The illustration at the bottom is the one the New York Times Book Review chose to feature in the article Entrancing Poetry Picture Books. When working on a new picture book, I always develop 2 of the sketches into a more “finished” look to show style. Though the first image was approved for style, it was not approved for composition. The Art Director and Editor commented that the focus was on the elk and not the trees. On the second round (middle image), I focused on the glow of autumn aspen leaves. In the third and final version, the focus is on 3 aspens, but in the context of their surroundings. And as you can see, a deer enters the scene as a supporting character.
the sweetest spinach and some super spicy mustard greens. Enough for one perfect salad.
In my computer, my reject folder is much larger than the folder of books completed and published. These are character sketches for a manuscript I received sometime ago. Found them this morning, and still kind of in love with this kid’s personality. Variations of these drawings make their way into other projects or into my stock collection at The iSpot.
Naturally occurring intersections. Appreciate them and move on.
I’ve come to embrace the darkness of PNW winters. Still, I’m happy that Winter Solstice is upon us and will savor each day’s growing light.
From Japan Airlines inflight magazine, ‘Eheu, the Japanese translation of Maui Hooks the Islands.
By Gabrille Ahuli‘i, published by Beachhouse Publishing.
Two projects are in edtor’s hands right now. Taking the time to explore visual directions. Wading through lots of—you know—to find something good.
Two handsome young bucks stood on either side of me as I walked down the path. It felt like I was being admitted to an exclusive club. But really I was just headed to the garden to pick lettuce.
Part of my daily creative practice is walking with this creature, Prudence. Her disregard for social niceties, intense curiosity about everything and everyone are a constant inspiration. She recently discovered my phone , I found her selfies as evidence. I think she found her best angle in the middle photo, what do you think?
45 minutes of solitude and salt water therapy.
This image has been stewing in my head for a long time. I must have mind-sketched it a dozen times before putting pencil to paper. When I'm not presenting to a client, my sketches are always this loose and calligraphic. I've been spending a lot of time this summer exploring new techniques. Don't know where all this experimentation is leading.
I've posted this image to my stock collection at The iSpot. It will be fun to see where it ends up.
Salvaged styrofoam packing material + half used paint tubes from a garage sale "FREE" pile equals printmaking fun!
Been working on a project where I’ve been trying to channel the spirit of the girl in the picture. Oh the precious awkwardness of this time. I loved my stamp collection and in fact, still have it. Come to think of it, I still have a bit of the awkwardness as well. Things I don’t have any more, but wish I did, the velvet green blazer and the striped shirt. I think it’s a look, I could possibly pull off!Read More
It's so cool to see my illustrations for Pele (Hawaiian Legends for Little Ones series by Gabrielle Ahuli‘i) in the Spring 2018 issue of ‘Eheu, the Japan Airlines inflight magazine. My parents who both speak and read Japanese, enjoyed translating the article for me.
Carving into soft block. I never know where I'm going to go with it. But I always know something good will happen.
Did you know my husband Mike Austin is also an illustrator/writer? It's rare that we collaborate. But we have been having lots of fun working together on our garden project. It's a great way to step away from the drawing table and burn some energy. We have about a dozen regular visitors, deer. Check out the 6 ft. high fence—just beyond their leaping abilities! So far, we've sown seeds for mustard greens, kale, collard greens, arugala and spinach. Getting eggplant and basil started inside. Hopefully we will be blessed by just the right combination of rain and sun.
Final files have been sent for two new Beachhouse Publishing Hawaiian Legends for Little Ones books by Gabrielle Ahuli’i. One of them is Hi‘iaka Battles the Wind. Pele's sister, Hi‘iaka saves Waipio Valley from the ravages of a powerful wind.
Here's the original sketch next to the final image. In my sketches, I never show texture. I have ideas swirling in my head about what I might try, but nothing ever comes together until I start playing with the digital collage. Even I am surprised at the happy "mistakes” that happen while I explore. I had fun playing with the contrast in size between Hi‘iaka and the wind. Her size belies her power! You'll have to get the book to see what happens next.
Working on the images was a great excuse to revisit a favorite place. On our January trip to Hawai‘i Island, we walked into the valley. The road down is only a mile, but the grade is 45% in sections!