Archive for September, 2010

Short Reports: Owen Freeman vs. Mary Poppins

Meg here! We’ll be starting up next month’s round of posts October 11th, but in the meantime I’ll be trying to post throughout the next couple of weeks with some Short Reports. Please enjoy!

“Jane and Michael and Mary Poppins spread the crumbs in a circle on the ground, and presently, one by one at first, and then in twos and threes, the birds came down from St. Paul’s.”

My mother read us the the Mary Poppins books when we were young, and ever since I’ve always had a fascination with the very real but still fantastical settings where the story takes place.  Also, the original pen and ink illustrations by the incomparable Mary Shepard (daughter of E. H. Shepard) in the books stayed with me much longer than the glimpses I saw of the Disney movie.
This scene is from the “Bird Woman” chapter of the first book by P.L. Travers where the children and Mary Poppins take the bus through the city to see the bird woman at St. Paul’s Cathedral. I especially like re-reading this chapter because it is an largely unchanged place where the story and the actual city intersect.

My name is Owen Freeman, I’m an illustrator from Los Angeles currently working in London. You can see more work at my portfolio.

September 27, 2010 at 11:45 am 2 comments


Hello! I apologize for posting slightly out of schedule (who uses the internet on a Saturday!?), but this month I made a last minute decision to retire From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and begin illustrating a new book! I’d gotten everything I wanted out of FTMUFOMBEF, now it’s time for something new!

Holes, by Louis Sachar, was a real treat to read back in middle school. And it was a real treat to re-read this past week as a 25 year old.

There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. There was once a very large lake here, the largest in Texas. That was over a hundred years ago. Now it is just a dry, flat wasteland.

Stanley Yelnats was given a choice. The judge said, “You may go to jail, or you may go to Camp Green Lake.”

Stanley was from a poor family. He had never been to camp before.

September 25, 2010 at 12:07 am 3 comments

Championship Coon Hunt To Be Held

Posted by: Israel Sanchez

Book: Where The Red Fern Grows

A few days after Billy’s visit to Rubin’s grave he is called to his grandpa’s store.  Grandpa surprises Billy by asking him if he wants to enter a local coon hunting contest, all the best hunters in the area will be there and the winner will receive a gold cup.  Billy blurts out, “It’s all right with me, just tell me what to do.”

Billy and his grandpa get the idea to invite Billy’s dad along, but with all the work that needs to be done on the farm his dad doesn’t think he’ll be able to go.  He also doesn’t want to leave Billy’s mom and his sisters alone.  That’s when Billy’s mom steps in and scolds her husband for making excuses.

“Why, all the work is practically done. I don’t know of one thing you couldn’t put off for a few days. Why don’t you go? You haven’t been anywhere since I don’t know when.”

On another note, I noticed that Billy’s look changes in every illustration, I never really did proper design sketches of him so I redraw him every time I come up with a new image.  I hope it doesn’t bother you all too much.

September 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm 5 comments

“The Giver,” Chapter 7

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Illustrated by: Lucy Knisley

Finally, the ceremony of Twelve begins, and Jonas is fraught with anticipation over his Community assignment– how he will spend his adult life serving the Community. As number 19 in the order of his birthyear, he has to wait for the first eighteen year-twelves to receive their assignments, but when it comes time for his number to be called, the Chief Elder skips him!

In this society of monotony, such an aberration to the normal procedure is met with fear and bewilderment. It is especially so for Jonas at the center of the event, who is so cognizant of the rules.The community is a place where the rules of “sameness” are the basis of a society, and being able to fit in is the be-all end-all. This moment rips Jonas out of the monotony that is his and his community’s ideal.

This is a perfect moment for a young-adult book, because  adolescents are so often learning and testing rules of conduct. I spent a lot of time at age 12 wondering what I did wrong in various situations. Getting in trouble was pretty common, and public embarrassment was dreaded slightly less than decapitation.

I loved finally drawing a good crowd scene within the community. It’s fascinating to imagine what this society has done to eradicate personal differences as much as possible, but to sneak in subtle differences within the group.

