SKELETON FOR DINNER illustrated by Will Terry - GIVEAWAY!
I've been a long-time fan of Will Terry's work. I love his saturated colors, vibrant palettes and most of all, his wonderful light! I can also say Will is a fabulous speaker. Not all illustrators can teach what they do, but Will spoke at our 2013 Illustrators' Day and gave one of the best talks I've ever heard on illustrating children's books - both on method and the industry itself. So I'm thrilled to help Will celebrate the release of his newest title, a Halloween book - SKELETON FOR DINNER - written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by the marvelous Will. He dropped by my blog to talk about it...
Q. Will, have you done a few holiday-specific books. What's your favorite holiday? Are you happy to now have a Halloween book under your belt?
A. I've done one other Christmas book and just finished another Christmas book that should be out in a few weeks for this Christmas but this is my first Halloween picture book and I've wanted to do one for SOOO long!
Q. You obviously have a thing for frogs. They pop up in a lot of your books. In fact, Little Witch has one right there on her hat! So, what is it about frogs!?
A. Frogs are compact little slimers full of color and shiny surfaces - and I just love to include them when I can!
Q. What was your medium for this book and how did you get all those wonderful textures?
A. I've been using Photoshop for the past 3 years now and I get the texture by scanning an actual textured paper surface made with gel medium. Then I define the texture as a pattern in Photoshop and use the texture settings in the brush pallet to paint with texture digitally. Of course this means nothing if you don't use Photoshop - it's pure magic to me still - I can't believe how amazing the digital tools are today. My new love is my Cintiq monitor which is a pressure sensitive monitor I can draw and paint directly on. Amazing doesn't quite capture how I feel about this device!
Q. I've always been amazed by your use of light. This book is no exception with the Witch's fire and the moon. How do you approach light when you're first working on a piece?
A. I try to mimic certain aspects of the real world while exagerating some of them as well. For me having good color starts with defining light sources and designing them into the composition before color is even thought of. After my composition is working with value - good lights and darks - I can start to think about color. One of the main problems I see in my students work is the lack of a light source. If you don't know where the light is coming from you don't know where to put shadows. If you don't have shadows the elements in the image appear to float. If things are floating you lose spacial relationships and so on... You need to know where the light is coming from. Observation from life is a great start. Looking at how other artists solve value patterns is another very important step. Copying other artists work is the next step. Not copying to satisfy assignments but copying to improve your understanding of concept - just like we teach athletes to copy the moves (drills) of the "greats" that went before them.
Q. How long did it take for your style to develop? Did you do it consciously or did it just sort of happen?
A. It really just happened. I truly believe that style is an extension of years of practice. It's inside all of us waiting to get out. If you love drawing and spend thousands of hours doing it you will start to take on a style that others will recognize before you do.
Q. Can you share your path to publication with my readers?
A.Oh boy - I could write paragraphs on this one... Things are much different today than they were when I started over 20 years ago. I don't think my story would be much help today. I sent out post cards, had a rep, and published my work in Showcase and Workbook which aren't even around anymore. Today my advice is simple yet probably hard to justify without an hour long presentation. I think illustrators should do several things if they really want to have their work published.
1) Have an amazing aspect to your work. Either the art itself is hard to look away from because it's just so amazing. Or it's really hip - mine isn't hip but art directors seem to be looking for "hip". If you can't be hip combine your art with great original stories. In short something about your creations needs to be unforgettable to get the attention of art directors and editors.
2) Work on your own products and publish them yourself. Whether it's books, apps, ebooks, games, comics, graphic novels, etc. Don't be satisfied with "maybe"..."maybe we'll get back with you, maybe we'll work with you, maybe we'll publish your book, maybe we'll"....NO - the tools are in your hands right now. The cost of entry is extremely low. You can do it if you're committed.
3) Be visible online. If you're making gold but nobody knows you're selling gold - how will anyone buy your GOLD? Get on facebook and twitter...and pinterest, and start a blog. Don't have the time for all of that? Ummmm...that's where everyone is and if they like what you're doing they can't wait to share it with their friends. Advertising doesn't work like it used to. We've transcended traditional advertising - we're now in the connection age. Get connected or don't exist.
Q. I know you always have interesting things up your sleeve - tell us about some of the projects which inspire you right now.
A.Working on a story app with Rick Walton right now and should be out before Christmas. It's about a Gopher who builds a house that's way too big for his needs and the consequences that follow - sound familiar?
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. I'm also really excited about our new SVS online live and recorded classes for drawing, digital painting, children's books, etc. We've been selling out each class and our students have been very happy with our format - two teachers in the class challenging eachother and supporting eachother as we explain concepts and then having one-on-one follow up sessions and critiques. It's so rewarding to be able to dream up an idea and use online tools to bring it to life! http://schoolofvisualstorytelling.bigcartel.com/
Q. Thanks so much for stopping by, Will! And y'all do check out Will's links. He's one of the most brilliant instructors I know!
The publisher of SKELETON FOR DINNER, Albert Whitman, has kindly agreed to give away one free copy of the book to one of my lucky commenters. (Must live in the US or Canada to win.) The drawing will be in one week. Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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I'd love to share this with my first and second graders. Looks like a fun read-a-loud.
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