Wednesday, February 29, 2012

...more new illustration images

I still continue to create illustrations in the same light, whimsical manner that art directors have come to know me by -when the assignment calls for such an approach. And still certainly I take a whimsical approach for most all the children's picture books I illustrate.... However lately I added a new portfolio section on my web site called "new stuff" specifically for showcasing a different stylistic approach for myself, which actually is kind of a nod back to my own illustration style I had back when I first started illustrating many years ago. (see earlier post on this same subject)

My new approach to making images is less polished, more obviously drawn rather than rendered. And is psychologically darker in mood as well as more realistically structured. Posted here are a few more new images of mine... take a look. 

All three of these images happen to be kind of unplanned doodles done with either ball point pen or a fine marker. As I am drawing the image I wet the surface of the paper with my fingers to get the ink to bleed and smudge to get a shaded/wash effect. Then I scan them into Photoshop and add a minimal tone, or wash, or add in a texture from a previous image.

If you visit my web site and look in the new stuff portfolio, you can see the recent cover illustration assignment I did for Harper's magazine which I executed in this new style approach of mine. You can also see an earlier post on the making of the cover assignment illustration image.

Visit to view all my portfolio samples.
The Circus Family   -visit

The Room   -visit
The Writer   -visit

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

BROTHERS AT BAT is a home run! (The reviews are coming in)

Posted here is the recent starred book review from Publishers Weekly as well as the book review from Horn Book -both on my latest illustrated children's picture book, Brothers At Bat (written by Audrey Vernick). Even though the age range for the book is indicated as "4 to 8" -it really should be suggested for kids from "4 to 94" because it's a unique heartfelt (true) story about a real family everyone will get engaged with, as well being as a slice of important American history. Take a look!   -Steve

cover of BROTHERS AT BAT -illustrated by Steven Salerno

opening scene from BROTHERS AT BAT

Publishers Weekly (a star review)

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team Audrey Vernick, illus. by Steven Salerno. Clarion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-547-38557-0 

“It sounds like a fairy tale: twelve baseball-playing brothers,” but it’s true. The 12 Acerra brothers from New Jersey played together on a semipro team formed in 1938, each brother with his own talents and style: “Charlie.... was a good player, but a terrible runner.” Vernick, who interviewed two of the brothers as part of her research, describes how one brother lost an eye when he was struck by a baseball and how six of the brothers served in WWII. Painted in a bright palette of greens, yellows, and blues, Salerno’s mixed-media illustrations, drawn and shaded in black crayon, are an immediate attention-getter, the thick, horizontal brushwork contributing to a strong sense of movement. A lively story about family loyalty and love of the game, pulled from the sidelines of baseball history. Ages 4–8. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/2012 Permalink: (978-0-547-38557-0 <> )

Horn Book

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing
All-Brother Baseball Team
by Audrey Vernick;
illus. by Steven Salerno
Primary    Clarion    40 pp.
4/12    978-0-547-38557-0    $16.99 

Surprisingly, from the 1860s to the 1940s, there were at least twenty-nine baseball teams made up of brothers playing every position, and the Acerra family from Long Branch, New Jersey, played together longer than any other. The Acerras had sixteen children—twelve boys to eventually field the teams, and four girls who didn’t play ball. (As the third-person narrator explains, “Back then, most people thought sports were just for boys.”) The Acerras’ high school had an Acerra on the team for twenty-two straight years, and in 1938, the oldest nine boys created their own semi-pro team, coached by their father, and played against other New Jersey teams. When World War II came along, six of the brothers went off to fight, and all came back safely to return to baseball and to raise families. In 1997, the seven Acerra players still living were honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame, with some of their memorabilia displayed “right there in the same museum that honored Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb and Willie Mays.” This story of a real American family whose bond was the game is brought to vivid life through illustrations created with black crayon, gouache, watercolor, and pastel. The heavy crayon lines, a digitally enhanced palette alive with blues and greens, and beautifully designed pages capture the feel of this slice of American history. -Dean Schneider