At the time of writing, I'm a college student at The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City making my way through personal illustration projects between classes. About a year ago, I walked into The Strand's children's book section to study the use of typography for a Graphic Design assignment and instead spent an hour in a tiny child's chair pouring over the beautiful illustrations of Felicita Sala and Susanna Mattiangeli's "The Hideout," Jon Klassen's "We Found a Hat," Brendan Wenzel's "They All Saw A Cat" and B. B. Cronin's "The Lost House." I remember thinking, "Wait... this [as in illustrating picture books] is something you can do?"
Before then, I had tried painting, graphic design, writing, print-making and animation. The only thing that had felt close to "right" were a few illustrated essays I'd made for my academic classes. I'd made watercolor illustrations in high school, but was discouraged by my dream college's lack of an Illustration program, so in the three years that I'd been there I had mostly abandoned illustration as a possibility. Then, when I came across so many exceptional picture books in The Strand, I was smitten. It felt like the perfect landing place for me, if I could only get my skills to match my enthusiasm.
The purpose of this blog, then, is to document my progress as an illustrator. Picture book illustration is deceptively simple. In reality it requires a masterful balance of discipline and spontaneity. On top of that, one needs to have perfected anatomy for character design, color theory for mood, composition for story-telling, and being original while doing all of that, which is a pretty tall order! I've spent the last few months giving myself illustration prompts and even writing my own manuscript to use for illustrations, but I haven't had a good place to document that work. Though I have Instagram (instagram.com/cianamacaroni), it's too public a platform for experimentation, and too easily distracting. I felt that a blog would be the perfect place. On top of that, I am becoming increasingly interested in children's education, and felt that this would be the perfect place to document that work, too.
And with that, this blog is born! This will be my place for learning, failing, re-learning, scribbling, scratching and sketching. I'll be documenting experiments that go wrong and right. Consider it one long drawn-out train of thought. Or one long drawn-out fart, if the work is going badly. (Flatulent humor will always have a place here.) In the spirit of *process,* I'd like to end by sharing a notecard diagram which describes the creative cycle of every artwork. A teacher drew it for me once and I've kept it taped above my desk ever since.