Monday Inspiration

My dad is an elementary art teacher and was recently reading from a book to his students with advice from Maurice Sendak to young artists. He sent me some of the quotes, and I couldn’t help but share them here:

An illustration is an enlargement, an interpretation of the text, so that the reader will comprehend the words better. As an artist, you are always serving the words. You must never illustrate exactly what is written. You must find a space in the text so that the pictures can do the work.  Then you must let the words take over where words do it best. It’s a funny kind of juggling act.

As an aspiring artist, you should strive for originality of vision.  Have something to say and a fresh way of saying it.  No story is worth the writing, no picture worth the making, if it is not a work of the imagination.  ~Maurice Sendak

Here’s to a week filled with  imagination.

Inspiration this Week

Friends shared three links with me this week that were inspiring:

 

16 Quotes About Writing for Children (Article on Mental Floss)
http://mentalfloss.com/article/51869/16-quotes-about-writing-children

One that especially resonates right now is from Margaret Wise Brown:

“In this modern world where activity is stressed almost to the point of mania, quietness as a childhood need is too often overlooked. Yet a child’s need for quietness is the same today as it has always been—it may even be greater—for quietness is an essential part of all awareness. In quiet times and sleepy times a child can dwell in thoughts of his own, and in songs and stories of his own.” 

16 quotes writing for children

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The Pixel Painter, by Josh Bogdan and Ryan Lasko (Video on Vimeo)
http://vimeo.com/70748579

A sweet 8-minute documentary on Hal Lasko (Grandpa), a 97-year-old who spends all his time creating paintings on the computer.

pixel painter

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Adrift, by Simon Christen (Video on Vimeo)
http://vimeo.com/69445362

Breathtaking footage of fog rolling over San Francisco. Video meditation at it’s best.

Adrift

 

Inspired by: Writers

 

 

As a budding writer (or fledgling, it feels like most of the time), I find a lot of encouragement reading advice from other writers. I’ve recently gotten to know our neighbor Mike (a writer), who lent me Stephan King’s book, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I adored his personality, which he used in an amusing way to create an unconventional book on writing.

And this morning I found, through a vast array of links, starting with a Publisher’s Weekly digest email, this article:
 Collection of Brilliant and Inspiring Letters From Famous Authors to Their Young Fans
Included are letters from authors Harper Lee, Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, C.S. Lewis, Beatrix Potter, J.K. Rowling, and Harold Pinter.

In a letter from C.S. Lewis to a young fan,  I particularly loved this piece of writing advice:

“In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”

This letter was originally posted on the blog Letters Of Note; Correspondence deserving of a wider audience, which is “an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.”  Hours will be lost on this blog, but I’ll risk that they’ll be well worth it!

Thinking of Maurice Sendak

 

 

“I have nothing now but praise for my life. I’m not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more. … What I dread is the isolation. … There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.” ~Maurice Sendak

With the news of Maurice Sendak’s death today, I am making time to reflect on his work and life. Fresh Air has a wonderful remembrance of him here: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/08/152248901/fresh-air-remembers-author-maurice-sendak

This program includes his 2011 Fresh Air interview, which is alarmingly raw, human, and beautiful. He speaks of his aging experience, about death, and reminds reminds us to slow down, look at the trees, listen to music, enjoy reading time, and love this world we inhabit for such a short time.

I am so thankful for the work he gave to us – and for the difficult, complex, creative and awesome life he lived.

 

Inspired By: Other Art

When we find our creative passion, it can be easy to have a one track mind. I look at children’s books constantly and love studying illustrations of past and present. While this is great, it’s also useful to keep our eyes open to the world around us. Being inspired by only one field of work can keep us boxed in.

Byzantine Altar Piece DetailDuring our recent travels abroad my husband and I visited the Vatican museum. When looking at the collection of Byzantine altar pieces, I was struck by the painting style and the beautiful gold leafing with intricate patterns behind the figures. I found myself excited to experiment with these art works in mind. They were some I might not have noticed before, but working in children’s illustration has pushed me to constantly look at what other illustrators are doing, what techniques I might not have considered. Yet tunnel vision can cause me to forget about the vast array of art ready to spark ideas within my own work.

Push yourself outside your comfort zone by exploring other genres:

Illustrators: look at abstract painting, sculpture, film, architecture, fashion.
Writers: read outside your genre; YA novels, adult fiction, non-fiction, classics, philosophy, poetry.

Inspiration leads to experimentation, pushing you outside that comfort zone and into a world of possibilities