New art for a new season

I spent a part of a hot day recently with pen and ink while a few African elephants drifting by.

A somewhat cooler local attraction, The National Toy and Miniature Museum, will reopen this weekend. This spring the museum commissioned me to draw introductory illustrations for some of the toy displays, as well as the furniture holding the displays. It will be quite a surprise to the pen and ink art all full-sized, interacting with artifacts and people.

Just in time for a new school year.

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 06:47PM by Registered CommenterLon Eric Craven | CommentsPost a Comment

A frigid start to a new year

The Christmas promotional for WendyLynn & Co. was based on "Walking in a Winter Wonderland," but at the time we began it we had no idea of the deep freeze most of the country was about to experience. The children are making the best of the situation, as are we all as we wait for the first hints of green.

Speaking of green....
When spring does come, a new nonfiction retelling of the life of St. Patrick will be into the hands of young readers. The Puzzles of St. Patrick: From Slave to Saint, by Ellen Cook Nibali (Fairland Books, 2014) follows her book on the life of St. Nicholas. The story is taken from St. Patrick's own writings, and the illustrations follow him from the depths of slavery to the final realization of his mission and purpose.

Posted on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 10:22AM by Registered CommenterLon Eric Craven | CommentsPost a Comment

Trust the paint....and the water...and the pen....and the brush.

The watercolor and ink projects I'm engaged in now set my mind reeling to my old teachers and mentors from college and from my art teachers in China. Trust issues seem to be the common thread.

First, my illustration teacher encouraged me to draw with ink 'without a net,' or rather, without mapping out the drawing in pencil first. Difficult on deadline in children's illustration, but his point is well taken. The lines are fresher and the storytelling is lively....although I'm sure he could have said it better, God rest his soul.

A workshop he hosted with a well-known watercolor artist showed us the importance of letting the pigment wander into its places, creating unexpected values and color combinations. It means letting go a little bit. Again.

The Chinese calligraphers and flower/bird and mountain/tree landscape painters encouraged the use of the brush held back near the end, with most of the movement in the elbow. Also, they agreed that the pigment should wander through the prepared wet areas without being overly controlled.

Enter deadlines. All the insight and experience that they shared served those mentors well, and I'm thankful to have taken in some of their advice and direction so that it might be visible in my work....and so that I might be able to share it with my own students. Deadlines add another dimension. "Keep moving." they say, and know that the foundation laid by those thoughtful mentors is still there.

I only hope it shows in my work in some way.

Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 09:40PM by Registered CommenterLon Eric Craven | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Springing forward

Much of what is under way right now is brightened by the sunnier days and cool breezes. It's rarely felt busier, but I'm sure I've felt that before.

Posted on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 06:57PM by Registered CommenterLon Eric Craven | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Still teaching, drawing and painting

Spring is on the calendar, but there is snow falling outside on this wintry day.

A new book Christmas book is coming out in mid-April through Tate Publishing. It's called The Mystery of the Christmas Stars, by Carolyn Snelling. She and I wrote and illustrated a Christmas story for younger readers a few years back.

This one will be available in hardcover, softcover and kindle...any of which could fit inside a stocking.

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 11:49AM by Registered CommenterLon Eric Craven | CommentsPost a Comment