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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

Into the woods

This is part of WendyLynn & Co.'s spring promotion, the moment where the children hear a voice from inside the house.

I'm still trying to figure out if the white bird who led Hansel and Gretel to the house was in league with the witch, or was just trying to help the hungry kids...or was just hungry for a part of the house itself. - lec

Posted on Monday, April 2, 2012 at 09:52PM by Registered CommenterLon Eric Craven | CommentsPost a Comment

Spring teaching, illustrating

Life as a teacher and an illustrator presents new challenges in both roles every day. The spring term has begun, and winter's fury seems to have held off here in the Midwest for a bit.

Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 02:09PM by Registered CommenterLon Eric Craven | CommentsPost a Comment