Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A Thing Of Beauty

I’ve been investigating websites on and off lately, because my own has grown distinctly ragged and deformed. And I’ve found out that writers are at a disadvantage compared to illustrator’s websites and blogs.

A demonstration.

If I was to show you my work in progress I could write this:
Dr Styrax circled his room, thinking, and each time he passed along polished table. On that smooth surface lay a full sat of playing cards. Each time Dr Styrax passed, he ran his long pale fingers over the table, spreading the cards.
Anyone watching would have seen the cards somehow change.

And then I could follow it up with a more recent version:

Doctor Styrax circled his room, deep in thought. Each time, he passed the long polished table where, across the smooth surface, lay a full set of playing cards. As Dr. Styrax passed, he ran his long pale fingers lightly over the table, spreading the cards.
Anyone watching would see the cards somehow change, observe how the cards rearranged themselves into different sets and suites.
Kings, Queens and Knaves.
A flutter of intriguing Numbers.
And, of course, a Joker.
Dr Styrax created a different pattern every time.

Maybe in between you could glance at the image at the top of this post, to add to the tension? But I saw that yawn. Blocks of text don’t really lift the heart, do they? Engage the eye? Yet these cunning illustrator folk can show you the whole damn thing in a few glances, and that makes for an exciting site.

For example, Joanna Troughton’s site, mentioned by Adele yesterday, has slideshows that move from first sketches through to finished artwork, a process I absolutely love to see.

A very favourite blog, Lynne Chapman’s “An Illustrators Life for Me” mixes “everyday” sketches with images from works in progress and lots of other stuff besides. And a good webite too!

Not all illustrator sites go for such depth or process or closeness. Some go for the simpler approach: Peter Bailey, the illustrator for my novel A Boy Called Mouse (out in October) shows a selection of his completed artwork that speaks for itself.

Why I am I so into pictures at the moment? Maybe it's because last weekend I went to see an exhibition of original artwork by Gillian MacClure at Newby Hall, on its way up to Seven Stories. All those roughs and sketches and sketchbooks reminded me of the boxes of pens & paints hidden under the dust on my shelves.

On the other hand, painting with words is so much easier to correct.

Come on, do tell. What illustrator sites and blogs do you love?


Stroppy Author said...

Fabiono Fiorin, the illustrator of my Henry books has a fantastic website - except for the sound. I hate websites that force sound on you: (only the italian version works)

And Sarah McIntyre's website is superb:

Penny Dolan said...

Fabiono Florin has a pretty fantastic name too! I had come across a link to Sarah somewhere, but forgot to bookmark the website.
So I'll look for both of these. Totally agree re intrusive sound.

Stroppy Author said...

sorry, typo - fabiano :-)

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

An interesting blog Penny and yes writers are at a disadvantage. I've been sneaky and used one of my illustrator's pics as a template for my new website using Wordpress (still not complete) This works as every page comes up with visual interest.
If you're a photographer that helps too (esp if you can include photographs of yourself wearing quirky shoes! (as in Nicola Morgan). I enjoy some blogs written in foreign languages, enturely for their photographs, as in Liivian Talossa's blog:
and Ervilha cor de Rosa's blog:
On second thoughts that's quite scary coming from a writer. Does it mean words don't count?