It’s the first Sunday of the month, and when it is such a day ’round these 7-Imp parts, I feature an illustration student or someone otherwise brand-new to illustration.
Today, I welcome student Deborah Hocking. I’m opening today’s post with my favorite of all the pieces she sent. Let’s get right to her introduction, since she’s here to say a few words in addition to sharing art.
I thank her for visiting today.
Deborah: I majored in art in college, and although I had thought of pursuing a career in painting, I began to realize that the art that really drew me in was children’s illustration. I remember going to a large art museum, and the exhibit that really got me excited was one down in the basement on picture book illustration, rather than all of the big and famous works in the large halls above. I fell in love with the work of Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger, in particular, and began dreaming of becoming an illustrator.
After college, I had the opportunity to work in France and ended up spending six wonderful years there. My job there didn’t permit me to work full-time as an artist, so I put my dream of becoming an illustrator on hold for those years. It was a time, however, of being influenced by the beauty and artistry that permeates life there, which has made its way into my work. These are some pieces that I did during that time:
In France, I also became acquainted with the work of children’s book illustrators Rebecca Dautremer and Beatrice Alemagna. Their work is so very beautiful and moving and, like the work of Lisbeth Zwerger, confirmed in me that I wanted to be a part of this kind of children’s illustration. I am deeply drawn to the creativity, whimsy, narrative aspect, and simple beauty found in children’s illustration.
When I moved back to the States last year, to my hometown of Portland, Oregon …
… I was stoked to finally be able to pursue becoming an illustrator full-time. I enrolled in a children’s book illustration class taught by Victoria Jamieson, which gave me a ton of direction and help along this path, and I’m super excited to be starting in this fascinating field!
I work most naturally in watercolor, pen-and-ink, pencil, and colored pencil. I love the washes, layers, line work, expressibility, and versatility that these mediums allow. Yet at the same time, I really enjoy trying new media and materials, exploring ways they can be mixed to arrive at my visual goal.
Currently, I am working on an alphabet book, where the illustration for each letter contains a strong narrative, filled with objects beginning with that letter that support the story. It’s a fun challenge! Here is one finished piece, as well as some working sketches and character studies:
I’m also working on writing and illustrating a story based on a Central African tale about animals who join together to dig a well for their jungle community and how they deal with clever, crafty Rabbit, who doesn’t help with the work and steals water at night. Here are some sketches:
You can see more of my work at www.DeborahHockingIllustration.com.
Thank you so much, Jules, for this feature!
All images are used by permission of Deborah Hocking.
Note for any new readers: 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 kickers are always welcome.
1) I sometimes volunteer to do story times at Parnassus Books in Nashville, and I really love reading to the children. It’s the thing I miss the most about children’s librarianship, reading to groups of children and hearing their reactions to books. I did this again yesterday and had a blast. There’s nothing like showing up and feeling only halfway awake, operating on half a cup of coffee, so I asked if they could yell “GOOD MORNING” to me. Sure enough, they did. That did the trick. I was awake after that.
2) At said story time, an old childhood friend showed up from Atlanta with his wife to surprise me and say a quick hello on their way to a Nashville concert.
3) Tomorrow—TOMORROW, I say—my co-author and I will be turning in all kinds of stuff for a big ol’ book deadline. We’re very near the finish line. Granted, some errant page numbers we are seeking from some of our sources continue to taunt us, but we’ll conquer them one way or another.
4) A very thoughtful surprise in the mail from my very thoughtful friend. Did you even know chocolates could be so beautiful? (Aesthetically pleasing though they may be, I had no trouble eating them. I’m here to report the caramel-apple one was the dreamiest.)
6) Oh, how could I forget? The ALA Youth Media Awards announcements on Monday were very exciting. Such a fun day for children’s and YA librarians. And I appreciated texts from some of my friends who were there in the room where the winners were announced (while I watched from home with my mug of coffee, blanket wrapped around me).
7) I’m saving the best kick for last. Deborah, featured here today, wrote this to me in an email:
I’ve been so encouraged by how generous, helpful, and welcoming people in this field have been.
I’d say that, on the whole, it’s true what she says. Picture book people, in particular, all the time strike me as genuinely friendly people. I’m glad this is Deborah’s experience.
One more thing:
May he rest in peace …
What are YOUR kicks this week?