Today, on this first Sunday of the month when I tend to shine the spotlight on those illustrators new to the field, I welcome up-and-coming freelance illustrator, Liz Chernov, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. I like the image above. Don’t you? I want to know more about that dynamic dog-and-girl duo. Let’s get right to it, since Liz is here to share some art, as well as tell us all about herself and her plans:
“I became interested in illustration at about seven years old, growing up in Queens, New York. My brothers were admirers of graffiti and comic book art, and being the youngest of six children and sort of a tomboy, I began to take interest in it myself. I’d sit at the kitchen table, watching my brothers lettering with Prismacolor markers, and sometimes they’d teach me a thing or two. Whether it be ‘Bubble-letters,’ or ‘Wild-style,’ I found myself pulled in by the energy of the drawings.
Inevitably, my tastes changed as I began reading Shakespeare’s plays and books by Jane Austen, Frances Hodgson Burnett, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, and the Brontë sisters. As with all great literature, they made my imagination soar.
I’ve been drawing (and teaching art sporadically) for over ten years, but just recently decided to create a body of work for publication as an illustrator at the end of 2009.
I find that artists like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Dave McKean, Brian and Wendy Froud, and Jim Henson are great inspirations for my work. I am also inspired by turn-of-the-century objects, keys, cogs, wrought iron gates , random things that all seemed to be carefully made in a somewhat flamboyant way.
(Click to enlarge.)
In my own illustration, I use acrylic on paper. I paint thin layers, allowing the luminosity of the paper to come through a bit. My work is basically classic illustration. I’d like to think that I’m following in the footsteps of artists like Rackham but giving it my own spin.
I live in a coastal New England town, and aside from illustrating, I enjoy walking the beach with my husband and looking at the various wonders that nature can wash ashore, such as bleached wood, sea glass, and huge hollow pieces of driftwood. I also enjoy playing with my dog, Crowley Bean, and spending time with my very large family.
(Click to enlarge.)
I decided to become an illustrator, because I didn’t have the fortitude to work in an office full-time or function in the ‘real’ world. I remember going to see Cirque du Soleil and thinking, ‘I wonder what the world would be like if it looked and behaved like this.’ I suppose it could go either way: it could be an absolute madhouse, or it could be an amazing adventure. I, for one, wouldn’t mind giving it a try. I guess that is why I illustrate: it’s my way of conjuring that madhouse/adventure.
(Click to enlarge.)
Currently, I am juggling three book projects of my own, which I will submit for publication once they are complete: Priscilla, about the seemingly talentless daughter of the stupendous trapeze artists ‘The Flying Pimms’; The Search for Closet Monsters, in which a little girl moves to a new town only to find herself shunned by her classmates when she shares her love of mythical creatures; and finally, I am working on an ABC book, the contents of which are top-secret right now, but please keep checking my website, and it will eventually reveal itself.
What’s special about illustrating to me is the story. I know that seems obvious for an illustrator, but what keeps me excited about art and life is a good story. Through my work, I endeavor to learn the craftsmanship of being a good visual storyteller.“
There is more art, as well as more sketches, at Liz’s site, as she’s mentioned, so be sure to check it out if you like what you see here. Best of luck to her, and now we know where to find her in cyberspace in order to keep in touch/follow her career.
As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New folks are always welcome.
Great news, everyone: As I’m typing this, I got notification on the Kidlitosphere listserv that regular kicker, Jone—whose job, as you know, was in jeopardy (she’s mentioned it here for the past couple of Sundays)—not only found out that she gets to keep her full-time library position, but also that she was awarded the Altrusa Library Service Award! This is such great news, and congratulations, Jone! (Here’s more info that I found on her blog.)
Okay, my kicks, though that really is the best one of all:
1). Today’s featured illustrator told me the nicest things about what 7-Imp has meant to her over the years, especially when she was taking steps toward becoming a full-time illustrator. And that meant a lot to me.
2). This Dorothea Lange quote (from this NPR interview with her biographer): “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” I not only love that, but I thought of Jeremy when I heard it.
3). Speaking of NPR, The New Pornographers’ new CD is streaming at NPR until its release on May 4th.
4). On Wednesday of this week, I got to see a good friend and her wee adorable boy and FINALLY visit East Nashville’s own children’s bookshop.
5). Jeannine Atkins pays attention well and is a thoughtful observer of this world, though I know you all already know that. She remembered that my girls and I had posted pics of new-found robins’ eggs in our yard, and she sent the book pictured here, along with a few other surprises.
6). Chatting with Eisha on instant-messenger. A good distraction from writing.
7). I am now the proud owner of a limited-edition hand-crafted book from artists Scott Teplin and Mark Wagner. It is very funny, very clever, very entertaining, and handsomely-made. It’s called Fortune. My favorite page—the most warped, sick-humored one, of course—is pictured below. (The book also includes the fortune-cookie fortune, “Help! I’m trapped in a fortune cookie factory and can’t find my way out!”)
7½). Scott Teplin’s driver’s license photo is STILL MAKING ME LAUGH.
As I type this, I’m making plans to see a good friend tonight, have some yummy pizza, and down a bottle of Shiraz with her help. UPDATE: The heavens have opened up, and middle Tennessee is getting flooded with water, blatantly disregarding my weekend plans. But I’m glad everyone I know and love is okay. ‘Cause, whew, it’s pretty bad here.
Another bonus: This triptych my four-year-old made in her art class:
What are YOUR kicks this week?