Russian Badgers

I’m pleased that the Lenape Chamber Ensemble again requested a fun drawing from me, for their Children’s Concert next spring. This concert will include music by Mozart, Widor and Prokofiev, played by world-class musicians who also teach the young audience about musical themes and the composers. I read a bit about Prokofiev’s life and thought the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow would provide some architectural interest in the background, since my last illustration for a concert was set in Venice for Vivaldi.

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I also discovered that Prokofiev was a noted chess player! I decided on badgers for this drawing’s main characters, and so drew a couple playing chess while others serenade them with flute, violin, viola, cello and piano, which are all featured in this concert.

Here is the sketch partially inked in – unfortunately had to change the pelican at right to a small bird, to fit in the word bubble.

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And the final all inked in – below. Should be a delightful March concert!

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Brownstone Illustration for a Children’s Book

Another Brooklyn scene in Chrysa Smith’s book The Upside-Down Gardener shows our main character Dory and her Mom, with some neighbors looking on as the little girl tosses her baseball on their way home. First the pencil sketch –

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and then the finished art, painted in acrylic paint washes –

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I’ll post more as we progress.

Brooklyn scene

I’m working on Chrysa Smith’s new children’s book The Upside-Down Gardener, and just finished painting the first spread, taking place in Brooklyn, NY – kind of an unlikely opening for a book about a garden, but that’s part of the point. I started with a pencil sketch, after much photo research into city scenery¬† –

 

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Our lead character is the little girl, Dory, emerging from the subway with her mom.  Here is the finished scene, minus the text, which will be dropped in later.

 

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I’ll be posting more scenes as the work progresses!

My cover art for a new children’s book

My friend. author Chrysa Smith, has penned a new book for children, with illustrations by me. Titled The Upside-Down Gardener, it takes us through a little girl’s first attempt at growing a garden in her Brooklyn, NY, backyard.

I started with a rough pencil sketch of the lead character Dory looking upside down at some of her flowers –

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And then after checking some photo reference I refined it to a more anatomically correct stance –

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We want the urban setting to be apparent, so I widened the view to show the backs of the rear buildings a bit –

 

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– and tomorrow I’ll post the full color finished art.

Venetian Bunnies

The Lenape Chamber Ensemble will again present a delightful concert for children in November, and I was asked to draw up a fun flyer advertising it.¬† The concert features world-class musicians who talk to the children about patterns and themes in the music, bits about the lives of the composers, and their specific instruments; and then they play snippets of the featured compositions (they play the full versions of these pieces for two adult concerts around the same weekend). Sometimes the musicians invite the children to get up and dance in whatever way the music makes them feel. I love going to these concerts to see the little preschoolers and elementary school children’s reactions to these glorious pieces of music!

This Children’s Concert will feature works by Leclair, Telemann, Couperin, and Vivaldi; I researched the pieces to be played and the composers, and found that Vivaldi (nicknamed the ‘red priest’ because he was indeed a cleric who inherited his family trait of red hair) was born in Venice. I’ve also been listening lately to Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta The Gondoliers, which takes places in Venice, so I decided to use that picturesque city as the backdrop for my illustration for this poster.

I researched pictures of gondolas and some landmarks in Venice, like the Rialto Bridge and the domed basilicas, and roughed out a pencil sketch of a little clutch of musical rabbits floating along in a canal –

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The layout of my flyers for the Lenape Children’s Concerts is always similar, as you can see from this one and this one – they like me to hand-letter the text, so I plan the drawing around where the words will fall. I traced this pencil sketch onto bond paper using my lightbox, and inked in all the details using Faber-Castell Pitt pens.

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I highly recommend the Lenape Chamber Ensemble concerts – both the children’s and the adult ones – the lovely auditorium at Delaware Valley University is just the perfect intimate size to enjoy these wonderful artists playing gorgeous music.

Sketch for a Designed Garden

I recently went through my Big File of Past Illustrations and came across some fun ones from before I had a blog, so herewith:

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I painted a number of designed gardens for Burpee Seeds in years past. They would give me a plan of the garden with flower areas plotted out, and supply photos of the mature flowers – they usually did not have a mature garden grown when they were starting the marketing. So I’d imagine the garden in full bloom, draw it in ink, scan that, then paint in some areas. The Art Director would check the sketch, suggest corrections, and give me the ok to paint the entire designed garden.