Thursday, March 5, 2009

What I've Been Up To

Hi Everyone! I haven't posted in a while, so I thought I would write a little post to say "hello" to everyone who visits my little corner of the internet.

Moving into the new house has been going well. I can't stress how much I love my new studio. True, I have not have time to decorate the space, but it is so great to have a great big room and a great big desk completely devoted to my projects. Right now, it is an absolute mess, and I love it. I have reference material spread out everywhere! Mostly books on trains. I'm currently working on a picturebook for the Children's Museum of Indianapolis about their Reuben Wells steam engine. This has been very challenging. I've had to surround myself with a lot of historical references, and of course, hundreds of pictures of trains. The biggest challenge has been to anthropomorphize the trains. Since the main characters are the trains, it is very important that they can convey all sorts of human emotions while also keeping their distinct historical features. Finding the balance was difficult, but once I "found" the characters, it was very rewarding. I'm about half way through the spread sketches right now, and am really pleased with how the book is developing visually; I hope the client will feel the same.

I also just finished my image for my Picturebook 2010 advertisment page. My agent urged me to focus on 2 things while creating my image: 1) Do a night scene (since most of my portfolio shows daytime scenes) and 2) show both human characters and anthropomorphic animals (to show that I can do both). This past Decemeber, I had a carnival themed project. Some of the sketches were scrapped, and so I took the ferris wheel scene and expanded it into this new piece. The original reject-sketch had just one car with 2 children, and showed the carnival in the background during the day. For this new piece, I zoomed out to show more of the ferris wheel, and populated the cars with kids and animals. My favorite part was coming up with unique and fun animals. It was especially important that I choose colorful animals, so that they would stand out against a dark background. Although I painted the final art in watercolor, I ended up going back into the background to add some background details and atmosphere digitally. I am really pleased with the final piece, and feel that it showcases my artistic growth over the past year.
Also, that carnical theme project that I mentioned? It has been printed! You can see it at the Highmith/Upstart webiste. I always get a kick out of seeing my artwork in use as a final product. I really can't wait until later in the year when I can see the "Pass the Ball" book that I worked on in Dec-Feb, which should be out late in 2009. In the meantime, I have plenty of work with my new picturebook to keep me busy!