I won’t go into why Jonas was skipped over, because it’s revealed in the next chapter, and I want to save it! Stay tuned…

September 17, 2010 at 9:32 am 5 comments


I don’t seem able to get it straight in my mind…”

Hello! I chose to draw McMurphy deep in thought for this post because of a specific turning point in the book.  McMurphy is shocked to learn that most of the Acutes in the hospital are not committed like himself.   He freaks out, “Are you bullshitting me?[…] Are you guys bullshitting me!”

McMurphy doesn’t understand why they would stay in the hospital.  Billy Bibbit breaks down trying to explain to him why…

“You think I wuh-wuh-wuh-want  to stay in here?  You think I wouldn’t like a con-con-vertible and a guh-guh-girl friend?  But did you ever have people l-l-laughing at you?[…] Oh-oh, you -you t-talk like we stayed in here because we liked it! Oh-it’s n-no use…”

I think at this point McMurphy has to decide whether or not being the leader of the ward is worth him risking a release date from the hospital or a trip to the shock shop (electroshock therapy). Next month’s post will be the answer to that question.

For this post I wanted to take a break from the usual loud colors I’ve been using for these drawings.  I hope you like the drawing!  Thanks for reading!

Posted by: PMurphy
Book: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (purchase on Amazon)

September 17, 2010 at 7:27 am 1 comment

The Neverending Story – meanwhile

As so many others here have experienced, one can be quite busy as illustrator, especially when one’s deadlines all seem to conspire to fall roughly on the same date. So unfortunately I haven’t had the time this month to deliver you all a fresh new illustration (in so far as they are fresh and new at all). I’m currently working on a picturebook, a book for early readers and drawing for a computer game, all the while trying to get ready for my move abroad, so my responsibilities are weighing rather heavily and my time is stretched somewhat thin.

However due to the fact that I’m also spending quite some time in trains these days I can show you some doodles I’ve been making in preparation for the upcoming illustrations. Currently I’m trying to get a decent looking troll design.
Here then, are some sketches for various creatures and plants needed for the next two drawings. (I’ve obscured the sketch for one of the pictures as I don’t want to spoil it already).

Once I’ve gotten everything done and hopefully have landed securely in Portland I’ll get back to posting what I’m supposed to be posting here.

So standby!

September 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm 2 comments

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Posted by: John Martz

These two very old people are the father and mother of Mr. Bucket. Their names are Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine. And these two very old people are the father and mother of Mr.s Bucket. Their names are Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina.

This is Mr. Bucket. This is Mrs. Bucket. Mr. and Mrs. Bucket have a small boy whose name is Charlie Bucket.

This is Charlie.

How d’you do? And how d’you do? And how do d’you do again?

He is pleased to meet you.

The whole of this family — the six grownups (count them) and little Charlie Bucket — live together in a small wooden house on the edge of a great town.

Their house wasn’t nearly large enough for so many people, and life was extremely uncomfortable for them all. There were only two rooms in the place altogether and there was only one bed. The bed was given to the four old grandparents because they were so old and tired. They were so tired, they never got out of it.

And so begins my take on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The book was a favourite growing up. I read it, along with its sequel and Dahl’s The Twits countless times. And as much as I loved (and still love) Roald Dahl’s, half of the enjoyment of his books was always due to the inimitable illustrations of Quentin Blake. He is one tough act to follow.

This series of illustrations will be a little different than my Hitchhiker’s Guide pieces. I’m sticking with a limited palette, and my compositions will be inspired by comics (even if they don’t necessarily read as comics). It’s difficult to decide which images from the book to isolate, so this layout allows me to do a series of spot illustrations all tied together into one picture.

In the town itself, actually within sight of the house in which Charlie lived, there was an ENORMOUS CHOCOLATE FACTORY!

Twice a day, on this way to and from school, little Charlie Bucket had to walk right past the gates of the factory. And every time he went by, he would begin to walk very, very slowly, and he would hold his nose high in the air and take long deep sniffs of gorgeous chocolatey smell all around him.

I am aching to draw the scenes in which the various horrible children suffer their fates in the depths of the factory. Luckily, however, there are still a good number of scenes before we even are introduced to Mr. Wonka, which allows me more time to work on his character design, and his accompanying band of Oompa Loompas. I promise there will be no inspiration gleaned from Tim Burton’s version.

Visit my personal blog for a look at my sketches and process for this piece.

September 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm 8 comments

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