Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Original Redwall art available at my ETSY shop today!



          This large pastel painting was one of the first that I created while illustrating The Great Redwall Feast (Philomel Books, 1996). I remember trying to create a sense of discovery, much as we do when reading Brian's first Redwall novel. Tucked into Mossflower woods on two sides, the meadow and the great road on the others, we see Redwall for the first time! This book and image pre-date the animated series by several years. This view of Redwall would be from the south. This small party of woodland characters is probably returning from St. Ninian's. 
       The finished art area measures approximately 13 inches x 16 inches, roughly 133% larger than the reproduction in the book.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Baking Day at Grandma's review in Kirkus!


KIRKUS REVIEW

A rollicking, rhyming salute to the grandmother-grandchild bond.
Three independent, bundled-up young bears set off across the snow and past the pond for Grandma’s cottage, all smiles, as “It’s baking day at Grandma’s!” Everything at Grandma’s house—from the fire and old-fashioned stove and Victrola to her pink shawl and the woodsy cabin decor—points to coziness and love....
Read the rest here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sleepytime Me, new art-the back cover that never was.

Final cover for Sleepytime Me by Edith Hope Fine
The cover for my most recent book, Sleepytime Me by Edith Hope Fine, came together very quickly. Those of you who are in the business picture books know this is a rare occurrence. We all loved the image of the house and wanted to stay with that theme. I could have done a wrap but was enjoying painting the images so much that I wanted to produce another piece of art. I was so excited when I had the idea of painting the same scene after the kid went to bed and the moonlight and stars had shifted that I went ahead and painted it. I loved painting the moonlight on the leaves and having it dapple over the house. Sadly, the art was never used but the incredible designer I worked with, Jan Gerardi, came up with a wonderfully elegant solution. Her design was beautiful but even with that we almost had the cover changed on us at the eleventh hour. Fortunately, we were able to compromise and meet the needs of the marketing department by zooming in on the house and character. For fans of the book, here is a look at never before seen art! Which one do you like?
Original cover art ©2014 Christopher Denise. I remember stargazing from the bedroom.
Original back cover art ©2014 Christopher Denise. ".ooo..what a little moonlight can do..."
How it might have looked...

My proposal
Jan Gerardi's design. I loved working with Jan! Love her type on this version.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Children's Book Week

I will be celebrating Children's Book week with a fantastic crew of super nice and incredibly talented folks. Join me, Adam Lehrhaupt, Jamie Michalak, Anika Denise, Mary Jane Begin, Zoe B. Alley and Melissa Guion at Barrington Books. Join us for an after school kick off party on Monday, May 12th, 3-5pm.  Readings, book signings, drawing-demos, prizes, cupcakes and more!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interview at All Creativelike

I was so happy to be interviewed by Leigh Medeiros at All Creativelike. I have worked with Leigh as a consultant and she is fantastic. I highly recommend that you check out All Creativelike and the many ways that Leigh works with artists. Coaching, products for artists, Retreats & Workshops, Classes, Research/Story Notes-she does it all. Subscribe to her blog to see the many way that she works with creative people and be sure to read the testimonials-she is the real deal.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Illustrator Saturday

A big thank THANK YOU to Kathy Temean for asking me to be a part of Illustrator Saturday! Lots of information and some process images. Click on the link below to read the full interview. As Neil Gaiman says, "WARNING:Contains me" 

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/illustrator-saturday-christopher-denise/

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bookmaps and Storyboards using Photoshop. Part 1-Why digital tools?


In January I gave a series of talk at Kindling Words east and can now share a bit of what I talked about during the breakout sessions with the illustrators. May 27th will mark the release date of Sleepytime Me by Edith Fine, my next book with Random house so it best to focus on this title for this series of posts.

First I need to address the question of why I am using digital tools. Not for myself, but because I am asked...all the time. Technique and materials are really of little interest to me. Photoshop is a tool. Pastels and charcoal are tools. I am more interested in what you create with them. However, the question is always in the air so I will give you the cliff notes version of my thinking on the debate.


I started using photoshop when I began work as a visual development artist working on animated films and have found the program to be an invaluable tool in my book production work. First a quick note to all the skeptics who ask: "Don't you miss traditional materials?"Quick answer: No. While there is a learning curve, I have been able to customize my tools to create a process that not only replicates my traditional technique but removes many of the limitations of working in pastel and acrylic. Here are two examples of work. The one on the left is from my pastel work on the Redwall  picture books, the image on the right is a detail from my book due out at the end of August 2014,  Baking Day at Grandma's by Anika Denise. The image on the right was created using only digital tools.


I am impatient with my art. I work best when I can act and react. With digital tools changing the piece as it begins to emerge is far easier and I can get to the fun stuff faster. The goal is not necessarily to shorten the production time, though in this day  of ever tightening deadlines and shrinking advances this is clearly a very good byproduct. The goal is to get as much of original inspiration down on the page as possible. With digital tools, I can cut right to the chase and then have the flexibility to edit, change, and repaint the piece to suit the needs of the entire book.

In the next post I will focus on the previously time consuming process of creating a bookmap with Photoshop.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Summer Nightsong" from "If I Could"


A few years ago I was asked to create illustrations for a lovely poem/story called "If I Could" by Susan Milord. The story had few details and once again my art director at Candlewick press gave me the freedom and support to produce a series of images that were personal and captured those special moments shared by a little one and his/her parent or grandparent. I loved this project and brought so much of my personal experiences to the finished art. The beach is the one just down the street from the studio and yes, I have bundled up in a blanket with my own kids and watched the stars!
This original painting was just posted at my ETSY shop. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Large format print is now available through my ETSY shop!


I am often asked about prints of my work but have been reluctant to partner with a printer. Finding a press that could offer the quality and consistency that I was looking for was a challenge. I am happy to announce that we finally have a print available for purchase! I teamed up with the incredible folks at Tiny Showcase to produce a gorgeous limited edition print from my much loved book, "Me With You". All of the artwork for this book was produced digitally so this is the first time that any of it is available for purchase.
This large print edition measures roughly 21.25" wide by 13.25" tall. Each print ships with a corresponding certificate of authenticity. The archival artwork has been printed on a heavy 290gsm natural white printmaking paper made from 90% bamboo fibers and 10% cotton.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/182165427/beautiful-archival-print-from-the?ref=listing-shop-header-0