Monday, April 28, 2014

Do you have to be the same race to draw children of diversity?

 A photo from google images that I used for reference,
not to exactly copy, but to get ideas for the look of Jamilla, the main character in a book I'm illustrating for the US Baha'i Publishing Trust.
Illustrations by Leona Hosack
Cover for Jamilla Does Not Want A Bat In Her House,
now in Square format!

Illustration by Leona Hosack for US Baha'i Publishing Trust
Jamilla reading a prayer for the bat!
A number of years ago, I went to a children's book conference at the University of Mass. with some friends. We got to see Tommy Di Palo (StregaNona, etc.) speak about his Italian-Irish family and how he based many of his books on his upbringing in that culture. 

One of the workshops I took that day was presented by the noted African-American children's book illustrator James Ransome. He showed slides of his work and discussed his method of illustration and especially how he used composition to compliment the action in his books! After the workshop I got to ask him a question I had because I was working on a children's book at the time that featured an African-American child. 

I asked about illustrating children from a different culture or race of your own. I had recently read an article saying that illustrates or writers should stay within their own race or culture in their artistic endeavors. In other words, since I'm white do I have the right to illustrate a child of color, and can I be accurate in doing so even if I am not of that race or culture?

He was very kind and encouraging and said that as long as you research your subject well, anyone should be able to write or illustrate any race or culture. He mentioned that he had created illustrations of white people and had always wanted to be very accurate in his portrayal! I was so grateful for that interchange and glad that I had had the chance to meet him!

Here's a quote by James Ransome stressing the need for illustrators of all races to create children's books that represent minorities!

Q. Do you feel there is a lack of books out there to show minority children images of themselves?
 "I think the industry is changing, but I think there's lots of room for more books about different kids. Usually, the burden is put on African-Americans or Hispanics or Asians to do books about themselves, so they can be represented. If an illustrator is doing a book, why not have some of the kid's friends be of different nationalities? So often, the burden of inclusion is dealt with only by minorities. It's not dealt with by white illustrators. Without it being written in the text, I would like to see more of that. I think that would help everyone. The responsibility is not just with minorities trying to depict minorities indifferent situations. Everyone should be trying to do it.

I also recently found an article and quote from an African- American mom turned picture book writer that mentions how important it is to show children of color in picture books! "Justice pon di Road really needed to make its way into the world. A recent Op Ed piece in the New York Times by Walter Dean Myers reaffirmed my decision to self publish.  Statistics show that, despite tremendous ethnic diversity in our country, only about six percent of the children’s books published each year feature children of color. Three percent of those books are about African Americans.  For me, it’s really important for black children to see themselves in a positive light.  I want them to know that their lives and stories matter.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Portrait of Adam and More!

Portraits by Leona Hosack
Portrait of my son Adam
My handsome son Adam.

The other night, taking a break from the children's book I'm working on, I did a portrait of my son Adam! Another sample for my Etsy shop.

 I chose to leave out the color on his hair and shirt- just to experiment! A way to highlight the face! This was done with graphite and watercolor pencils.  What do you think?
The theme this week at Illustration Friday is "Natural". I submitted a color sketch I did last year at a farmer's market in Dover, NH. I sketch all the time when I'm out, especially when I'm sitting at a concert or listening to a talk.

Sketching at a farmer's market

On the spot sketching- Deerfield Coffee House at Deerfield, NH
I sketched this (left) while listening to my friend "Poor Howard"
perform with Mike Rogers at a coffee house in  Deerfield, NH.   I was drawing from a ways away and he had a different guitar at the time! It was a great coffee house with                                                                                                                                                                 Happy Drawing!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Sketches For Jamilla book

Working on my sketches for Jamilla Does Not Want A Bat In Her House today! I've learned recently from my editor, that the format is going to be a square format rather than rectangular, and that the text will be on separate pages throughout the book.

So I am redoing my sketches, which is ok, since I originally went ahead with the format I choose rather than waiting to hear for sure. I had just wanted to get started!
.  I am still thinking about incorporating cut paper-collage borders throughout the book.Still not sure how to do it. Today my goal is get as many sketches redone in the new format as I can! Moving forward! Yahoo!
The bat flies in a figure eight!
 The bat swooping down over Jamilla's parent's heads-
 Jamilla hides in her room.

The bat comes back out during dinner!

This would be the last illustration- "We had to care for the bat..."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Silhouette Babies!

I just did a silhouette of a baby ordered through my Etsy shop. Thought I post here some of the babies I've done in silhouette over the past year! How do you make a baby's bald hairless head look cute and interesting in a silhouette?

A little hair here and there helps with the cuteness!

This is the model for the silhouette below. Can you tell?

This little three have a lot of hair!

This slhouette was done of the little girl in the photo below.

Bald and cute!

Monday, April 7, 2014

How I Illustrate a Children's Book/ My Latest Portrait!

Sketch for US Bahai Publishing Trust
Illustration for "Jamilla Does Not Want A Bat In Her House"

 Here are more sketches for "Jamilla Does Not Want A Bat in Her House" a book I'm illustrating for the US Baha'i Publishing Trust and written by Phyllis Ring. Getting ready to send these off to the publisher. I'm trying to decide what to do for the borders. I want to experiment with collage and maybe throw in some silhouettes of bats and other things. The larger illustrations will be done in watercolor. It's interesting because in each page the text asks for more action that can be fit in the illustration along with text, so I'm showing some of the action in the borders! Challenging and fun!

Sketch for US Bahai Publishing Trust/ Bellwood Press.

Sketch for Phyllis Ring's Book
"Jamilla Does Not Want A Bat In Her House"

My latest commissioned work-
a graphite portrait with words arranged halo-like around the subject's head.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mandalas for meditation!

I'm getting ready to do a little presentation on Mandalas and how to use them in your own personal meditation experience. I'll be doing this at Green Acre Baha'i school this coming weekend! I love adding words and bits of prayers to mine. It's really just doodling!

I liked the video below and how it tells you how to grow a mandala from the inside out. Very nice and easy to follow. You don't have to be an artist to use mandalas as a meditation tool! What fun- try it!

Kamal's Day and Babysitter Blues make great Ayyam-i-ha gifts!

Kamal's Day and Babysitter Blues make great gifts!

SO grateful that I have two books that I've written and illustrated available on line NOW!  A picture book for the young ones and a ch...