I got to ask Kim about her process and her life in general, and here is what she shared:
E: I so love the composition of this picture. Tell me, how did you decide on this angle?
K: I loved the thought of a girl riding up to a house on a horse; it was such a poignant scene in the book. What girl wouldn’t love to do that? I did some initial sketches from my head and showed them to my studio group. They gave me some great feedback- that the streets in Catalina would all be build on hills, so I angled the sidewalk to show that. I wanted her to look tentative, and I knew I wanted a physical barrier between her and the door.
Here are some shots of the piece in process:
I went around Seal Beach looking for the perfect house, which brings me to question 2!
E: Is the house in the picture modeled on an actual house? If so, how did you decide on it?
K: I like to walk and run in Seal Beach, and that’s when I do my best creative thinking. I tried to imagine what kind of house an intellectual man and his son would rent as a getaway… it had to have charm, cool plants, be a little funky. I didn’t want it to look perfectly manicured but not run down, and it had to have comfortable places for sitting outside and reading. I took pictures of three different houses, and this one won out. I think it was the staghorn fern and the tree. I’m definitely a bit of a plant geek.
E: You mention that you tried a new technique with this piece. Tell me about it.
K: I love Tony DiTerlizzi and have been drooling over his illustrations in the SpiderwickChronicles. Such amazing linework, and done so masterfully in nib pen. He, in turn, thanked Arthur Rackham in the book dedication for being his inspiration. I had artwork from both artists on my desk as I was inking and I was very inspired by both of them. However, when I started to think about color, I knew I didn’t want to try to be too realistic and plan out a lighting scheme with watercolor like I normally do; I wanted to be a little more playful. I wanted to use chunky blocks of color and to make it look like rough offset printing. I’m happy with the result, and also amazed at how easy it is to change things when it’s digital!
E: Tell us about when and where you work.
K: Here’s the schedule on a perfect day. Up at 6:30, coffee in hand. Morning panic ensues, boy to school, man to work. Grab the dog, head out for a run. Come home, deep breath, head down at the desk and blast out a few hours of work. I then realize I should shower before I see anyone. Smelling better, I get a few more hours of work done before the boy is home from middle school. I work in an office in my house that adjoins the sunroom. It always seems to be a mess but the chaos is organized chaos. That’s what I keep telling myself, at least. It’s a great space but I live with the normal work-at-home issues like laundry and dishes, and a dog who endlessly wants to play ball.
|The drawing desk in the office|
|The view to the sunroom|
E: Do you have a preferred medium?
K: I love pen and ink and I love watercolor. Sometimes I’ll add colored pencils over my watercolors. I’ve been working on a project in this medium for a while, and I find that to keep myself fresh and not bored I have to break out every so often and experiment. I had a fun artist playdate at my house a couple of months ago and did collage with corrugated cardboard, torn paper and Sharpie marker. I’ll always go back to ink and watercolor, but I would like to pursue this digital collage color a little more.
E: I know you are involved in an interesting project of your own. What can you share?
K: It’s a project really close to my heart- a graphic novel in watercolor about a surfer girl whose life changes for the weird after she swims through a cave. It’s goofy and fun and my protagonist is like the daughter I never had. I am fortunate enough to have a very supportive agent who will be taking it out into the wide world to look for a home in October. Fingers crossed!
E: What advice would you give people who’d like to break into the art world?
K: We all bring a little piece of new to the drawing board. Stay inspired, have something to say, and keep your skills up at all times. It helps have an insatiable desire to learn and the ability to take constructive criticism. It’s a privilege to be an artist, and not to be taken lightly. Be a good one. Oh, and make arty friends. Artists totally need a support group, especially if you’re working isolated at home.
E: Do you have a web presence?
K: I do, though I really have to update my personal website (it’s on the list.) You can find more of my work at www.kimdwinell.com. My graphic novel also has a website, you can check that out at www.surfsidegirls.com.