Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 30, 2011

Illustrator Saturday – Sharon Vargo

Sharon Vargo has illustrated numerous books for children.  She is  author/illustrator of Señor Felipe’s Alphabet Adventure, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of 2002.  Her whimsical acrylic paintings have also appeared in magazines, textbooks, limited edition prints, and as murals.  

She has illustrated and written crafts and games for the well-known Highlights For Children Magazines, and has an original poem in Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology, Hamsters, Shells and Spelling Bees-School Poems published by HarperCollins.   Sharon is a long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators-SCBWI and is currently serving as Indiana’s Illustration Coordinator.  She is also a member of the Picture Book Artists Association- PBAA, an organization of professional children’s book illustrators from around the world.  Originally from Edison, NJ, she is a graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.   Sharon works from her quiet home studio, just north of Indianapolis, Indiana now that her four sons are grown.  

This past December I illustrated the cover for Highlights Magazine- http://www.highlights.com/highlights-magazines-for-kids?ccid=KNC-1042-1000605&source=google_magazine

The art titled Popcorn Tree was created traditionally in acrylics with touch-ups in Photoshop.

Here’s a close up of the Highlights cover art.

Through my career as a children’s book illustrator, I have worked traditionally with acrylics on Strathmore Bristle Board paper.  In the last five years I’ve been mixing mediums by adding Photoshop to traditionally painted art.  Recently, I’ve had a number of projects were I painted the art entirely in Photoshop.

Regardless of the technique, my creative process has remained the same and my first step is to begin with thumbnail sketches. Thumbnail sketches are reduced versions of the images.  I use these little ‘chicken-scratches’ to work out everything from my composition, character, colors and even text placement.  

I’m illustrating 2 spreads from Goldilocks and the Three Bears, for a SCBWI (illustrators intensive) conference.

I still worked out the entire book in thumbnails sketches.  From the thumbnails I selected the pages I would like to illustrate and then move to a full size sketches.

Through my career as a children’s book illustrator, I have worked traditionally with acrylics on Strathmore Bristle Board paper.  In the last five years I’ve been mixing mediums by adding Photoshop to traditionally painted art.  Recently, I’ve had a number of projects were I painted the art entirely in Photoshop. 

Regardless of the technique, my creative process has remained the same and my first step is to begin with thumbnail sketches. Thumbnail sketches are reduced versions of the images.  I use these little ‘chicken-scratches’ to work out everything from my composition, character, colors and even text placement.  

I’m illustrating 2 spreads from Goldilocks and the Three Bears, for a SCBWI (illustrators intensive) conference.
I still worked out the entire book in thumbnails sketches.  From the thumbnails I selected the pages I would like to illustrate and then move to a full size sketches.

I scanned the drawing and painted it in Photoshop using a Wacom Cintiq.  The cintiq is a tablet/screen that allows me to draw directly on the display surface.


On this spread Goldilocks is testing the hot porridge in Papa’s bowl and tasting the cold porridge in Mama bears bowl. 

With Photoshop the art is still workable in the final stages. I added a larger chair and Papa bears glass (not in the sketch) to illustrate the difference in size between Papa bear and Goldilocks. I connected the two single page illustrations by showing the table from the same vantage point. This perspective also allows me to feature the difference in size from Papa and Mama bear’s chairs.

Here is pages 30 and 31 … Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran away into the forest.

I enjoy jotting down my own stories and poems. Sometimes I create book dummies from these ideas. I began my writing and illustrating career when I could not find books for my youngest twin sons to enrich their Spanish class in elementary school.  In 2003 Señor Felipe’s Alphabet Adventure : El Alphabeto Espanol, was published by Millbrook Press (now apart of Lerner Publishing Group.) The book helps youngsters strengthen their Spanish vocabulary by following a clumsy reptile photographer, Felipe, on his mission to photograph objects that represent each letter of the Spanish alphabet.

The art for Señor Felipe was created traditionally. This original painting in acrylic measures 23 x14.

 

 

 

 

Sharon can not showcase current book projects until publication.  So I hope you will stop by her blog, News from the Studiofor updates at http://sharonvargo.blogspot.com websites at  http://www.sharonvargo.comhttp://tinyurl.com/sharonvargoci

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Great stuff, Sharon! I can see why you’re so successful! 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Donna

    Like

  2. I like how Sharon shows the transition from traditional to digital work. It’s confirmation that a computer doesn’t make an artist, but it can make a great artist faster and more effective.

    Like


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