Using References for Illustration
When I first became interested in illustration, I had the pleasure of meeting children’s book artist Holly Hannon (THE LITTLEST PAIR, THE LITTLEST FROG, JACK RABBIT AND THE BEAN STALK). I was working on a couple of projects at the time, and I met with Holly for help on improving them. It was then I learned that illustrators don’t have to come up with pictures from their "mind's eye”. Instead, they often use a photo or live reference on which to base their drawings.
This past fall, I had the pleasure of attending a conference for children’s writers and illustrators. Some of the meetings were taught by two wonderful children’s book artists,
When an attendee asked about using references, Karen and Consie also concurred -- a
of pictures is a very valuable tool.
For example, in drawing of the squirrel and the wheelbarrow above, I used several different references. I drew the squirrel from an actual photo of a squirrel. To get his arms and feet in the right position as well as the correct perspective of the wheelbarrow, I had my daughter push a wheelbarrow while I took her picture. For the acorns, I found a few acorns outside, then placed them on the table at different angles to get the various views of the acorns in the wheelbarrow. Put together, it made a nice illustration, all from real-life references.
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