A Little Birdy and Some Real Talent

Last night I started a project that I’ve been thinking about for awhile. Honestly, I think what inspired it was the cover of the new book that Hubbs and I are reading -one of my all time favorite books – Swiss Family Robinson. We bought a new copy to read and I’ve especially enjoyed the beautiful illustration on the cover. It looks like it was scratched or etched, but I’m not sure about illustrator Scott McKowen’s specific technique. Its amazing to notice all the detail and depth that can be created just by varying the width of little colored lines.

The way he’s treated the shadows and reflections, for example, is particularly interesting. All he’s done is adjust number and weight of the scratch marks, and it becomes clear where the sand ends and the water begins. Our eyes know exactly what the various black shapes represent. Its quite impressive and I might be tempted to buy more books like this just so I can be amazed by the covers!

So my project, of which scratching out this bird illustration was the first phase, was inspired by all this. I used an old piece of scratchboard and an exacto knife and made a nice little pile of black dust on the desk. Compared to the great skill exhibited above, mine looks pretty messy. But I think that the final project is going to be great. I’ll post when its finished.


2 responses to “A Little Birdy and Some Real Talent

  1. I still can’t believe that you just made the bird by scratching a piece of board; such a great technique and it adds such richness and depth! Great job, sweetie, I love it – and it’s perfect for your letterpress machine!

  2. I love the little bird so much! It reminds me of this piece of carved soapstone that Uncle Steve gave me when I was tiny. I wonder what he’s doing these days.. I want to hire you to come etch all the british garden birds for me!

    I was so pleased to see your comment on my blog, but it also made me a bit sad as we seem to be cut from similar cloth and yet I know so little about you. I suppose we’re still pretty young though, and I don’t plan an always living 6000 miles from everybody!

    I really look forward to seeing more of your endeavors–it looks like most of what you’re trying to learn I’m trying to learn as well, so hopefully we’ll both have plenty of successes and amusing failures to share. 🙂

    Please give my love to everyone, and if you see Grandpa Ed, a huge kiss for him.

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