Sunday, March 13, 2011

How I Create an Illustration 2

Muriel Feldshuh was kind enough to invite me to participate, for a second time, in her traveling children's picture book artist quilt project. She sent a kit containing a lovely note, a blank square of muslin, packing, and a self addressed, stamped return envelope. How could I refuse?

The first muslin square I painted is in the red quilt above. Feldshuh's quilts exhibit in galleries throughout the United States.

For the new quilt, consisting of Brooklyn based illustrators, I chose an icon that both represents Brooklyn and my picture books. This is a sketch of a book cover test for MERMAIDS ON PARADE. The publisher thought it was "too old" for the age level of my book.
I still love this sketch and I've wanted to use it somewhere else. So, I did.

I work with a copy machine. I cut out extras and fixed some lines. Then copied again. There's my outline.

I copy once more, and experiment with paint on the paper first. I discovered my glitter nail polish made a quick drying sparkle over the paint. Yippie, no glitter mess.
Using a lightbox, I trace the mermaid's outline onto the muslin square with pencil. I lay down shapes of pure colors.

Now I add some details to the under layers of paint.

I add purple pen out line and carefully brush in the glitter. I do not want paint or glitter to spill onto the muslin outside the mermaid outline.

Remember to always ventilate while using the nail polish in large areas. I painted by an open window.

Finished art.

Mermaid Art : Copyright Melanie Hope Greenberg

Friday, March 11, 2011

Artists in My Book / *Sue Schmitt* Interview

Writer Sue Schmitt and I both attended the SCBWI National Conference in August 2005. It was my first time at this conference in Los Angeles and I was there on faculty. When I spotted Sue she was in a mermaid costume for the Saturday night Beach Bash party.

I had a picture book project idea brewing about the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. We took this photo for reference.

When I sold the book, Sue became the Mom character and appears in almost every scene.

Sue Schmitt is also a mother, children's musical theater producer, and philanthropist - she's passionate about helping children and families globally. Co-founder of an AIDS orphanage in Haiti, she has also traveled to China helping medically challenged orphans, and set up a birthing clinic in rural India. Sue's writing is inspired by local children with medical issues. Schmitt's first book, "Even Superheroes Get Diabetes" was created when a 3 year old neighbor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Sue kindly answered a few questions for the blog.

Q: If you had a mermaid name what would it be? 
SS: It would be Waverly Lumens.

Q: What do mermaids mean to you? 
SS: Mermaids, fairies, flying pigs, and happy endings inspire me, as do all things that seem impossible, fantastical, and magical.  I have tackled that which seems personally improbable if not impossible, such as singing in RENT on Broadway (I'm not much of a singer), running the LA Marathon (I'd never run more than a few miles), writing books (a childhood dream that always felt out of reach), and finding my own Prince Charming (despite quite a few frogs).  

Q: Why did you dress up as a mermaid at the SCBWI party? 
SS: The SCBWI party was a beach party theme. Mermaids are such beautiful and mythical creatures, and I thought that a children's book conference filled with authors who create such beings certainly needed one at the party. Plus, how often does one get the chance to be a mermaid?  Not enough in my opinion!

Q: What are you currently working on?
SS: I am finishing work on my second book, "The Princess and the Peanut".  It's a royally allergic fairytale, that grew out of compassion toward a friend's kindergartner with a severe peanut allergy. My newest project is "Even Pirates Get Leukemia". This book evolved after my daughter's playmate battled and won a fight against leukemia.

Thanks, Sue!

Art and Photo: Copyright Melanie Hope Greenberg 2005 and 2008