A look at the artistic process of the brilliant artist behind the look of the book.
To continue from the first post, I had all of the poems, and I was happy with them. But a book like this needed some kind of artwork. I wasn’t sure if I could find an artist who not only would be willing to work on the project, but also inspired and creative and awesome. I did know one artist, though, someone who did amazing work in all kinds of different media, so I sought her out.
Danie Plott, the artist in question, was someone with whom I’d worked – and even directed! – years before at Fountain Hills Youth Theatre. She was an actress in a few of the plays I had done and painted sets for many others. Since our time at the theatre she had become a widely experienced painter, sculptor, and artiste extraordinaire. I sent her the poems and asked if she was interested. To my delighted surprise, she loved them and got started right away!
The first iterations of the artwork took the form of illustrations and paintings. I’ve always liked the different images Danie has sent me for the book, but she wasn’t satisfied. She wanted something more interesting, more dynamic, as was her style.
She decided then that she would like to illustrate the backgrounds but create three-dimensional figures of each naughty faerie and photograph them against the backgrounds.
You can see the Cookie Brownie in his first, flat version, fully illustrated above, and his cute, pudgy, stitched shirt and overalls-wearing, 3D version to the left.
The 3D model, she explained to me, was clay wrapped around a wire-frame then painted, and clothed in actual, tiny garments made by Danie herself. I was blown away by her vision and her skill in manifesting that vision. Look at him! He’s a real faerie, no matter what he’s made of! Amazing!
The final version of the artwork, and by far the best, was to pose the models in real environments. The addition of the three-dimensional, real-world backgrounds really breathed life into the characters. All of a sudden they were frolicking in the pantry, or gardening in the grass, and they looked fantastic! I always thought, I’ll admit rather conceitedly, that the poetry would be the star of this book; but after seeing what Danie had wrought, boy was I wrong!
I think anyone who reads this book will be enchanted and delighted by the poems within it, but they will fall in love with it because of the gorgeous art by a spectacular artist.