- December 21st, 2010
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Archive for the ‘THE GARBAGE BARGE’ Category
last week i was fortunate enough to be in NYC during the recently proclaimed ’illustration week’
it started off with a delightful lunch with Lee Wade, Anne Schwartz and Emily Seife, where i learned the children’s book industry mantra “It’s a bunny eat bunny world”
here is a shot of their building
i was asked to make a mark on the sketch wall they have on their floor, i wasnt very prepared but being the topic of motorcycles came up at lunch, i thought this guy could be a fun one to do. also on the wall J Otto Seibold, Elisha Cooper, among many others!
here is shot of the current titles wall at Random House
the sweet view of central park from my hotel before the ceremony/party at the NYTimes for the best illustrated books of the year. Thanks to Random House for treating me so well.
MOMA is always a favorite of mine, but this time i seemed to be drawn to the coat check tags, which are the same design that are used on dairy cattle tags from my childhood. oh and yeah Rodin rocks.
after MOMA i stopped by the Society of Illustrators for the 30th annual Original Art Show which showcases original art from recent children’s books.
here is the view from the Larchmont Hotel where i spent the rest of my week.
i had a wonderful Italian lunch with Chrystal, Paolo and Sophia at Le Zie on 7th Ave.
stopped by a few galleries in Chelsea, but was a bit more impressed with the sunset stroll on the HighLine.
was invited to the unofficial pre-party of the American Illustration book launch, the Buzelli’s are very gracious hosts! The American Illustration American Photography book launch party was a good time as well, got to catch up with lots of artists and friends i hadnt seen recently.
i didnt bring wine to the party, instead i brought their delightful dog ‘Sota’ a little something.
thanks to Chris Buzelli for those last two images.
i am happy to announce that HERE COMES THE GARBAGE BARGE was picked in the New York Times top 10 best illustrated children’s books of 2010!! you can see the official list here
the review for the Garbarge Barge is a bit ‘snarky’ (never thought this farmboy would have a need to use that term) but i will let everyone make up their own minds on Mrs. Schoemer’s thoughts…
i wanted to post a little bit more behind the scenes info on the book. in particular about the hand lettering that was done for the cover and for all the location names throughout the book. initially everyone wanted to find a way to integrate the visual style of vintage site-seeing postcards of days past.
in the end we went with a solution that complemented the complex illustrations without competing with the body copy of the book or the openness of the images. i hand lettered the location names with a map pen and Higgins ink on vellum to create the line art that was passed onto the designer Emily S. who keenly dropped in color to allow the lettering to fall right onto the page and complement the images and keep things visually appealing. here are a few close ups of the ink work. and i must admit there is something very satisfying feeling and hearing that pen nib drag across the surface of the paper.
The book was officially released last week on Feb 9th! you can pick up a copy of it wherever books are sold. as well as amazon.
here are a few of my daughters favorite pages.
getting right down to it the tugboat was one of the most intimidating things i have had to build recently. it was going to have to look good from all angles and viewpoints because it was going to be the other half of the main character. most of what i build it only meant to be seen from one viewpoint for a single illustration, so for the tugboat i needed to build it in the round and with an even finish on all of its surfaces. once i had the schematic drawings down and i was ready to build i was determined to build the boat out of only materials i had on hand in the studio, found objects and random bits of stuff that i seem to continuously attract. being that the book is about controlling the garbage you create i decided that if the tugboat was built out of junk that i would be doing my part to live up to the moral of the book.
here are a few close up shots of some details of the stuff that the tug is built with.
old furniture caster and pulley that stands in as a rope handling system that ties to the barge
showing the engine housing with old rubber tubes for the exhaust and i thought that yellow fuse looked good there
the railing is from a found wire screen and the edging under the railing is from used windshield wiper blades, the lifesavers are made from old rubber washers
salt encrusted windows
a view of the gauges inside the windows (one of those details never seen in the book)
an old Leviton light switch
here are the steps in the front of the ship. the bumpers on the tug are rubber tires kept from discarded toys, and they are hanging on old leather belts which were used to construct the sides of the ship.
the cables and ropes are made with old wiring i found while remolding my house a few years back.
as a bit of a side note: i was given a box of junk that was found by my uncle Jim while cleaning out the garage of his father, my grandfather who was known as Rusty. the 15lb box of bits of machinery, misc hardware that is always left over from projects and broken things that my grandfather was sure would come in handy someday sat in my garage for awhile because i wasnt sure how to sort all the pieces and parts. the day i started to build the tugboat i hauled the box up to the studio hoping to find some pieces that would ‘fit’ on the tug. once i started to really look at what was in there, it was clear as day to me that all of the stuff did, in fact, come in handy. here’s to you grandpa!
the next thing i needed to tackle was how to pull off an expressive Captain who goes from exuberant to angry to down right beaten up by countless rejections not to mention that it is just him and the garbage out on the open ocean. so i leaned on the old stop-motion animation technique of replacement animation. i created five heads that could be interchanged on one master body. i was able to categorize the captain’s many expressions into just five facial poses(expressions). first there is the neutral face which has a gentle smile/ smirk , second there is the open mouth exuberance, third is the jaw dropped expression of ‘oh no! it the mexican navy!’ forth is the teeth gritting scowl where he is about to blow his top and fifth is the face of a man that is beaten down and gasping for the last breath of fresh air. **(the ‘neutral’ face is not included in the following photo)
one little problem that arose in the midst of making the multiple heads was that his captain’s hat would need to fit each head and look good from any angle. after finding the right blue leather and about 3 hours of trial and error i got this little gem.
another small detail throughout the book is the captain’s constantly changing t-shirt, my favorite being the one with Mr. Yuck from the green poison control phone number sticker that we had on the center of our rotary phone dial in my childhood home.
after the landfill research, i dove into trying to figure out the color scheme for the book. keeping in mind that the story spans an entire summer and travels to several places, i wanted the color to help convey various times of day , attitudes, conflicts and most importantly to use color to show how the garbage gets worse and wears more heavily on the captain over time.
here is the colorstudy sheet with each spread being about 1.5″ tall. i like to keep all of them on the same page so i can see how the color flows thru the book as a whole as opposed to just working on each individual spread. i used watercolors and the small scale to help me work quickly and to hopefully not to overthink the color.
here are a few details of the colorstudy. with scribbles and notes in the margins. looking back at this i see that it was merely a starting point for the colors that as i worked on the finals, evolved into more complex color schemes but this initial study was constantly referred back to and use as the primary direction for the whole book.