Friday, March 28, 2008

My Very Modest Muse

**Night Performance** Brian Nishimoto

Children's book illustration is where I hope to end up some day. I have wanted to write and illustrate children's books since I was young and still have a whole slew of Young Author's Faire books written by yours truly on my book shelves.

Some of my favorite artist include Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things are and In the Night Kitchen), Mary GrandPre (illustrator of the American Harry Potter book covers, as well as several other children's books), Holly Hobbie (Toot and Puddle), Arthur Rackham (Peter Pan, A Midsummer Night's Dream) and John William Waterhouse (Okay, so he wasn't a children's book illustrator but The Lady of Shalott is my all time favorite painting... and stunning to see in person!!)

But my favorite artist is, without a doubt, Brian Nishimoto.

** Into the Woods** Brian Nishimoto

I discovered Brian's work at my local library a few years ago. My library had a gallery set up for local artists and when I saw Brian's amazingly beautiful watercolors I just could not stop staring! I got his email address from the librarians and sent him an email asking if he gave lessons.

While Brian didn't give lessons, he was looking for a painting companion and he found that in me. For a little over a year, Brian and I met every Thursday and painted together. Now, I'm no watercolorist. After a year of getting my hands dirty with Windsor & Newton, I called it quits and went back to my Design Spectracolors. But in that year I learned a lot about the creative process. I also finally gave myself a chance at being an artist.

**Rat Lullaby** Brian Nishimoto

Brian and I entered a competition together. I found the W.I.N Competition in a book on children's book publishing and we each entered. I entered in the Dummy book category (the requirements were to write and illustrate a 32 page children's book with 4 full color spreads and the rest in black and white) and Brian entered in the Illustration category (the requirements were to send in one full color book cover).

I didn't win (though I did hear that I made it into the top ten in my category-- hurray!!) but Brian was given an Honorable Mention... and picked as the editor's favorite! Very well deserved!

Brian is a very modest guy and will be horrified to read my incessant praise, I'm sure! But before I go, I have to show off some of his work, which you can find on his website ModestMuse.com. I'm sure you will be just as blown away as me! When my family packed up and moved to Texas a year and a half ago, ending my Thursday night painting sessions with Brian was one of the hardest things I had to do. We still keep in touch and show each other our latest work through emails, but it sure isn't the same as sitting across from each other each week and watching sketches come to life with each layer of paint.

I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do! I know Gracie is a fan. As a parting gift, Brian gave me a framed copy of his The Little Mermaid illustration (my favorite!) and it hangs in the girl's room.

**The Kiss** Brian Nishimoto

**Familiar Strangers** Brian Nishimoto

**No Vichy For Me Please** Brian Nishimoto

**Once Upon A Time** Brian Nishimoto

Even his pencil sketches are a work of art!! And another note before I go: the sketchbook Brian gave me (another parting gift) is where each of my elegant snobs was born. We may not paint together anymore, but I am still inspired!

12 comments:

Cathy said...

I'm in awe of both of you! What a wonderful talent to have...let me know when you do publish your first children's book (I know you will one day)because I want a copy (maybe even personally signed for my boys)!

Drawing and singing are two talents I wish I possessed...I must say I'm a little closer to possessing drawing skills than holding a note of any kind lol

Chris Stone said...

great post! and thanks for turning me on to another artist.

Rosebud Collection said...

What wonderful work..thanks for sharing..

FrenchGardenHouse said...

I'm an instant fan! His work is so great. I love Children's books more than anything, and am excited for your dream of writing and illustrating a book for children.
I have so enjoyed reading your posts! Hope you are having a happy weekend!
xo Lidy

ThisOldHenHouse said...

wow, stunning work, but with a bit of a (dark? maybe) undertone... I cant quite put my finger on it... maybe thats why I like his pieces so much.

I can see where he found a companion in you, your pieces are equally as captivating!

you'd make an excellent childrens book illustrator!

Nikki said...

Very inspiring! I bet you do miss painting with him. I can't wait until you publish your fist children's book, it will be fabulous! ;)

Rosebud Collection said...

You are so cute..Thank you for the lovely wishes..I really appreciated them..Was so happy to see you visit..

Helen said...

Wow! What talent. I would think illustrating children's books would be the unlimate dream job :)

Callooh Callay said...

These are beautiful! I have a huge collection of children's books (and the kids thought I was buying the books for them!). Good luck in breaking into that market--you certainly have the talent!

Cicada Studio said...

Thanks for bringing this talent to my attention!

casserole said...

Wow! His work is breathtaking! No wonder he inspires you!

IslandBaby said...

Absolutely amazing illustrations! I would buy any book you illustrated!

One of my favorite children's book illustrators is Mo Willems....the Knuffle Bunny books are adorable!

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