I haven't had time lately to work on this blog because I've been spending all of my time preparing for the upcoming SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference in New York. It has long been a dream of mine to illustrate a children's book. I realized that if I ever want this dream to come true, I need to start putting myself and my work out where it can be seen. So, even though it's rather expensive, I decided it might be a worthwhile investment to go to this conference. One of the deciding factors was that there is going to be an Illustrator's intensive day, where illustrators can participate in workshops and have their portfolios looked at by people in the publishing industry.
One of the pieces I've been working on for my portfolio is a scene from a children's story I wrote back in the mid 1980s. It was a story about an abandoned, overgrown garden inhabited by various animals. I'm planning on going back and revising the story, but in the meantime, I dug out from my flat files, a couple of watercolor/pastel illustrations that I did back when I first wrote the story. The paper on which these paintings were done has darkened over the years, and the pastels on the paintings have gotten smudged. In other words they look dingy and out of focus. These days I do almost all of my artwork digitally using Corel Painter XI, so I decided to redo one of these paintings on my computer.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
The stories were often adventures or folk tales, but there were even tales of super heroes and interpretations of classics like Cinderella and The Prince and the Pauper. The character in the upper left is from a story called "Prince of Gamma and the Sea Monster." According to the book, this story seems like a cross between "Superman" and "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea." Even though he looks somewhat villainous with his skull like face, the character of "Golden Bat," (lower left) was an early example of a super hero, his appearance in 1931 predates Superman.
During WWII the medium was also used for propaganda (kokusaku kamishibai). The image on the right is from a tale warning soldiers about the dangers of being captured by the Americans. In the book, this image has a caption describing the character as a "Red-faced Sadist." Even though the movie was made after WWII, this image reminds me of the character Alec Guinness played in "The Bridge on the River Kwai."
Below are some other images from the book showing illustrations used in kamishibai performances.