Studio Views: Tiny Pieces of Paint

Tools-h2brush

I grew up behind the Iron Curtain. There was a shortage of everything (freedom most of all) — and only one kind of paper, one kind of ink, one kind of paint. I was one happy artist when I became an illustrator in the U.S.A. So many materials! I settled on oil pastels, which I […]

Studio Views: Ticonderoga #2

Tools--Ticonderoga

My hands-down favorite medium would have to be graphite or lead, the core of a pencil, the material that makes the marks on paper. Lead makes the words, images, idle thoughts (doodles), specific information — crucial and otherwise — visible. With the lead from a pencil I can make thin delicate words and lines, bold […]

Studio Views: Pulp Painting

Tools--Bottle

Pulp painting is easy to demonstrate, but difficult to explain. But I’ll give it a go. Cotton rag fiber suspended in water (a wet, messy, colorful slurry) is poured through hand-cut stencils (made from foam meat trays) onto a screen (a window screen will do). The result—an image in handmade paper. The paper is the […]

Studio Views: Sharpie Markers to the Rescue

Tools--Sharpie

Markers for art were a happy surprise. I was a pre-marker child and learned to draw and color with crayons. Markers were for addressing packages. Until Best Friends Think Alike, I illustrated my picture books with watercolor and black ink in a technical pen. In designing each of my books, I try to match method […]

Studio Views: The Woodcutter’s Dance

Woodcutting tools

Blue. The cold rugged face of the Wintermaker is blue. So is the wide border. The duck and the tree branches are green and purple. The smoke from the wigwam is yellow and orange. To make this image come about, I make a woodcut. Each piece of wood will print only one color at a […]

Studio Views: Erasing Pictures

sv_cooper_kneadederaser

I was asked recently to describe the way I paint pictures for picture books. I was very surprised by this request because I thought that by now every soul in America had either read about, heard, or seen me and my amazing little art demonstration, in which I show exactly how I make the pictures […]

Studio Views: Paperies and Trash Cans

sv_sabuda_pearlsticker

I love paper. It doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as I can touch it. This causes my boyfriend no end of consternation. “Don’t touch that!” he’ll screech as I spot something sticking out of somebody’s trash container. “You don’t know where it’s been!” For me, it doesn’t matter where it’s been, as […]

Studio Views: Watching for Accidents

sv_meade_scissors

The boards of my studio floor are strewn with scraps of paper like so many flower petals let go from their stems following an abrupt wind. The eye of that wind storm is where I like to work. The discarded pieces of paper swirl to the floor and make a lovely mess around my feet, […]

Studio Views: My Favorite Medium

sv_meddaugh_2Bpencil

I asked Martha what her favorite medium was, and she said: “Medium-rare, although rare, medium, and well-done are all perfectly acceptable.” My favorite medium is the pencil. I love the pencil. It feels like a natural extension of my hand. I’m comfortable and confident with a pencil. But not just any pencil. My pencil is […]

Studio Views: Why I Use Oil Paints So Much

sv_zelinsky_paint

I like to think that the story I’m illustrating tells me what medium to use on it. And I have used quite a few materials over the years. But there does seem to be a preponderance of oil paints on the roster. Could this represent an actual preference on my part? I’ve had to sit […]