.

My Life with Percy: Ayla takes Percy for a ride.

My Life with Percy: Percy and I go to a dressage clinic and are stars.
Having started the illustrations for "My Life with Percy," I suppose I should consider actually writing the book. Might be fun, at that. *chuckle*

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On Understanding the Works of Other Artists

A Thelwell cartoon I chose to study

My freehand copy, made with an eye towards understanding Thelwell's line work.

One of the most challenging things about drawing or painting in another artist's style, is finding the correct rhythm of the artwork. For example, I am very well-versed in pen & ink. However, every masterful artist does a pen & ink drawing a little bit differently. In order to study the work of another artist, one must try to understand how they placed their lines and other marks on the page. It's an interesting challenge, and greatly expanding of your skill set. By expanding your artistic viewpoint you can also enhance your artistic voice, making it more educated and facile. At least, that's the way it works for me. ;-)

Friday, November 8, 2013

On Chapter Titles

The Doctor delights in reading a book in "The Angels Take Manhattan"
The Doctor: Your book. Which you haven't written yet. So we can't read!
River: I see. I don't like the cover much.
Amy: But if River's going to write that book she'd make it useful, yeah?
River: Well I'll certainly try. But we can't read ahead, it's too dangerous.
Amy: I know, but there must be something we can look at.
The Doctor: What, a page of handy hints? Previews, spoiler-free.
Amy: Chapter titles
(The Doctor scans the page of chapter titles - Chapter 9, Calling the Doctor, Chapter 10, The Roman in the Cellar, Chapter 11, Death at Winter Quay.)
The Doctor: He's in the cellar…

I had to chuckle when I heard this bit of dialog from the Doctor Who episode, “The Angels Take Manhattan.” This is exactly how I think of chapter titles - as spoiler-free book teasers.

Here are a couple of chapter titles from my new novel to wet your appetite:

A Midnight Rendezvous
Warlords at Dinner
Electrical Madness
Burglary by Night

Do they sound intriguing? Do they make you want to find out more? 

If so, then they’re doing their job well. 

I believe that a book’s table of contents should act as kind of a literary appetizer. An imaginative aperitif to wet your appetite for the main course, the story itself.