A New Space

20161012_115423

“Build it and they will come.”  It’s a famous line from the movie, “Field of Dreams”.

In my case, it’s a new area in my home where I can devote myself to writing my stories.  Until now, I have found myself scattered around in different places, trying to find the best atmosphere for my work.  My art studio, coffee shops, our little travel trailer, the library… but nothing seemed quite right.  I would find myself getting distracted.

One day I picked up a magazine called, Where Woman Create.  An artist told about her studio set ups, all THREE of them.  One studio is in her house, another is out in her backyard and a third is in her basement where she builds her frames for her paintings.  My mind went to a room in my house I affectionately call the YaYa room.  The closet is full of toys for our grandkids.  The sofa bed is ready for when they spend the night. BUT, mostly, the grandkids grab a toy and head for the family room. Basically, it is an unused space until now.

I went to Habitat for Humanity and purchased a door.  I set it on top of a file cabinet and another small table and painted it black. “Voila!”  a desk!  Oh… I did have to paint the walls too.  They were green, now gray!  I love the peaceful tone.  My sister gave me some lamps a couple of years ago.  I replaced the shades with these white ones.  The whole setting is magical.

I worked all day on a new story.  What fun!  A new place and a new grace.  Keep on creating!

Leslie Ann Clark

leslieaclark.com

Living in my Illustrations

img004.jpg

Being an illustrator is great fun.  Why?  Because you can use your imagination to go places you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done. For instance, I have always wanted a log cabin up in the mountains.  As a teen, I used to imagine having a studio up a flight of wooden steps to a big room. It would have rafter ceilings and a window seat for me to look out of.  It would be warm and cozy and I could sit and do my art all day long near a roaring fire in the wood stove.

When I began thinking of places for my character Burl the bear to live in, I made it just like “I” wanted it!  Warm and inviting!  When you walk through the doorway of my story, you will find a home that lives in my imagination. It will be a place that I love and I will revisit it many times as the story progresses. I must be passionate about what I draw or it becomes listless and boring. This process is what makes a story believable.

My experience tells me that children notice the tiniest of details.  I did a school visit after Peepsqueak was published by Harper Collins Publisher.  I read the book to the children and then we talked.  Through out the story there was another story going on in the book. It was a little tiny mouse who appeared on many of the pages.  The children did not miss it. They even commented on the mouse as I read to them.  I let them in on a little secret.  I named the mouse Elliot.  When I told them his name they all squealed with delight and pointed to the cutest little boy in their classroom who was named Elliot!   He was beaming.  Suddenly he became part of the story. He was so happy!

These are the things that make a story magical in the eyes of children and adults alike.  Its also why I continue creating images.  I love seeing characters develop.   I love finding their voices. .. what they are like… what they like to do.  It does not stop when I leave the studio.  I think about them all the time, until I finally know how they would react in any given situation. That way they become very believable creations and loved by all.

Stay posted,  Burl and Briley are growing on my heart daily.  I can hardly wait to illustrate the books that are in my mind!

Re-inventing Oneself

Funny words. It suggests that there was something wrong with the first invention something that needs fixing. I suppose that is true. When something isn’t working you should look for another way. You should fix the thing.

I began working on a new set of children’s books. I was hammering away at a story, trying to get something good down in order to illustrate it. Everything was flat. Nothing was working, nothing felt right. My characters were looking at me like I was crazy. They were all yawning! Try writing when your characters are shaking their heads!

It was then that I realized I was going about it all wrong. As an artist, I need to star with the art!!!! …the story would follow.

I sat with sketchbook in hand and began drawing little cartoons. One thing led to another and star was born! I will share more. This is a discovery for me. I will let you know how I make out in the days to follow!

For now, I’ll just keep sketching!

20130627-211756.jpg