CHRISTY: Immediately, I am drawn to the perspective used in both of these. The artist’s use of foreground/middle ground/background gives both of these illustrations an interesting dimension. More elements are revealed the longer the viewer looks at the image, which I really like.
This little mouse character is adorable (I like his hat!) and his subtle expressions are sweet. I think mice have less “finger-like” paws than he seems to have, and his feet/back paws are a little creepy, but it’s understood that he’s anthropomorphic, so it could work.
I have a few questions that may make these images a little more clear. One, is the caterpillar hiding behind that leaf? It appears as though the mouse can see him, given the look on his face, but the way the leaf is, it would block his view of the caterpillar. If the artist intended for the caterpillar to be hiding, than this is successful. My other thought is about the cocoon. Perhaps it could be detailed a little to differentiate itself from the tree? Or maybe some color added? It is in the foreground, and a major “character” in this little story – BUT, it’s getting overlooked and lost in all of the browns of the tree behind it. If there was a way to make it “pop” a little more, I’d suggest that. It took a second for my eye to realize what it was and what was happening.
CHRIS: These two images are generally very pleasing and effective to look at. They are clean and airy but with nice detail and sense of place and story unfolding. The’line/no line’ is done effectively which saves it from being solely ‘educational’ in style though I suspect it might be used by a more school driven publisher perhaps. I really love the fine, subtle colors in the flowers, and would love to see a bit more color and shading differentiation in the leaves (2nd image) that are close too…they really aren’t normally TOTALLY green even in spring. ;) Detail in the caterpillar is very well done. The branch, leaves and cocoon in the second one do not stand out as they would and should from the mouse and ground way beneath them. I’d advise the artist to bump the one and fade the other to better draw the eye where you want it. The cocoon is almost hard to see against the bark of the tree.
The main (?) character is very cute and anthropomorphic which lends a whimsy to the realistic views of the caterpillar which is fine. Both of these illustrations are more of the “presentation” composition…where the character is facing the audience/readership. This isn’t necessary…but it works well in these two images actually. I wouldn’t continue it unless the publisher requests that as it can get less interesting. I like the ‘breaking of the border’ effect as well for interest to the visual story. I’d certainly turn the pages to see what the mouse and his friend might be doing next!
Jessica Linn Evans always wanted to illustrate children’s books. After many years of graphic design and art direction, she is now pursuing her childhood dream. Jessica says, “I like to emphasize the wonder of the natural world in my work. My best friend Jeni asked me to illustrate the bed-time stories she told her kids when they were little. We’ve been working together on them ever since. The two above samples of the illustrations from an early version of the manuscript which is still a work in progress.”
Thank you Chris & Christy for taking the time to share their expertise with us. It helps so many illustrators and is very much appreciated. Here is the CATugeau Agency website link: http://www.catugeau.com/
CALL FOR ILLUSTRATORS: Remember I’m always looking for illustrations I can use with articles I post. Send to: Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com. Put ILLUSTRATION FOR BLOG in the subject area. Remember all illustration need to be 500 pixels wide. Include a blurb about yourself, too.