Artist Statement: - Tait Wayland
For many years now I’ve had a strong interest in science and technology. The way a society adapts and reacts to these fields is even more interesting to me. The implications of technology open up an entirely different level of storytelling. Science fiction stories such as Metropolis, Dune, Blade Runner, The Matrix, and The Terminator are just a few that inspire my perception.
I wanted to illustrate a seemingly innocent story about a girl who rides a metro, in a very twisted but appropriate way. I chose to place the setting within an apocalyptic city. I wanted the setting to have an ominous feel, but not to a point where it was very melancholic and otherwise unfit for children. I resolved this by making the main character a cute child robot. In this way, she is not emotionally attached to the abandoned city that has been destroyed by her fellow robots. I intended for this to add a level of adult humor to the story, while not scaring children.
I tend to do a lot of my work in pen. When working in this medium, I try to draw the idea of things, rather than trying to render exactly what I see. This adds an impressionistic element to the work, which helps me emphasize the subjective aspects of the image. This works very well when combined with wet medium. I then scan this work into a computer and trace over the lines to remove imperfections and give the illustration a cleaner look.
Artist Statement - Jeneatte Vasquez
Having grown up on the Gulf Coast, I am quite familiar with hurricanes. In particular, I remember the minute details of the event and the emotions I dealt with. For instance, the day after hurricane Opal, I got into my mother's blue station wagon, permanently stained with the scent of Virginia Slim 120's menthols, and searched for a brave store owner who was open for business. Hopefully, they would have the necessities we'd never planned for. We drove slowly down a road which was typically lined with centuries-old magnolia and oak trees; being about six years old, I distinctly recall being fascinated at the idea of the destruction of nature by nature, the power it possessed. We crawled along, up to a magnolia tree which had once gallantly flanked the road, now being supported only by the ranch home it had landed on, leaving barely enough room to drive under.
The view was frightening; there was no telling what lay beyond the next hill. Of all the hurricanes I survived during my childhood, this memory has stayed with me indelibly. I wanted to evoke the innocence of childhood, my childlike nature, the curiosity and whimsy of such numinous experiences. To capture this, I used simple shapes similar to the paper cutouts of childhood crafts. I paired these with different textures from a variety of digital sources. Together, they blend cohesively and maintain a unique quality. The image is a cover, to draw people into that sense of innocence.
Artist Statement: Ryan Waldo
The attractiveness of illustration is that it seeks a clarity and readability that is accessible to all. I begin by exploring imagery of my mind and expanding upon it by finding and researching real world relations. Once I settle upon a design and direction I begin its exploration with line utilizing its definitive and ornamental nature with graphite, ink, watercolor and paper edge.
The inspiration for this work was the child and her obsession of her possessions. Her concern for her own material wellbeing supersedes all other thoughts and dominates her prayers. She has unknowingly twisted her faith from sacrifice, dedication and community to self-preservation and material wealth.
Artist Statement: - Alejandra Garbutt
My interest in art, specifically illustration, has been with me as far back as I can remember. Traditional Mexican myths and legends were engrained in me with stories of La Llorona, spirits, hauntings, and such. In a sense, my upbringing had a dash of magical realism, which fostered boundless, child-like imagination. My experimentation with media led me to create illustrations that are a collage of analog and digital elements to achieve an aesthetic that is quasi-naturalistic and otherworldly. After I sketch out what I want the finished illustration to look like, I intuitively pick out elements that I want to paint/draw and elements that I rather render digitally. This process involves back and forth dialog of scanning analog work into the computer and tweaking it in Photoshop.
What inspired me about The Firefly Jar was the children’s sense of wonder and hope. They believed that the fireflies that they so patiently waited to see in the summer were good luck stars that fell from the sky. I tried to convey this wish and nostalgia with the painted night sky and linocut mason jar that I placed in a windowsill rendered in Photoshop. The firefly glow was amplified in Photoshop as well. My wish is that the audience feels the same sort of child-like wonder when they see this book cover.
Artist Statement: - Christina McCoo
This piece was inked on the computer and printed on Bristol board and colored using color pencils and watercolor pencils. The girl’s design is based on personal experiences and observance of cats. The pastel colors and thin line quality are used to reflect a light and airy feeling. I wanted to create an animation within a space of the picture plane.
I became interested in illustration at the age of 3. My favorite was Archie’s Sonic Comics. My inspirations for these pages include various illustrators such as Lois Van Baarle, Katri Valcamo, and Tegan White.
Artist Statement: - Daesy Vences
My name is Daesy Vences and I am a BFA Graphic Design major here at UAB. My illustration here today consists of gouache and acrylic paint. I like to experiment with different materials and then incorporate them into my illustrations. Illustration allows me to express the way I am and the reason it does is because it is open to many types of methodologies and various ways of expression that anyone can think of. It allows me to think beyond that of imagination and respond to the different voices that most decide to ignore. This bridge allows me to get where I want to be as an artist with my approach to illustrations, usually from a very emotional side. I as an artist want to influence others and create an emotion the same way that I was influenced.
