Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ideas Into Images: Illustrator-Writer Adrienne May on Creating Characters

Illustrator-Writer Adrienne May
Artist, children's book illustrator and writer Adrienne May found her way into a second life career writing and illustrating children's books. She uses traditional and contemporary tools to create pieces in a realistic style, and takes the same approach to crafting her stories and characters. The tag line of her WinsomeWays online portfolio says it all "ideas into images."

AA: How did you get into writing?

AM: I came to writing by accident. My career destination is children's book illustration, especially children's picture books. However, designing characters and a world setting(s) are tasks that illustrators and writers must do. Writing was the result of thinking of children's picture books as visualized stories, rather than a series of isolated illustrations.

AA: With experience in fine arts, how do you approach writing the stories?

"Jamaican Doll," by Adrienne May
AM: When I write, visual imagery lets me immerse myself in the story. I try to experience each scene with all my senses. As a writer, I want visual imagery to be a stepping stone to a full-sensory experience of the characters, their world setting and any changes to them in the story. I need this in order to describe them to someone else. As writer and illustrator, I aim to reconcile the voice and physical appearance of each character, the pace of the plot and the narrative weight any physical illustrations must bear.

AA: How does that impact your role as an illustrator?

AM: In my illustrator role, I want to respond to the needs of the story, and update my drawings to reflect physical changes to the characters and world setting. (In one story a character became three years older, and I added three new characters.) While I draw, I ask myself what else is there to understand about the story. In the end, the illustrations ideally show details beyond the text.

AA: How would you describe "success" as an artist?

AM: From "Making Artists," and The New York Times article, "The End of the Great Big American Voice," by Anne Midgette:

"In the end, artistic success depends, as it always has, on intangible factors that no training program can provide. One is luck. Another is stubbornness."

'People who really persevere,' Ms. [Dolora] Zajick [mezzo soprano] said, 'find themselves in lucky places.'"

Tip: Try Adrienne May's winsome approach to illustrating your characters with words, and visit WinsomeWays for a visual tour.


No comments: