Monday, June 13, 2011

Tales for Creative Minds - The Children's Visual Storyteller Series

The word "Illustration" is rather inspirational. Its origin comes from some late Middle English meaning illumination, spiritual or intellectual enlightenment, from Latin illustratio(n-): illuminate, shed light on.

There are many different types and styles of illustration – you can see some beautiful examples of hand painted and digital images that I published sometime ago through a series of interviews with fantastic illustrators like Bas Waijers, Tascha, and Katriona Chapman. Their stories and work inspired many. 

In today's editorial we will cover the first of a series of articles specifically on children's art, from painting to drawings, and much more.

Let's start with a blog about a group of very talented and friendly artists who decided to collaborate and showcase their creative work. It's a very fun and colorful blog called The Visual Storytellers Studio
It all started about 2 1/2 years ago when artist Jill Bergman was trying to find an online illustration critique group. She couldn’t find one so she posted on the SCBWI boards (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) asking if anyone wanted to start one with her. 

About six illustrators formed a group right away.  They set up a private blogger site and the group grew. They also wanted to have a public gallery in addition to the critique group. Lisa Michaels, one of the new members offered to build it. She designed the layout of the Visual Storytellers Studio (VSS) and set up the basic way it would work. Her idea was to invite other artists to contribute as well as the core group. That way there would be more variety to the VSS. It all worked out great!

In addition to the main page where you can see a continually updated show of children’s art, there is also a page with interviews of the members.  On the interview page you can find out how each artist came to be a children’s illustrator, how they work, and what inspires them. There are also photos of the artists’ studios and lots of artwork. You can also follow the group on facebook or on twitter. 

Jill herself is a very creative artist who does fantastic illustrations and linocuts:

© Jill Bergman - Lonely Mountain
"When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut or a writer. Instead I became a musician. After I quit the orchestra and sold my oboe I grew into an artist.

I loved printmaking from the beginning of my artistic experiments. My first prints were of little couches I carved out of potatoes - couch potatoes, hahaha!
I quickly moved on to linoleum printing and I’ve been happily stuck there ever since. Linocuts are made by attaching a piece of artist linoleum to a backing block. The picture is carved into the linoleum and then a roller spreads ink over the carving. 

© Jill Bergman - Lucky at Work
Paper laid  over the ink is printed by rubbing the back or running it through a press. Once the ink is dry, I paint it with watercolor. 

For the last few years I’ve been committed to becoming a children’s book illustrator and author. I love the back and forth of working on a story, sketching the pictures, rewriting the story, refining the art, throwing the whole thing out, and starting again with a much better story. It takes a lot of time! But when someone reads one of my picture book dummies and gets engaged in the story it’s so fun to watch." - Jill Bergman

Jill lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a small town with a really big ski area. Her work has been exhibited in many fine art galleries.
© Jill Bergman - Animals of Earth

Here's also her blog Art on the Page and her VSS interview!

Stay tuned for more editorials and interviews with visual storytellers from around the globe!