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Friday, November 3, 2017

Learned a lot from Lisa Stewart's Picture Books workshop

Lisa Stewart and Margaret Hamilton's Picture Books workshop was great. studied collage and enjoyed established illustrators’s working processes. Lisa is, originally from "sculpture" in art. She weighs on the importance of 3D understanding of characters. (*Wow, I wrote it before!) The wishes to draw animals motivated Lisa to be a picture book illustrator, which has turned out a great success. Let's see her working process and tips together. I've bumped good painters converted from sculptors, btw. 
Lisa presented her methods, "collage and drawing" and courteously and generously answered questions. It was very interesting to know how another illustrator responded to a text and organise visual images. Getting an idea is possible from anything, if we have a good antenna! She got the idea of a character owl from a chat! Her small sketch book fascinated me and inspired me. It's Lisa's small dummy and a play ground to develop ideas/characters. In sketches, she explores medium, too. When roughly ideas come together, she traces the black and white to real big watercolour papers. "Simplify subjects," Lisa advised us. Then, she layers papers with a variety of textures and colours. Another fun was to know an illustrator's little tips for effective work to meet a deadline! Wise Lisa well uses a planner to check a progress of illustration.
Lisa suggested the importance of space in composition and the continuity of a style though pages. Lisa's dummy already leaves an enough and essential white space. Her sense of designing or the balance of weight in an image was wonderful, I felt. When I asked Lisa when was the most difficult stage in a working process, Lisa said, "Just before colour." Yes, it's not easy. But her colours are so sweet and beautiful!  
Margaret, too, demonstrated each successful illustrator’s procedure with original art work. She often showed the drawing from Stephen Michael King and the "collage" technique from Patricia Mullins. Michael creates real size black and white roughs. Patricia is very famous and successful! Her collage work has very beautiful colours and a sophisticated composition. So, it was great to see the original in my own eyes. Margaret, indeed, published her many picture books by Hamilton Books. 
Tada~~! Lisa, multi-talented artist, played her violin for us! Wow!! 

The great bonus was the feedback on each participant's work. We showed our work on progress. Margaret and Lisa gave the candid, kind and useful critiques. Each of us learned a lot from the comments and other people's work. In addition, Margaret emphasised the uniqueness of each illustrator's working methods with respect, "Some illustrators try dummies and some do not." I make a dummy book and check an information flow. 
I sincerely appreciate Margaret and Lisa's generous help in the high quality workshop. I've deepened the knowledge of illustration processes and gained the insights of picture book illustration with other lovely participants.  

Did you enjoy the workshop with me above? You can come along to Margaret Hamilton's workshops! It's very helpful and practical. That workshop was the part of my education in the children picture book cottage, Pinerolo. In a next post, I'll chat over my residency, the mentorship of Maragret in Pinerolo. 
Btw, I'm working on the picture book of primary school children's writings to be published by WestWords this Nov. So, we're in a rush, rush, rush~~! But it's a great honour and fun. The publication is a reward and present for the children. See you soon. 
Friends, Happy Painting!    



  1. Looks like a lovely bunch of ladies. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend, dear Sadami.

    1. Yes, Carol, really lovely ladies! Thank you for the kind comments. Best wishes, Sadami

  2. Sounds like a great workshop. I enjoyed the idea of "leaving enough space" in a composition. Yes, we must leave space in our paintings, our drawings, and in our life (for rest and relaxation and play :)

    1. Oh, Rhonda, yes, we need a space in our lives, too. What a wise lady you are! Cheers, wink, wink, Sadami