Friday, August 6, 2010

Polar Bear Coloring Page

I am starting to add downloadable coloring pages to my website, Look on the page of my new book, A Polar Bear's World, for the link to a picture of a polar bear. The challenge will be to decide on colors to use for a white bear in a white landscape! Of course, there are many shades of white, with polar bears being a yellowish white and the surrounding snow being various shades of blueish white.
For more coloring pages and other projects go to A Panda's World and A Penguin's World.
You can preview A Polar Bear's World in this book trailer on YouTube.
Update, 2012:  You can also learn about polar bears and how they have been affected by global warming in my new book A Warmer World.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Photos or Art? Which is Better?

Photographs are not always the best way to illustrate what animals do, especially in books for young children. For animals that live underground or underwater, are active at night, or live in remote locations, sometimes a drawing is better for showing their behavior. One of my recent books, A Walrus’ World, which I illustrated with cut-paper art illustrations is a good example of a book better illustrated with art. It would have been impossible to follow around a mother walrus on an ice floe in the Arctic to get the photographs I needed! I did go to zoos to observe walruses in real life, but creating illustrations made it possible for me to tell my story about walruses in their natural environment.

Making Cut Paper Illustrations

My basic technique is the same for all of my books.
The first step is to write the story. This involves basic research in the library, on the internet, and if possible, observing the animals in real life. I need to find out everything I can about the animal–what it looks like, where it lives, what it eats, how it behaves, what its special adaptations are. All this information helps me with both my writing and my art.
Whenever possible I like to observe animals in their natural habitats. I also like to watch them in the zoo. I always take my camera when I go to the zoo. The pictures are a type of visual note taking. They help me both with my writing and my art.
The first step in creating my illustrations is the drawing. If I’m drawing a baby moose, I need to know exactly what it looks like. I then transfer the drawing onto colored paper, cut out the pieces, and glue them together. The final step is putting the animals on a background.
This illustration is from my book A Moose's World.
Update, September 14, 2011
VIDEO:  You can now see a short video of my cut-paper process on YouTube.  Click here to view it.

MY ETSY GALLERY: Cards and Prints

My Etsy gallery has been slowly growing. Here is a recent addition. This blank greeting card is an illustration from my book A Bald Eagle's World. Please visit! I have lots more cards and prints.