About Me

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Indiana, United States
I have done pictures since I can remember. I took all the art classes in junior high and high school I could and naturally became an art major in college. I graduated with a BFA in art and writing and marry the two by writing and illustrating children's books.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A New Picture Book Contract Awarded

New Picture Book for Author/Illustrator Nathan Clement
For the few of you who are reading, I'm remiss in announcing that July 20, my editor from Boyds Mills Press emailed me to say they want to publish another book idea I proposed

"We'd love to publish Job Site, and propose that we do it under the terms of

the previous contract. I'll give you a call either later today or tomorrow.

I'm very excited about this. I think it will be a strong follow-up to Drive.

This is an idea that he himself suggested: "why not a book about a bulldozer." I took it and made it a book about construction equipment on a job site. Hence my title will be Job Site. This week, my main tech editor was at our house: my brother-in-law, Bob, who is a heavy equipment operator. Really, he's a crane operator. Since I don't seem to write about topics I actually know about, a tech editor is important. He had me reorder my storyboard to make a little more sense of what happens when on a job site.

My deadline is set for May 2010. I can only hope it will be in the Fall Catalog, but they don't commit to those things until they have project in hand.

This will follow the art medium (digital) and style of Drive.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Alone in the Topiary Garden Begins to Take Shape (pun intended)

I've finished the drawing for this illustration. I've tried to solve as many problems as possible at this stage rather than leaving it for the painting stage: light, perspective, objects in the background.
If this were going to become real published artwork, I see it as a full-page opposite a page of text. Probably not a cover, since I didn't leave any room for a title.
On to painting now. I'm going to try to project it onto my painting surface. We'll see....
Everything behind the girl (I'm calling her Cecelia) is actually a topiary form including the hedge wall with a scroll top and urn. Everything, except the Sinister Gardener (no offense JMH, the eternal mulcher), that is. I think I also want to add a real bird poking out of that pointy bush.

Before leaving this, I'll give you one of my problem-solving techniques: we are viewing this scene from below, which means a very low horizon line—like at Cecelia's waist. This makes us see the underneath side of the elements that are taller than she is and creates a sense of largeness and even foreboding. Also, the horizon is tipped, which seems to befuddle me while I'm drawing. So, I produced this guide which I taped behind my drawing to remind myself where the vanishing point for all these lines should be headed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Old King Cole Was a Merry Old Toad—I mean Soul

I finished this illustration, slated for my portfolio, yesterday. I had to wait for areas in the fiddles and crickets/grasshopper to dry some in order to add some detail.
So, to remind you of what's going on here, I tried to interpret this with animals, and for some reason, a toad came to mind. Also, when doing some research into the history of the nursery rhyme (at Wikipedia, nothing too in-depth), they suggested that in the era that this may have been written, pipe could have meant a recorder or flute as much as a smoking pipe. And, since he had called for his fiddlers three, it could have very well meant that OKC was making music too.
And, if I've chosen a toad for the main character, then what other creatures would fit? His servants, the fiddlers naturally seemed fitting as crickets and grasshoppers. Those insects make music in the real world, don't they? And, is this a friendly arrangement, or are they pressed into service....?
See the frog-in-waiting in the background? He's providing a selection of pipes here. And the bowl is brought in to the king, balanced on a snail's shell. This is a fairy tale world, mind you.
I'm going to send this out to some children's magazines.
As far as technique, this is a charcoal drawing (see the below post), with oil tinting over the top. Not sure if I'll continue in this vein. I returned to it after several years, but had the same trouble now as I did then: keeping things from looking muddy. I'll probably just go to straight oils. See the upcoming illustration: Alone in the Topiary Garden—under drawing coming in the next day or so.