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Posts Tagged ‘Illustrators’

Wendy Froud Wendy Froud is the designer-creator of wonderful fantasy soft sculptures (and is married to illustrator, Brian Froud). I saw her intricate creations at an East Coast FaerieCon (where this photo was taken), and found a wonderful quote from her on the World of Froud website: “I feel that my work is a sign post to the half forgotten world that we all carry inside of us.”

I think all writers and illustrators whose roots are sunk deep in folklore, myth, and legend feel this way. For us (yes, I count myself among those legend-myth folk), the stories and art we create, harken back to a time when the world was steeped in magic. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just reminding my readers of something they already know in the marrow of their bones.

And thanks again to Faerie Magazine for having me as their guest at FaerieCon.

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An interesting quote popped up on Facebook today from my good friend, Michelle:  “You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not the rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.'” -Erin (dressaday.com)

I think those of us who are writers & illustrators need to remind ourselves that our female characters need not all be slender, with flowing blond locks, a perfect complexion, and beautiful blue eyes. Real women (and men) come in all sizes, colors, and ethnic groups. I believe we need to celebrate the differences in physical appearance in our charcters as we do their varied mental capabilities, personalities, and talents. Let’s set the tone for our readers, and value each of our characters for their uniqueness.

When I taught Poetry for the Maryland State Arts Council, I discouraged the use of the word, “pretty.” I told the students to be more specific. To give a sensory description that showed what they thought was special about the person, place, or thing they thought was “pretty.” And so, I’d get things like: “she had hair softer than my collie’s coat,” “she smelled better than cookies in the oven,” “her eyes were brighter than a flashlight,” or one of my favorites, “her voice sounded like raindrops in puddles.”

And what reader wouldn’t be more interested in reading about a woman whose hair was softer than a collie’s coat, had eyes brighter than a flashlight, smelled better than cookies in the oven, and had a voice that sounded like raindrops in puddles – than one that was “pretty?”

So writers, illustrators, and readers – Forget exterior “pretty,” and join me in celebrating those females who are beautiful in thoughts, words, and deeds.

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 At November’s FaeryCon, I had the honor of meeting and chatting briefly with illustrator extraordinaire, Michael Hague. An admirer of his work for many years, I’d brought along 2 books with hopes for an autograph. Not only did he sign, The Little Mermaid, but he sketched in ballpoint pen a wonderful mermaid and fish on the first pages of the book. His sketching style, quiet manner, and kind smile reminded me of Pop (my grandfather) who used to spend countless hours drawing with me when I was a child. I must admit to being a little misty-eyed when I thanked Michael and turned to leave.

“Wait, isn’t that Tolkien’s World?” Michael asked pointing at the unsigned book I held.

 “Yes,” I responded, and began to explain I didn’t want to take too much of his time since there were other fans waiting in line for autographs. Michael waved his hand in the air, then proceeded to sketch a roaring dragon’s head opposite his painting of “Smaug the Magnificent” from The Hobbit.

 Born in the Year of the Dragon, those legendary creatures remain my favorite fabulous beastie. And in 2010, not only did I manage to place my dragon story, “Weathermaker,” in Dragon’s Lure: Legends of a New Age and became the proud owner of a Michael Hague dragon sketch – but I just learned that a recent review of Dragon’s Lure features a paragraph about “Weathermaker.”

So thanks to BSC Review and their book reviewer. For those who’d like to take a peek at the review: http://tinyurl.com/review-of-dragons-lure (Paragraph #4 focuses on “Weathermaker”)

 And now, to begin a dragon sketch of my own!

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