I have always admired the work of different illustrators. But the ones that influenced me the most would be street artists from urban areas. I love to incorporate my street background into some of my pieces and my Latin culture, always staying true to my roots and showing a glimpse of my interpretation of my heritage. One particular artist that influenced me into taking an interest in illustration was David Hale. The way he mixes materials and typography to create dimension in his pieces is amazing. The line qualities that David’s illustrations have influence me greatly. Another influence in my work is from Egyptian art. I am really interested in including different cultures other than my own in my art. Its just a melting pot in my esthetic.
Artist Statement: - Christina Daniel
As I read this story, I visualized the characters vibrant and very much alive within the narrator’s life. To illustrate that, I used bright but minimal coloring and the addition of a collaged image. I can remember all too well how afraid I was of household objects at night as a child so I wanted the nature of the Boom Box Bat to be playful but still relatable. I feel that these two illustrations reach out to an influence of children’s expressive play within their imagination and the voice of the narrator.
Artist Statement: - Britney Truitt
My interest in illustration came when I was a child. I would be given books to read, but I was more interested in the pictures on the page than the words in the book. I was enthralled by the bright colors and the presentation of an idea through an image. Images spark my imagination and help me to create parts in a story that I would not have initially thought of while reading the words alone. The images took me to a place beyond the words and helped me to be able to imagine my own scenes, to books without pictures that I read, as I grew older.
I chose to work with watercolors because I have always been interested in the washy look of watercolors. In this case they allowed me to achieve the colors that I intended to present and give the characters a fun, childlike quality. Ever since I learned about Photoshop, I was amazed by all that it could do. I wanted to be able to use Photoshop to enhance what I had already done with the watercolor paintings. When I took the images into Photoshop, I was able to add images of real grass and a sky. By being able to take something that I created and place it into a real setting, this makes my images come to life and helps the viewer to imagine that this is a scene that could actually take place in the real world.
I have always been fascinated by the moral lessons that are in children’s books, such as the tortoise in the hare and the boy who cried wolf. The scenes helped me learn and grow into the person that I am today. When illustrating this story I was inspired to choose the scene that I thought had a moral lesson behind it. The scene is when the horse realizes that the tractor can do something that he can do, but just in a different way. I found this scene particularly interesting, because it reminds me of when children today learn that there can be people who are very different than them, but can achieve the same things that they can. Every person has a different way of doing things, just as the tractor and the horse do. They become friends in the end despite their differences, so this scene can inspire social skills in children and inspire them to respect the people who are different than them.
Artist Statement: Rob Clifton
I have been drawing cartoons since childhood. As I grew, so did my line. These lines have led me to understand variety in texture, value, rhythm and balance. In this piece, I achieve variety through the combination of gouache, watercolor, and graphite. Before I use additional materials, I start by creating
a refined line drawing. Then after the composition is established, I carefully build value and texture to create pictorial depth.
In this piece, I have attempted to convey the inner beauty and delicacy of the main character by carefully handling her lines and value (opposed to the train and stairs). Her love shows through her pose and expression, and because love is contagious, her light spreads throughout the city. Her purity exceeds all barriers and sets her apart from the mundanity of society. Because of her freedom, she sets her own path. Although she may be free, darkness looms below, and is always closer than expected.
Artist Statement: - Chynna Nuccio
From a childish perspective I was always interested in what I couldn’t have, or what I was told wasn’t for children; a complex story. But I cherished that story and clung to the graphic novels they presented from an early age. While these Illustrations appeared to be just black and white drawings at first, they became much more to the line and fluidity of the panels and how they presented a story.
What drew me to illustration, and art in general, was the nonstop doodling and scratching of ideas flowing through my head. Something about being a child we understood that adults had long forgotten; courage to just draw. We didn’t worry about line quality or getting the ink just right, we wanted those ideas out of our heads as fast as humanly possible. For that courage, I envy children artists. This became the basis for my artist experience. I wanted to release as many ideas as I could, and that gave me clarity. Rather a particular picture, or image in my mind I play upon a scene or a movie playing constantly in my mind. First I brainstorm, and let the characters build themselves. Then I form a basic idea, and then slowly build upon that idea until I can visual the story behind the scene or create an independent world this scene comes form. The world slowly envelops a basic idea, and a world is created. Before even drawing, or sketching, I begin thinking of the characters and the world they interact with. And because most of my world is figure based, I care especially for the person involved and their experiences or perceptions of this world. For this illustration, I wanted to first get to know the children involved in the story I wanted to illustrate. First I wanted to know what the boys, Caden and Patrick. Then I wanted to understand their relationship to one another. I pictured two little boys, having grown up with one another, and playfully picking on one another. Then it became a place, and then another world. And I slowly began expanding their experiences. Finally I could see a scene I wanted to play with, and I began sketching out my ideas and finding out about the place they were playing in. At last it finally all came together. Drawing and detailing things are the last step in my process, despite most illustrators go to drawing first. But I prefer to think it over for a while and see the picture clearly before I even sketch.
