Sunday, September 13, 2009

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

My little kids are grown and gone and I miss the annual spooky stuff at Halloween. However this year I get to use my almost dried up trick-or-treat creative juices. My friend and I are planning a bonfire (almost directly over the grave of her sweet, old dead horse) in a field next to a creepy forest. I'm definitely planning on glowing eyes in this forest. We are also going to require costumes and stories from the grown-up guests. And I am writing one of the scary stories... I think it will include a dead horse.

I'm also helping my favorite independent bookstore – Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, Washington, create a graveyard outside the store. Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” will inspire the decorations. The book is about Bod, just a normal boy, well, he would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts. It is a story for anyone who enjoys a good twisty scary story. ( The great thing is; if we do a good job, Mr. Gaiman may come visit this store. It's kind of a contest but such fun to imagine and create that it won’t feel like a contest.

Along with three other creative women, I am decorating a Garden Club lunch break in October. Each month the lovely ladies bring finger foods and decorate the table with beautiful bouquets of flowers. I’m planning something a bit darker this October. A long, somber table with cobwebs, bats and flickering candles and Dracula flavored vampire fare! This will not be your typical store-bought decor either, the theater set designer in me will 'play' it up right. Turtleneck sweaters are advised! Maybe I'll supply garlic necklaces for the squeamish!

All this may not fulfill my desire for the scary and weird at Halloween but it will help. My next blog will include some exclusive decorating ideas from my candy corn coated brain. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Knowing When to Stop...

The one rule in illustration which is unbreakable is “to know when to stop”. Many times, like today, I have created an illustration and gone one step too far and ruined it.

How do you know when to stop? When I write on my computer, I can hit ‘delete’ or change the location of a word or a phrase. When I draw or paint, I just don’t have a 'delete' brush or a 'change case' pencil available.

How do I know if the last swash is the last swash? I do know it must come from experience, confidence and skill. And those do not come without messing up occasionally.

So however tempting it is to add one last detail, I vow to let my picture rest for a day before declaring it done. I will make scans of the piece along the way and make Photoshop layers with all sketch additions. It may take a little longer to complete each piece but I will have an archive available for reference and "do-overs".