Tag Archives: early reader

Re-Seussify Seuss Challenge

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In case you missed it, this week’s results for School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 Re-Seussify Seuss challenge were in, and they were pretty spectacular! The mission, as set forth by children’s lit guru Betsy Bird, was to draw a spread from a Dr. Seuss book, but in the style of ANOTHER famous picture book artist. I was inspired by the fun mash-up idea, and pulled off the image of Yertle The Turtle in the style of Arnold Lobel, above.

The idea for the image itself came to me pretty easily. It’s no surprise that I love drawing turtles, and Yertle The Turtle is a family favorite. The reptile vs. amphibian factor – Yertle crossed with Frog and Toad – was amusing to me as well. In particular, I wanted to try my hand at Arnold Lobel’s style. I thought the limited palette with textured graphite would be fun, and his characters and watercolors lend themselves easily to my own style. Plus, he’s a fellow Pratt alum!

I learned a lot about Arnold Lobel’s creative process from this video with his daughter, Adrianne Lobel.  She sought to replicate her father’s paintings when she colored Arnold Lobel’s unfinished The Frogs and Toads All Sang:

I am very interested in Lobel’s use of color separations to make the Frog and Toad illustrations, and I wish I could find more on the subject. While Adrianne went with full-color in her recent interpretation, I wanted to imitate the 2-color (and black) separations by sticking to a green layer, a brown layer, and dark graphite.  I’m pleased with the result and think it was rather successful, if I do say so myself.

Now go check out Betsy’s post for the other mind-blowing creative Re-Seussification mash-ups!

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The Great Turtle Makeover

Revisions, revisions, revisions!  It has been a year since I worked on Ollie And Logger In The Deep Blue Sea, the early reader book that I illustrated (and my mother wrote) for my first semester senior project.  I love the story and feel good about the pacing of the sketches as a whole. But as I look back, I was deeply dissatisfied with a couple of things. The characters seemed awkward, stiff and bloated, their faces falling short of the natural cuteness I was going for. And on top of that, all the color work I did wasn’t working either. Try as I might last fall, I was not getting the lightness and fluidity of underwater scenes, and all the pieces look overworked.  That’s the hardest part about watercolor – knowing when to stop, because once you go too far there is no going back, just starting over.

Despite my self-criticisms, I am confident that we have something marketable with Ollie And Logger – it’s just a matter of revising.  So I spent my three-day weekend reworking the characters and the first color piece . . . and here are the results of the makeover!

Sneak Peek – Turtles Everywhere!

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Blog friends, take a first look!  Here are some sketches from my latest book project, senior thesis and first collaboration (of hopefully many!) with my madre (author Jennifer A. Ericsson) . . . Turtle and Logger!

Okay, well, the title in progress.  It’s gone from Turtle In Love to Turtle and Logger and the Not-A-Jelly… but we haven’t settled on one that works.  Any suggestions??

The book is an early reader, so with 48 pages, it’s longer than the average picture book, but is still full of easy language and bright pictures on every page.  Think: Henry and Mudge, Frog and Toad, and any book with an “Easy To Read” Level on it.

The story centers on Turtle (name suggestions??), a happy young sea turtle who loves the world around him, especially his dependable rock ledge.  But when he starts running into pieces of litter, and his hungry friend, Logger, almost chokes on one, the two turtles have to find a way to return the things to the land, where they belong!

Right now, I’m deep in sketch phase – I’ve got everything drawn out, but am trying to solve all the “issues” that came up.  My main issues are: 1) trying to get more sea, and less turtles, so that each page is new and exciting, and 2) to rework Logger so that, even though they are similar turtles, they look VERY different from each other.

Well . . . enjoy the sketches, and any help or suggestions would be appreciated!

-ABE