Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Illustrating Pippity Trimble

      The winter months are my "free time" to accomplish new ARTWORK and I am working on my new set of books. Since building  Trimble Manor, (a very important element for these books) I  now dive into illustration.

. Anyone creating a  book has their own way of doing things and I thought to show you my method of book creation.
        I begin with A STORY, naturally. But you'd be amazed at how often I am asked " DO you write the story first or do the artwork?" I am perplexed by this question, because, how do I know what to illustrate until I have a story??!!


In  this case, I have 3 stories, hence, 3 books. I have always made large books in the past, 12"x12". It requires so much time to do a 36 page book at that size, I feel overwhelmed at times. This is why I decided to create a set of small books, in the interim, at 24 pages and half the size. That doesn't mean I won't continue with larger books, I will, but they only come out every 2-3 years
  I must separate the text of my story into 24 pages, leaving enough room for the artwork, of course. When I am writing a story, I can SEE it come alive in my mind. I can imagine the illustrations for each page as I write;  my characters appearance, the landscape, the surroundings, all of it, I often have a clear vision of how things will look.  I  write notes to myself in the margins of the story as a reminder of things I wish to add to a picture.

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I don't make thumbnail sketches as many illustrator do, I go directly to my watercolor paper and begin a serious detailed drawing. I confess, that I erase a lot! If I do need a small sketch to work out a facial expression, or bodies position, I have a border along the side of my page that is convenient for such a purpose.


 I'm doing the original artwork on 8"x8" paper to accommodate all the details I wish to include, but will reduce the book size at another stage of production.
Of all the artwork I do, drawing in pencil will always be my favorite medium. I use a 140Lb cold press watercolor paper and draw directly upon it with a hard lead mechanical pencil. The pencil lead will not smear when I paint atop it.

Sometimes, the completed artwork is very close to what I imagined and sometimes it takes a turn, and becomes something more interesting...much to my surprise.
An example is the little wicker bench in the foreground which was an afterthought. It makes an appearance in several of the drawings now and will be helpful in telling the story along the way.

I take many photographs of the drawings as they progress from one stage to another; I like to keep a record of how the picture has changed along the way.
In this story, there are two characters. PIPPITY is the main character, and
            a Preying Mantis, is the other.

  I 've collected dozens of images of mice and preying mantis; photographs and paintings and illustrations. I will often refer to these to capture the proper stance or expression on a face.
With the tilt of the head, shape of the eyes and position of hands and feet, you can guess what  a little mouse may be thinking....

Or what is going on in the mind of a Preying Mantis.....


 Some drawings will take longer than others, especially if I have dozens and dozens of trifles to add to a picture.
 This page is FULL of Trifles... but you know how much I love those Trifles.
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The images I've shown you are just a few of those completed. 
I'm pleased with how quickly these drawings are coming along... I will  be painting them by the end of the month.
 You may remember the garden book I was working on last summer? The garden book goes hand in hand with these mouse stories. I hope to publish them at the same time.

See here!

So, back to my drawing board and sending you a virtual Valentine in the form of these marvelous, jaunty Jonquils pulled from our meadow.... In February!
 Cheers!

22 comments:

  1. Cheers to you Jeri!
    Thank you for the wonderful explanation of your process. Lovely drawings. Its exciting to see your books come together.

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    1. Thanks May, it's a pretty straightforward process, but we all approach it a bit differently.

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  2. Another little jewel of a story coming to life. It is interesting to see how you go about this.

    Thanks for sharing and Happy Valentine's Day ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Lorraine, It's always a thrill to start a new book, this one is especially fun/

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  3. Thanks for sharing. Love seeing the "in progress" work.

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    1. HI! Glad to see you here, I have to tell you how much I've loved using the twist you sent me in my other projects!

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  4. From illustrator to architect, from felted needle worker to elegant farm hand, you amaze this city woman over here......unbelievable.

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    1. Anita, I'm never bored, that's for certain!

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  5. Oh so much work. You are a good example of the idiom. do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.

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    1. Donna, When people tell me I have so much patience, I say, it doesn't require patience when You love what you are doing.

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  6. This is a fascinating peek into how you go about this complicated process. It's interesting to know that things pop up on their own in the illustrations and then later become incorporated into the story.

    I love your trifles as well. I just got a thank you note from the mother of the little boy that I bought your book for as a Christmas present. She remarked that she loved the illustrations and said that they were so full of things for her to ask him to find on the page and that it made the story more interactive for both the reader and the listener.

    I'm amazed at the jonquils in full bloom even though checking the temps for this coming week in Knoxville I was surprised to see that Monday will have a likely high of 73! Good thing I checked----we will be there for a memorial service on Monday and I was planning on bringing sweaters and at least a lightweight coat to wear. Well, I'm breaking out the lightweight springy things instead.

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    1. Vic, So nice to hear about the response from the book recipient, it's good to know that the trifles do not go unnoticed. With a really young child, you don't even need to read the words of the story, you can just talk about the pictures.
      I don't know if it got as high as 73 , and it's colder now.

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  7. What talent you have...and not afraid to use it! I am fascinated! Surely you can hardly wait to start adding color, and I can hardly wait to see it! Happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. It is always exciting to add the color, but kinda sad to lose the drawing...

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  8. Oh Jeri, how fun to read that you're writing a story that includes a praying mantis! As you know, I love all bugs and insects and it's just thrilling to see them come to life in your stories and art. I can hardly wait!

    I picked "March flowers" a few days ago - that's what my mom called jonquils when I was growing up, so it stuck with me. They say spring like no other flower to me. I put them in a wee crystal vase that my husband gave me for my desk at work years ago when I complained that I didn't have anything small or pretty for flowers on my desk. I smile every time I use this wee vase. Isn't it the most fun to receive an unexpected present?

    Hope your day goes well. Spring can't be far off!

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

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    1. Jimmie, I actually thought about you when I was drawing the Mantis, knowing you're affection for crawly-folk. It's a cute story, with many other bugs as well.
      Indeed, an unexpected gift came to me as my husband brought in that bouquet from the meadow!

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  9. Jeri,
    I am really looking forward to the continued progress, but I have to say that there is something special in a pencil illustration, at least to me.. I know when you pull out your watercolors magic will happen once again.
    Beautiful work, dear friend!
    fondly,
    Penny

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  10. I agree with you about pencil drawings Penny. It's almost a shame to lose them once the paint is applied. I always print them out before i paint, so that I have a record and remembrance of the original source.

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  11. My son and I love your blog and your books. We will be travelling to the Country Living Fair in June. Will you be there, and do you think any of your new stories will be published by then?

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    1. Charity, I am so happy you and your son are on-board with Hopalong Hollow! I'm afraid I won't be at the fair in June. We will be doing something else in Lebanon Tenn in April, maybe you can make it to the Watermelon Moon Plantation for the Spring Fling?

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  12. Dear Jeri,

    So fun to see another book coming along. Thank you for sharing the process!

    Love,

    Marqueta

    p.s. Happy late Valentine's to you, too!

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    1. Hi Marqueta, I hope your books are doing well! I'm happy to say I've only got 3 more drawings to go..

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