Abigail Halpin's - FINDING WILD

I rarely feature a book twice, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share Abigail Halpin's post about her method in creating FINDING WILD. So please give her a warm welcome...

by Abigail Halpin

     The very first thing that struck me about the manuscript for Finding Wild was just how wild it in fact was. The story felt immediate, spontaneous and organic, and going into the artwork, I knew I wanted to capture those qualities.
      For the book's artwork, I worked in a combination of watercolor, graphite and colored pencil, with some digital finishing. Watercolor can be delightfully unpredictable (just like nature), so it felt right for the story. I added in colored pencils to give some texture and roughness, to balance out the softness of the watercolors. And I finished each spread with some digital tweaking, a chance to nudge colors and values in the right direction. Stylistically, I like to create work that feels like a controlled chaos. I like pairing splotchy, paint bits with carefully rendered elements. I think life is a push and pull between the carefully orchestrated and the wild and free – something I try to bring to my art.
      I worked on the illustrations for FINDING WILD during the winter of 2015, one of the snowiest years on record in the northeast. Feeling color-starved and cold, the artwork allowed me to slip away into a green and growing world. It was very much “heart art” – which for me, is work that bubbles up from the very core of my being.
     I believe that work which pulls deeply from an illustrator's experiences and emotions has an authenticity that readers respond to. In keeping with that, I mined so many of my own memories and joys while illustrating FINDING WILD (and it's to Megan's credit that her story triggered so many wonderful recollections while reading). I drew scenes inspired by childhood camping trips up in the northern Maine woods and the cacti that grow near family in Texas. The city illustration near the end of the book is inspired by my first trip to New York City and walking the Brooklyn Bridge with my sister.

     In short, I tried to bring to the artwork the wonder and happiness that nature has brought me, in the many ways I've experienced it.
Watch a video on Abigail's method on YouTube (click the image):

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