Pembral Forgets and a holiday

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Mid November 2020 I was asked to illustrate Pembral Forgets by Steve Tubbs. It’s a story about fall leaves, good food and an absentminded boy who forgets something important.

In mid December I took a social media break in order to focus more intensely on my illustrations. (There’s 38 pages of illustrations!) I’m glad I took the break as I think my illustrations for Pembral Forgets are some of my best work so far. The story written by Steve Tubbs was great inspiration!

I finished the illustrations and uploaded the digital files for the artist book reproductions on December 21 and told the author Steve Tubbs that Pembral Forgets by Steve Tubbs was now available! (You can preview the reproductions of the artist book via this link here)

Then I shut off my screens and have since been recovering from my creative efforts. Reading books and cooking are my go-to restoration methods and it’s really helped to spend time deeply reading in a novel! And trying new-to-me recipes! Truth be told I’m still in this hibernate and recovery mode.

Still, because it may amuse, I wanted to share some of my working process on this artist book project.

Since fall leaves are a theme in Pembral Forgets I studied leaves I found in my yard and neighborhood. I both drew them in my sketchbook and photographed them….here’s two of the photos

Then out of thick mylar (a sheet of clear plastic) I drew the leaf shapes with a marker and then hand cut stencils in the shapes of several different kinds of leaves. The masking tape tabs on the edges of the mylar make it easier to lift and move the stencil when in use.

With a sheet of handmade paper taped to a board on my easel I set about using the 5 different stencils I’d made. I mixed acrylic paint colors and used a natural sponge to dab into the color and then onto the stencil. This overall leaf pattern was done over a multiple day period to allow for layers to dry.

My spouse snapped the above photos so they could be shared digitally with the author Steve Tubbs and his wife. The pandemic being what it is – the project discussions between the writer and myself were all virtual.

Here’s what the finished leaf pattern looked like while it was on my easel with still wet paint.

And here’s what the cover for the artist book reproductions looks like:

Variations of this leaf motif carries throughout Pembral Forgets….

When I create books I think of them, as an art object. With the attending artistic concerns about rhythm, balance, beauty and, in my case, pleasantness. For this project I was inspired artistically Steve Tubbs’s story Pembral Forgets and did my own artistic response to his story.

My way of working also means that most of the time my book creations have, in addition to the multiple print and ebook reproductions, a physical one-of-a-kind book-like-art-object.

Sometimes there’s a series of framed fine artworks related to the books – see my Alphapets and Alphapets Too projects for examples or my portfolio page generally.

Anyway, here’s the book-box for Pembral Forgets that I’m still in the process of constructing.

I will show pages and talk about my illustrations for Pembral Forgets in coming blog posts. My hand is still very tired so I will write more later…like next Monday.

If you’re curious: I’ve been reading the novel “European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman” by Theodora Goss.

One of the meals I’ve enjoyed cooking recently is a pasta, cheese and pepper dish I’d read about on the Food In Books blog – – I don’t know if I’d read the novel talked about in that blog post but it’s fun to see the novel that inspired the blogger’s recipe. I can tell you, for certain, that the pasta, cheese and pepper recipe in the post is a winner!

Now, back to the novel I am currently reading!

20 thoughts on “Pembral Forgets and a holiday

    1. Thank you!! I look forward to sharing it with you. To borrow your term – I’m having some “sludgy” days. And sharing online as I can. Thank you so much for your encouragement! It helps!

    1. Thank you Susanne! I am very honored to be involved with the project – and both the author and his wife have indeed been pleased! Which pleases me… it’s feels risky to visually interpret someone else’s precious word-work and I’m grateful that the author trusted me enough to “let me do my thing”.

  1. What an honor to have a writer choose you to illustrate his children’s book! I enjoyed watching your process take shape, and I look forward to the next installment. (The pasta, cheese, and pepper dish looks good, too!)

    1. Thank you for your comment!! And I look forward to sharing more of the process with you! I’m glad you like seeing “behind the scenes”. The pasta dish is good and easy to make during busy creative days 🤗 If you try the pasta I hope you’ll like it.

  2. I meant to comment several days back and I apologize. Your leaf designs are absolutely gorgeous. What a creative soul you are. And I am also so grateful that you chose to recreate one of my favorite pasta blog dishes, cacio e pepe! I look forward to seeing more of your creative work. Have a wonderful New Year!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words!! And thank you for sharing all of your own creative work! I hope the New Year is good to you! Wishing you the best!

  3. So interesting! I once knew an artist in New Mexico who collected Fall leaves and did mosaics with the “broken” pieces…she did amazing landscapes using them as her palette… You remind me of her!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! And you’ve correctly identified the leaves!! That makes me feel good that I’d been accurate enough so you could!! The dark red leaf is based on a “smoke tree” in my yard. It has dark red, scarlet wine colored leaves and in spring puffy white whispy tiny flower- fronds that when viewed from a distance look like smoke. Some call the smoke tree a smoke bush. But our tree is almost 2 stories tall so I call it a tree.
      Btw I used actual leaves found in my yard as patterns for my stenciled leaves
      Thanks again for your comment!

      1. Smoke bush! (Or tree.) I know it well; in fact I have one. Should have recognized the leaf. Have you noticed that when smoke bush leaves start to turn, some of them develop lines of weird little blotches that look like secret writing? I’ve thought about writing a story about that.

        1. Yes! I have noticed the blotches…looks like the writers fountain pen leaked brown ink in squiggly blobs! I would love to read a story about the secret writing on leaves from you!! What fun!! Please do write it!!!

Thank you for reading and sharing encouragements!