March 10, 2016

Little Birds

My graphic designer and good friend recently wrote a series of remarkable children’s stories.  We toyed with the idea of having me illustrate them, which I will probably do at some point.  This was generous of her because most publishers of children’s books have their own in house illustrations with whom they contract to illustrate their manuscripts.  But my friend was familiar with my work and felt that it dovetailed so well with her literature that she was willing to forego some protocol and take a risk with publishers on making her own preferences known.
I was in the midst of preparing the final illustrations for a very long book of my own poetry and at the beginning of a new series of wild and wooly big drawings.  But I did find the time to look through my notebooks of drawings that I had made at a natural history museum in Scotland some time ago.   I recalled that some of the drawings I had made of their specimens of birds might be applicable to the stories my friend wrote.  I found these and revised them into more complete illustrations.  Instead of having the birds awkwardly propped up on specimen stands, I added twigs and branches to make them a little more lively.  Before filling in the backgrounds, I scanned just the subject so that if they are eventually used in a publication there will be more flexibility in formatting.
The finished products with the backgrounds filled in were a slight departure from my decorative, imaginary illustrations as they were based on actual birds.  They were also not in the format that my friend will eventually need: 5" x 7" portrait style.  These ended up being 4" x 6" landscape. No bother.  They served as examples.  And so I posted them on my Etsy site for sale while granting my friend permission to use them.

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