November Hedge a gram
As the first day of each month rolls around, I think about what I can
tell young artists and writers about my life as an illustrator. When I was
little I was curious about what it would be like to be an artist. That's why I
make a Hedge a gram for you each month.
I just came back from New York City, where my publisher, Penguin/Putnam is
located. I met with Margaret, my editor and Cecilia my art director about next
year's book, The Umbrella. I complete each year's book about 9 or 10 months
before it appears in bookstores, so I'm just finishing up on The Umbrella, even
though it won't be out until fall of 2004. The three of us looked at the 22
pages I've finished, and since we are all striving for something better we were
looking at ways to improve my illustrations. It's helpful for me to step back
and look at my book through other people's eyes. Sometimes, I stand my ground
and keep something in even though it might have an aspect that Margaret or
Cecilia doesn't like. Other times they point out something that I really knew
needed to be changed, but I was too lazy to do it. I like it the best though,
when they see something that slipped by. What a surprise!
You may have a similar relationship with your teachers. In fact, I think I
share the same challenges as kids do. I want to be open and learn, but I also
want to be free to experiment and use my imagination. Sometimes an idea will
come along that no one has thought of, and it takes time to catch on. I would
like to encourage all of you to use your imaginations and experiment with your
For The Umbrella, which is set in the rain forest of Costa Rica, I used a
very dark, small range of colors as the background, mostly green as you could
probably guess. Each painting is either in the shape of a leaf, or it has an
undulating wavy shape, and I've added all of the wonderful brightly colored
animals from the forest. I did this to balance all of the dark colors of the
rain forest foliage. I've never designed anything like this before and I got a
good feeling from trying something new.
I would get a very, very good feeling if you sat down and tried a new
approach or technique in your stories and artwork.
Your friend who loves to draw,