What I cared for most was the story and how it came to life on the page, and not so much on the art itself. But the art was extremely important to me as well, in a contradictory manner. The style didn’t hinge as much on the artist or their personal preference, but rather they reflected the characters they illustrated and the moods the story presented.
Artist Statement: Jasmine Gooden
The girls in the story immediately reminded me of my sister and I. We would always take each other’s toys just to get on each other’s nerves. We would always find some type of common ground, and that is what this story represents. I began the book illustrations by doing research first. I always start by searching for reference images, and inspiration to create a mood board. After the initial research process, I created sketches that were then scanned into Adobe Illustrator. This illustration is vector based, and includes textures that were also scanned in to add depth to the piece. Many different things influence me when it comes to illustration and design. I am interested in hand written typography, and decorative ornaments. I am always aware of color, texture, pattern, and composition.
Artist Statement: Amy Vaughn
Typography has always held my interest. At a very early age, signs and billboards with different fonts and styles inspired me to learn how to go above the simple standard of print and cursive. This interest developed during adolescence through experimenting with graffiti. When first reading this children’s story, the multiple onomonopias jumped out at me and I knew they must be illustrated. In order to fully express these words, I brought life to them by allowing each word to have their own style, which fit accordingly to its purpose in the story. After writing down each onomonopia, brainstorming began with drawing each one over and over until the word matched the sound. Different mediums were used such as graphite, technical pen, gouache, gesso, and watercolor. In the end, I chose to use only technical pen for the illustrations and scanned them into the computer to add color and depth.
Artist Statement: Christopher Blackstone
My initial interest in illustration began a long time ago when I was a little boy in school. For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawing in class instead of taking notes. So when I heard there was going to be an illustration class I knew it was right up my alley. I already had a lot of experience with pencils, so in this class I wanted to explore different mediums while still using pencil sketching as a starting point. For example, I enjoy beginning the sketching process with pencil to brainstorm ideas and then refine the illustration in a program like Adobe Illustrator, which allows me to vectorize the image for print.
I was very inspired by the artwork in comic books, particularly the work of Jim Lee. The ability to create characters and their unique looks is what got me interested. For Riding the Metro, the story I illustrated, I wanted to show the main character, as I perceived her. Also the metro was very important and the fact that the little girl is chasing it seemed fitting for the story.
Artist Statement: Haley Salzburn
When creating this double page spread for the story, Sister, Sister Where Are You? by Sarah Stasiak, I first drew the character Tiger by hand and then used to ink to apply a base color. I also used an ink splattering effect before scanning it into a computer. At this point, I manipulate the individual drawings separately and then place them on the page where they go in the final illustration. I allow the splatter texture to remain, as this is a key to overall feel in my work. And finally, I paint over the drawings digitally to further add highlights, color, and shadows.
I personally got interested in illustration at a young age when reading children’s books. My grandparents were also artists and they encouraged me to try and illustrate from the books and comics I read. One of the first character-involved creations I began emulating was from the series Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. Lately, however, I have become more interested in environments and atmospheres rather than characters specifically. Video games are an inspiration for me, especially regarding the conceptual art that goes into creating those games. When specifically designing this illustration, Peter Pan’s Lost Boys inspired me for the protagonist. The character in the story’s name is Tiger, but I imagined him to be a little boy who thinks he is a real tiger. In this way, he wears tiger-themed pajamas and imagines his entire world is a jungle, even if that jungle is within his own house. These things helped me create a more imaginative feel to the overall story, enforcing the way a child would interpret it, whether they were reading about Tiger’s adventures, or how they would see themselves.
Artist Statement: Nabela Washington
My name is NaBeela Washington and I am a BFA Graphic Design major with a Japanese and Art History minor at UAB. My Illustration consists of fireflies hand-drawn then scanned into the computer. I use tech pens, graphite pencils and watercolor. I rely on make-up, markers, acrylics and anything that I find innovative for other types of work. I am presenting my work as a two-page spread because I feel this is the best method to perfectly capture the essence and beauty of the fireflies depicted in the story. I discovered I could create emotional artwork back in the Fall of 2011 and Spring of 2012. I realized that my mode of self-expression and communication with the world could be transferred to reality so that others might get to share my own experiences. I became increasingly interested in the way shapes moved and came alive on a page and how shapes and simplicity can create such complex pieces of imagery that can truly move an audience. I am inspired by my personal success and the success of my peers because it makes me feel like I am getting closer to living out dreams I never thought would become real. I hope to communicate freedom through my Illustrations. I want people to realize that they don’t have to accept the traditional perception and niches of the world. They should realize that there are no limits and that art starts at the soul. Freedom and beauty develop deep within. The world is a much more beautiful place when you tap into yourself and realize that with this understanding you can do anything and change anything , making the world and art truly amazing.