Happy 2012, everyone! Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, 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.
I hope you rang in the new year just the way you wanted to. It’s the first Sunday of the month, so that means I invite a student illustrator or brand-spankin’-shiny-new illustrator over to share some art and say a few words. Today, I have a new illustrator, whose name is Lia Marcoux and who graduated in 2009. Let’s get right to it. She’s here to introduce herself, and I raise my cup of coffee to her.
“Hi. I’m Lia, a children’s illustrator living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I live with my boyfriend and I’m an adult, which means I get to eat mango crisp for dinner and, in fact, I just did. I decided I wanted to be a professional artist and storyteller after a deep meaningful relationship with the first season of Digimon (I wish I was kidding), but while I was attending the Rhode Island School of Design, my interests shifted from animation to publishing. I work in watercolor and digital media. When I say ‘digital media,’ I mostly just mean the ‘multiply’ blend mode in Photoshop. Once in a while, I throw in a layer mask for kicks, but I rely on the watercolor painting to determine most of the important decisions about the the final piece. I also teach art at Shady Hill School, which is amazing! My students are skillful and creative, and I leave work every day excited to make art for kids like them.
Here are five paintings from the last year or so — I think the earliest is Cassie Loves Bugs.
I remember that this piece pulled me out of something of an art slump, but I had to take an unwelcome break halfway through to go to my then part-time job at a cupcake shop. Being a cupcake shop girl might sound whimsical and fun, but it was lousy at the best of times and even worse when all I wanted to do was paint. I think it’s then that, working in a hurry, you make the snap decision to put an ‘s’ at the end of a Spanish word.
The Haunting of Granite Falls is a mock cover for a wonderful book by Eva Ibbotson. All of Ms. Ibbotson’s stories are wonderful — I think Kevin Hawkes illustrated the majority of her books (and does a great job), but I’m not sure how the rest of the illustration world can keep their paws off of them. Her stories are visually rich, totally original, and a little bittersweet. I’m a huge reader of children’s literature, and if there were a genie that only granted wishes regarding which projects illustrators could have, I would wish to illustrate a story of hers.
Kids was a little series I made for my website re-design. My favorite is the pair of the unfortunate young boy who eats while birds stare at him. The possibilities are endless. Eating a clam cake while seagulls stare! Eating a pretzel while crows stare! Eating a dead mouse while owls let their gaze linger! I’m inspiring myself over here!
The Keep [pictured at the top of the post] is a piece where very little of the color composition from the watercolor painting remains. The original of the painting (which I consider to be about the halfway mark of a piece) is mostly grey and red, but when I moved into digital I eventually landed on a desaturated green palette. That’s why I love combining watercolor and digital — I get the texture of the paint and paper, but the specific control of a computer. My boyfriend’s sweater makes an appearance here, as well as a fur coat from Murder She Wrote.
Lovebirds is my most recent piece — only about two weeks old, actually! I’ve been having a wonderful and busy quarter, but it was nice to take a holiday break and return to personal work. I love doing research, but I’m pretty undiscriminating, so it’s a mish-mosh. The ‘painting within a painting’ (I’m so Inception right now) and the girl are based on a painting of a Spanish maiden, which I can no longer find, and the building is German. If you’re an avid reference image collector, I recommend Pinterest. It’s not for the weak of heart, though. It can own you.
So, here’s your takeaway: read Eva Ibbotson, eat more mangoes, and visit me at my website — www.liamarcoux.com — or my print shop — www.liamarcoux.bigcartel.com. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Julie for having me!“
Well, that was fun. She made me laugh, and I like her style. In more ways than one. Here’s to Lia’s future as an illustrator, and here’s hoping this isn’t the last we hear from her.
All images are used with permission of Lia Marcoux.
Happy New Year, dear kickers. I think kicks one through seven for me can be embodied in this here picture on the right.
For any newer 7-Imp readers, that’s my bestest of all friends, Eisha, who co-founded this site with me. She was in town for the holidays, and I got to see her more than once. What a treat.
That picture was taken late — and after I may or may not have had a glass or two or three of very good red wine. It’s a happy tired that I am there.
I hope your holidays were good, one and all. I also hope you’re feeling good about 2012. I myself have my work cut out for me—gotta get back to work, gotta get caught up on email, and gotta do some manuscript edits for this—but my life is filled with abundant blessings of just about every stripe for which I’m grateful, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get crackin’.
I very much enjoy talking illustration and picture books here at 7-Imp (I enjoyed looking back this week on 2011 in this post), and I’m especially grateful for those who stop by to kick with me every Sunday. And that’s ’cause … well, I’ll speak for myself when I say—at the risk of sounding like Stuart Smalley—that, when I stop to notice the little gratefuls (as my children call them), it makes life a little better.
I’ll leave you with one more kick — the fact that I just discovered the music of Low Cut Connie. For real, I know you’re all, Jules is always runnin’ her mouth about music and I think I’ll just skip this blah blah blah on she goes again blah-dee-blah, but NO REALLY. Hit the play button, turn it up to eleven, put on your best dance face, and get your swerve on. It’s dance o’clock is what it is.
BUT WAIT. Not to be outdone at all is Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, who will also get your feet movin’:
What are YOUR kicks this week? Also, here’s hoping you grab 2012 by the balls (classy, I know, but I couldn’t resist) and make it all your own.