L.A. SCBWI Conference Illustrator Intensive Highlights PART 1

My notes from the day: I remember stuff better when I take notes.
As I mentioned last week when I returned to Malaysia, the Illustrator Intensive at this year's L.A. SCBWI conference was an unforgettable experience.

It's always great to get a chance to hear artists talk about their work. But you're able to enter an entire other dimension when you get to see artists actually do their work. The day was bursting with interesting and delightful tidbits on how these legends of children's illustration do what they do.

I loved each and every presentation of the day and I loved seeing them all in a row too. No two people work exactly the same and it was fascinating to compare similarities and differences in such a short space of time.

I thought I'd share a few memorable moments from each presentation. And because the day was so rich, I think I'll stretch this into 2 blog posts. Stay tuned later in the week for PART 2.

The first presentation: 

-Paul shared many great details about how he works, the brushes he uses (cheap ones), the paints, how he does an under-painting, etc.

-My favorite thing he shared was during the Q & A at the end of the day though, when Paul answered a question about technique versus inspiration. He said artists often start detailed and tighter with their style and move toward a looser style as they mature, but he said that when he was younger he remembered looking at many artists' works who had done that and hoped that never happened to him. He never wanted to give up the more detailed fine work. Such an interesting insight behind his style.

The second presentation: 

 -To achieve the subtle and beautiful colors in her drawings she sometimes does dozens and dozens of washes with watercolor , building up colors really slowly.

-Often if something is wrong with a painting, she won't realize it's wrong until it's 100% finished. She will look at the piece and think, "Do I love it?" and if the answer is no, she then often starts over.

-She feels that it's essential to make the foundation of the book --the story, the drawings -- as best as they can be. The technique for painting doesn't matter if the foundation isn't strong.
 The third presentation:
- He uses many different types of media and loves to experiment. For the demonstration, he painted in egg tempura.

- He likes to play a lot with his work, he treats new projects like new adventures. He does small abstracts to practice and play. He finds that new mediums free him up. He said he has a throw-your-hat-over-the-fence attitude about new mediums. You just have to go for it, all in.

 - I was very inspired by his love of play in his work and how he tries new mediums. It reminded me of how I feel when I dive into a new travel adventure and learn a bit more about the world and life by letting go of the familiar.

- I also loved how he confessed that sometimes experiments are a total failure. But then he learns what doesn't work. That's how I feel about travel adventures too -- not every adventure turns out wonderfully, but you never get to reach beyond if you don't try. That's the way adventure works.

So you get a glimpse of the WOW I experienced during the illustrator intensive. And the highlights aren't even over yet!

Illustrator Intensive Highlights: TO BE CONTINUED (Probably Thursday)...

UPDATE (8/25/11): I added links to the artists' websites so anyone who is interested can easily check out their work or browse their books. Enjoy!