Kadir Nelson

James Ransome

Katy Schneider

Lane Smith

Eric Velasquez

A crop of Katy Scheneider art in Once I Ate a Pie. Click through to enlarge.

Oil paint uses plant oils and dries slowly.

Oil paint is a powdered pigment bound in plant-derived oils such as linseed or walnut oils. Although it can be used on paper, oil paint is often used on cotton or linen canvas, and less commonly on wooden panels. Oil paints dry slowly.


Cover. Click through to enlarge.


Process art related to Coretta Scott. Click through to enlarge.

Kadir Nelson: Coretta Scott

Here oil paints have been applied to birch plywood to create a rich, realistic, formal portrait of Martin Luther King Jr in a somber church setting. The composition includes King facing outward, a river image surrounded by curtains behind him and the congregation facing toward him. The depth of the colors, the brilliance of light and shadow, and the intricate detail are attained by the masterful use of oil paints. Here they create both depth and shading that draw the eye around the painting. This is unpublished art from Coretta Scott, illustrated by Nelson.


Cover. Click through to enlarge


Final art. Click through to enlarge

James Ransome: Dark Day, Light Night

In Dark Day, Light Night, Ransome takes Jan Carr’s highly descriptive words and paints them in oil on paper, using shadows and light to depict strong expressions of the characters and their feelings. Aunt Ruby has “squinting eyes, twitched lips, and a voice deep as dusk and hushed as trees.” Ransome brings her to life. Ransome shows us Manda pouting and hunched in the crook of her aunt’s arm but soon her face has light, a smile and spirit.


Cover. Click through to enlarge


Final art. Click through to enlarge

Katy Schneider: Once I Ate a Pie

In an online interview, Schneider explained how she builds a painting for her book illustrations; she often paints from photos but does not draw what she paints.

Schneider's brushstrokes create personable animal figures that project a soulful and joyous exhuberance perfectly supporting Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest's pet poems.


http://gallery.lib.umn.edu/archive/original/8731120e1ddeb1a3fc1d71e489b8d182.jpg http://gallery.lib.umn.edu/archive/original/4872be1c708637e7e5b5bd7b51befe41.jpg

Final art. Click through to enlarge

Lane Smith: The Stinky Cheese Man

To create his illustrations, Lane Smith used a unique layered and textured approach to working with oil. He painted with oil on board in thin layers, varnishing each layer with an acrylic spray, slowly building up the texture and color of the piece. Finally, after the paint was dry and the layering finished, he went back into the painting to add details, highlights, and value with a fine brush.

Says Smith, "A lot of reviewers have misidentified my technique as airbrush or dyes or even egg tempera. I think this is because it almost looks as if it was sprayed with paint with little dots of color and texture visible. Actually, my work is rendered in oil paints. I'm influenced by other illustrators too, like N.C. Wyeth, Maurice Sendak, Arthur Rackham, Edward Lear, Gustav Dore and Tomi Ungerer. I hope I can follow the path these dark illustrators have walked, or at least use the sidewalk that runs alongside it."



Cover. Click through to enlarge


Final art. Click to enlarge

Eric Velasquez: Grandma’s Gift

“After reading the manuscript several times I begin to do my rough thumbnail storyboard sketches. Next I begin to research the story in terms of costumes, location, books, etc. Basically I try and learn everything I can about the subject within the time I have.

From there I create a book dummy (a pagination) of the book. This involves cutting up the manuscript and pasting it down next to the corresponding images. I submit the book dummy to the publisher for approval. Sometimes there are changes at this stage. Next I find models and costumes, then I set up a photo shoot. Next, I begin the final artwork. First I create a detailed drawing of the image then I paint on top of it using oil paint. Once approved, I begin the task of hiring models and photographing them, as well as collecting reference photos for backgrounds and costumes. After all of the references and photographs are collected, I begin the task of doing a full drawing on a large sheet of watercolor paper, which I then tone, once the drawing is complete. Afterwards, I spray it with crystal clear and apply five coats of thinned matte medium. Once dry, I tone the image with an acrylic wash and begin to paint with oil.”