Sunday, December 23, 2012

Restricting the imagination can be freeing

After my last post I realized that I missed the necessary skills to continue illustrating my children's book and  enrolled in the Illustrating Children's Books Diploma course at the London Art College.

The most valuable lesson I learned from this course is that restriction can be freeing...

Having to follow the instructions of the assignments or sample briefs to the letter sounds very restrictive but it is also very freeing.

The course unleashed my imagination in a contained area, in the same way a wild mustang is put into a round pen to get used to becoming comfortable, responsive and in tune with its rider.
Thanks to these restrictions I was able to create pictures on paper that otherwise would just have been ideas floating aimlessly in my head.

The school didn't teach me how to become imaginative just like the Mustang can't be taught how to be a horse. As a young girl I had a vivid imagination and I could just never draw a normal horse. I had to turn it into a ballerina, add wings or clothes because I always was a dreamer. This course brought out my strengths and helped me improve my weaknesses, enabling to use my imagination in an effective way.

In a couple of months I will be graduating and feel that I have finally have found my artistic path.

This feeling of finding my way has been one of the most joyful experiences in my life.

Holiday Joy Watercolors on paper by Ursula "Ariannah" Brozovich

Therefore, I wish that 2013 will be the year for you to do what you love or find out what you want to do.

Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Difference between Fine Art and Illustration

Fine Art is the expression of the inner world of the artist and an interpretation of the outer world.

The ego of the artist sits in the driving seat. The art work shows something about the artist, how the artist feels, thinks and perceives the world. Since the ego plays an important role in creating Fine Art, this could explain the famous artistic temperaments and flamboyant behaviors of modern artists and artists from the past.  Fine artists (and I am not an exception) usually take critique very personally. This is because their sense of self is attached to their artwork. Every suggestion is seen as an invitation to defend or argue their art background, skills, mediums, style etc.

Himalayan Cat, Pastel on paper 2012

This portrait of our cat is an example of my Fine Art.
My intention was to paint her the way I see and know her, emphasizing her mysterious nature.
This work also says something
about my passion for revealing
what is unseen or taken for granted.
For example, the blue color of her
eyes is only visible in sunlight and
is very difficult to capture with a camera.

Illustration is the expression and translation of an idea or story.

The artist’s ego takes a back seat and the story is more important. The illustrator doesn’t express their own perception but converts the words of the writer, or an idea, into pictures. It requires humbleness and selflessness from the artist. An illustrator can be seen as a translator for the writer and he or she must produce accurate representations of the story.

Watercolor study of the characters
Here is our cat again, now playing a
role in my children’s book.
The main character cannot be
revealed yet until the book is published. 

This picture shows the visual
power of perspective. Yet, it is neither
helping the story moving forward
nor urging the viewer to turn the page,
to see what happens next.
Therefore it is not a good
illustration for this particular book.

As both the writer and illustrator, the biggest challenge for me is to solely focus on the story, letting it unfold by itself and leaving my ego out. It is tempting to use this book for showcasing my (fine) art or skills instead of telling a visual story with my illustrations.  But I am reminding myself that the story is my employer; children and their parents or care takers are my customers. The story is daily telling me what illustrations I need to create in order for the kids to understand and enjoy the picture book.
In the past I lacked the patience to paint the same character over and over again. That is because I approached illustrating as a fine artist. My mindset had to change first. It is no longer about me, my preferences, ideas or expectations. But, it is about allowing lovable creatures having their own feelings, thoughts, habits, struggles and dreams.

In a future post, I will reveal a couple of the real illustrations of my book. 

If you are a Fine Artist or Illustrator, feel free to leave a comment and share your art experiences.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bird paintings and nature: Red Tailed Hawk

Remember this sketch I made of a raptor last year in September?

The gorgeous majestic bird of prey that was the reason for selling our beloved chickens?

My suspicion that this was a Cooper's hawk on January 14 2012?

Today, January 17 2012, I am updating and correcting this information (in Italics).

I wasn't absolutely sure so I also sent the pictures to:

Amber Edwards 

Volunteer Coordinator-Raptor Rehabilitation Project

College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

Education Coordinator-Prairie Fork

She solved the mystery and identified the hawk as a Red Tailed Hawk. Thanks so much Amber! 

Apologies to my readers.

Yesterday, my husband spotted this Hawk in the tree in our backyard. I felt very special in the presence of this beautiful skilled hunter, who didn't seem to mind us taking his picture. However, he soon spotted something far more interesting and off he went...gracefully gliding through the air. The first time I saw him scooping up a squirrel, surprising both the squirrel and me, I had a mixed feeling of awe and horror. But this time I was allowed to just take in its beauty and appreciate nature at is best...