Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Drawing Children

at the recent SCBWI Illustration conference I attended we heard my friend Sherry talk about drawing children. Here is a couple of thoughts about her lecture from what I can remember and from my notes.

A Quick Overview On Drawing Children
Normally we say an adult is about eight heads tall.
A baby would be about four heads tall, and 12 year old about seven.

A four year old is about half the size of an adult and a 12 year old 3/4 the size.

of course these are all idealized proportions and they all depend on the person or character you are drawing.

Learning to Draw Children
The best way to to learn to draw children and teenagers is, of course, to look at real ones and draw them. When you do, look at what is different about each one not what is similar.

She mentioned that in her studies of different aged grade school kids the second graders were the most enthusiastic and excited about everything.

When you are drawing/designing a character or illustration ask yourself:
Have I left it alone and come back?
Have I lived with the character for a while?
Is this the best angle?
Is it a nice silhouette?
Is is well designed?
Do I like it?
Does my second grade self like it?

She also recommend James Gurney's blog. Which recommendation I second, having just now got sucked in reading this post.

It was fun to hear Sherry's talk and focus a little more on drawing children. We also had a chance to practice later on that day.

One kids sketch. See another here

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Prints and...

First of all I want to let you know that three new prints are available in my print shop.

Snow White

Next I have a quick note to say that from now on my posts are going to be on Wednesday. (hence here is one on Wednesday)

And C
I am introducing a new part to my blog that I want to call This has nothing to do with art. When you see that heading you can know that what follows will have nothing to do with art. It may have nothing to do with anything... I get to decide. yea. fun.

This has nothing to do with art

I watched this Tedtalk yesterday and really liked it. It has nothing to do with art but I admit that in a lot of way I can relate the ideas to being creative. I think it's worth a watch. (side note: I believe there is some swearing, you've been warned.)

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle. 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Note on Fairy Tales

Little Mermaid

I love fairy tales. I remember sitting down with my family every Sunday night to watch Shelly Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre on our pbs station.

My brother and I loved them. My favorite was the "Six Dancing Princesses" (I think because they had pretty dresses). But we all loved "The Princess Who Never Laughed" and "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers" We still quote them to this day.

("e=mc not squared" So. Funny.)

Anyway... I think Faerie Tale Theatre + Disney started my love for fairy tales.

In high school I loved going to the library and checking out books from the J398's I loved reading the fairy tales and looking at the beautiful illustrations.

Three of my favorite fairy tale illustrators happen to be: P.J. Lynch, Trina Hyman, and Lisbeth Zwerger (I think I've mentioned this before but it never hurts to do so again. :)

My art is heavily influenced by them.

Now when I need info about fairy tales I always go to It has so much fairy tale info I don't think I'll ever get sick of it. Here is the annotated Little Mermaid. On the site you can find not only text of the tale but illustrations, histories, similar tales across cultures and current retellings of the tales. It's so fabulous.

And just in case you were wondering, my current favorite is The Three Spinners , a tale similar to Rumpelstiltskin

What are some of your fairy tale memories. When was the first time you ever remember hearing a classic fairy tale?

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Thumbnail art 2: The actual thumbing part

Yep, you read right. This is another post about thumbnails. But really they are so important in the process. Here are some more thumbnails I did for my Snow-White eBook project.

As you can or maybe can't see these are just small sketches of the same scene over and over. This is the first scene in the book where the queen pricks her finger and wishes for a black red and white baby. (If you don't know what I'm talking about check it out here.)

The boxes with the x are where I plan for text to go in that particular scene. 

I'm still toying with the landscape or portrait question. I like the idea of it being like a movie (the comment Dashbo made last week) but there are also some neat things I can do with the tall format. In this case maybe an opening scene of the tall castle.

But maybe just a scene of the queen will work better. That is what the thumbnails are figuring out for me.

While I'm drawing these here is some of the stuff that is going through my head:
How much of the queen do I need to show?
Will it be better to open with just her? More of the castle, or try to get both?
Why is this one working better than that one?
Doing this book steam punk could be AWESOME!?
How can I do that and keep the fairytale still feeling fairytale-y?
Gees I'm going to have to brush up on my perspective to pull this off.
What kind of window is she by?
Why the heck does she have the window open in the middle of winter... Or is there snow in her house?

Some thoughts are useful. Some are well... not so much.

But, I can also get lame ideas out of my head with these little drawings. As you can see by the first frame with the super boring composition.

 I'll probably keep at this for a bit. Maybe with more than one scene in the book before I make any final decisions about how I'll do this scene. Which way to orient the book and how far steam punk to push it.

What do you guys think? What's the strongest? How do some of you artists work with thumbnails?

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.


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