Monday, September 13, 2010

Leaving Something to the Imagination

Admitting myself to interviews is another way of getting to know myself more through introspection. I learn new things about myself and my profession along the way.

An interesting question came up recently had me reflecting about my processes in illustrating children's books. I ponder if I'm going too far interpreting abstract concepts or the viewer has just given up stretching their imagination.

It was a query about literal interpretation and felt I was on a hot seat. "Why were the words illustrated differently?" The question grilled me because I had to explain it in the most simple way, in spite of grappling with words. 

Like every artist/illustrator who's used to visual expression, to articulate your ideas verbally is a dreaded job. But in this information age, writing is a required skill. I opened this blog to practice my writing, as I learned that the only way to practice writing is to simply write. 

So I began remembering how I illustrated the story and fortunately came up with interesting explanations. Here's what I had to say for a page in my children's book, Tight Times, on why I usually illustrate differently from the way it was described:

"In a very technical explanation, depicting an entire sequences of a single, 'moving' scene in the words/texts can be limiting on a single page. Imagine an animated cartoon or movie--through movement and frames upon frames, every scene can be captured. On print or book however, you can only capture a single, 'freezed' frame of the most dramatic, creative, and interesting part of that 'moving' scene so that you can engage the reader to draw further within the story and stretch their imagination.

In the story, I wanted to portray the main character (the kid speaking) as a smart, creative, and sweet young person (in this case, an anthropomorphized mouse). As you observe in the entire book, creativity is the thematic key I used to illustrate and interpret the words/texts in the most 'unconventional' way without staying away much from the literal meaning. The traditional way of illustrating is being literal, my personal view of creating progressive illustrations is to go beyond the literal. Having said that, I illustrated the main character for that particular scene as if he didn't only drew pictures of her mother as read in the texts, but also creatively constructed a one-of-a-kind giant card/frame for her. By depicting this, I hope that the reader can tap on their boundless imaginative mind on what was happening in that moment while there could be lots of other 'moving' scenes going on."

Sometimes, I forget that I'm illustrating for a particular audience: of what we call pure critics disguising as kids. But I hope they can learn so much about art and illustration, young as they are, than merely get amused by them. 

If you are interested to know more about my processes in illustrating children's books, so that you can make the most of reading with children, there are a couple of interesting interviews we've made here:


hello my name is pergy said...

love your workspace area and the interview of course :)

zeus bascon said...

leaving some thoughts for the mind and not spoonfeeding..galing serj!