Sunday, March 22, 2009

striking the balance

I endeavor to keep a fresh, impromptu quality to my illustrations. After so many revisions by the editor or author or designer, it is difficult to work a drawing over and over yet keep it from looking overworked and lifeless.

A balancing act; perfection and spontaneity. They were arguing about it 600 years ago in China.

Fu Shan:

"Calligraphy should rather be awkward than clever.
Rather ugly than pleasing.
Rather crumbled than suave.
Rather plain than assembled."

Friday, March 20, 2009

tail dragging

So much to do and I'm having trouble keeping bum in chair. Perhaps it is because I've been dragged away from one book for late revisions on a completed project. Like being snatched out of a moving roller coaster. I try to stay intuitive and emotional about my work, and it takes time and effort to get there and stay there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

in the works

Sat-on-her Day from the forthcoming 'Wonder Book', by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Friday, March 6, 2009

something new

I've taken on an exciting new project.

I will be illustrating a new work by Newbery Honor Author Gail Carson Levine entitled ‘This Is Just To Say’. The book is a collection of poems based on William Carlos Williams’ famous poem of the same name. My editor will be Rosemary Brosnan at HarperCollins. I'd like to thank my agent Steven Malk for being a superhero in disguise.

This one's going to be fun and a half to work on.

Monday, March 2, 2009


It is so very easy to add stuff.

It is far, far more difficult to take them away.

traveling thoughts

In the mid-eighties I spent more than a month traveling through parts of China. It was quite an eye-opening experience for a white mid-west middle-class suburban American young man to have. Exposed to a whole different kind of life.

China has a long and rich history. However, what I saw was the effect of decades of Communism. What struck me most was the absence of aesthetics. Everything was utilitarian. Nothing seemed made with love or caring. It felt like a defeated place. Only some subtle hints from the people I met gave me hope that every spark had not been stamped out by the Cultural Revolution.

I've wondered at times since what life would be like without art or artists. Imagine humans without an aesthetic gene. Bleak.

Maybe art IS the hot spark of humanity. What makes us human rather than animal.

Weird Monday morning musings. OK, back to work!