Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pequot Library Children's Picture Book Festival

This weekend I attended the Pequot Library's first Picture Book Festival (in Southport, Connecticut) as one of the 14 invited children's picture book authors and illustrators, there to autograph books, and entertain the parents and children with readings and presentations. 

Steven Salerno signs his latest book, Pantaloon. It's the remake of the 1951 Golden Books classic, this version with all new illustrations by Steven. (Publisher: Random House Children's Books 2010)

Steven Salerno talking about his book Harry Hungry! (Publisher: Harcourt 2009)

author/illustrator Tad Hills signing his book
author Jennifer Berne signing her book
author/illustrator Brian Floca signs his book Moonshot
author/illustrator Tad Hills signing his books
author/illustrator Melissa Sweet
14 Award-winning Authors & Illustrators including the U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, Winners of the National Book Award, the Caldecott Honor Medal, the E.B. White Award, and more!

The participating authors and illustrators were:
Keith Bendis
Peter Brown
Brian Floca
Calef Brown
Tad Hills
Jennifer Berne
Mary Ann Hoberman
Patricia Hubbell
David Johnson
Barbara McClintock
Marc Tyler Nobleman
Bob Shea
Steven Salerno
Melissa Sweet

Susan Hood, the event organizer, had invited me to participate. We first worked together a handful of years ago when she was an editor at Nickelodeon's NICK JR magazine. As you can see from the above feature title pulled from the event program, there were some prominent artists and writers highlighting the roster of talent. I personally like the picture books of Calef Brown, so it was nice to be able to finally meet him and talk a bit. The sale of the autographed books, as well as some original picture book artworks, were to benefit the Pequot Library. 

From the Fairfield Patch:
Pequot Library's Children's Picture Book Festival on Sunday was a meeting of a mutual admiration society, as celebrated authors and illustrators met some of their most devoted fans in person. Fourteen bright stars in the firmament of children's contemporary picture books descended on the library about 11 a.m. They came to read their stories, draw, autograph their books, share their poetry, answer questions and stimulate the imaginations of dozens of young readers and soon-to-be-readers.To the 4- and 5-year old set, they might have been rock stars. 
You can read the full article from the Fairfield Patch here... http://fairfield.patch.com/articles/stars-of-childrens-literature-descend-on-pequot-library    

Monday, November 8, 2010

Character designs for animation project... (maybe)

visit stevensalerno.com to view more character samples

See all my portfolio samples at stevensalerno.com
This project is currently being pitched to an animation company's corporate client. So, for the moment I will hold off on naming names... 

An NYC animation company recently stumbled across my illustration web site and one of the directors really liked my samples shown in the "simply done" section of my site... He called to explain they were creating a presentation to a client for the possibility of obtaining the project of several short animated segments involving the client's product/services promotions, and they needed a specific "look." The director thought my illustration style fit the look they needed. Based on his direction, and on a very short deadline, I provided several "key frame" illustration scenes involving a main character and many peripheral characters.... Posted here are a handful of the specific character types I created. These are considered sketches, though the final images will also be just simple black line and one wash of color as well... so these sketches look quite close to what the "final" art will look like. These sketches were created using just a black marker and black gouache with brush, then scanned and the color added digitally in Photoshop

So, now it is just wait and see if the client hires the animation company to produce the animated segments, and in turn I will be additionally engaged by the animation company to fine tune the character designs, involvement in the story boarding phase, and to create key action scene images etc...  I am busy with other children's book projects, but this potential animation character design project seems like a fun one, so if it becomes a reality, it would be fun to take some time to away from my current projects to work on it with the producer and the animation company.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The New Tinker Bell (sort of...)

If you have read any of my earlier posts, you know that I enjoy doodling in general, but sometimes I get on tangents where I doodle characters as if I'm designing new creatures for a sci-fi film project, all just for my own entertainment. Click here to visit the new portfolio section on my illustration web site named other world sketches... which is a showcase for some of the "alien'" characters I have created. 

Usually I doodle while on the phone or watching TV. (I think doing something else at the same time you doodle helps to make the images freer and less inhibited, therefore more imaginative... a kind of brain auto-pilot mode.) Using a ball point pen (so no erasing or correcting can slow you down or halt the momentum) I just make a line, usually of some aspect of a face, like the ridge of a nose, or the profile line suggesting a head, and then just wing it, allowing each progressive mark suggesting the next move. But within the first handful of lines, one cannot help to have an opinion about what just materialized on the paper, so then you begin consciously directing and shaping the image with a loose goal in mind.

In the case of this image I drew her face, and few long stands flowing back from the side of her head, and it suggested a "fairy" to me.... so I purposely pushed the image, making her a kind of fairy-nymph, part woman, part insect... maybe the counterpart to Tinker Bell, but on another planet. I placed the character on a leaf for scale, suggesting she is just a handful of inches tall, and made her appear as if she is mysteriously levitating a small egg-like orb in front of her.