We all like to be recognized- particularly when we work hard. It’s even better when that recognition comes from professional illustrators, AND your work is compared to that of Chris Van Allsburg!
Recently I was awarded Honorable Mention in a Society of Visual Storytelling contest. Jake Parker, a comics short-story creator, concept artist, illustrator, and animator, said about my art, “Beautiful image and use of a spot color. Reminds me of Chris Van Allsburg. Anytime you get mentioned with a 3 time Caldecott winning illustrator you know you are doing solid work!” Wow- I was thrilled!
The theme for the February contest was octopus and immediately bells went off in my head. I have a (mostly) black and white illustration named Kraken. The picture book illustration features a little boy climbing into bed, grabbing his rubber ducky. At the same time, a drawer opens with light (and something else) coming out. The illustration is filled with lots of fun details that lends an air of surrealism.
Denise Cassano’s Honorable Mention entry into the SVS Learn illustration contest.
You may see a slightly different version of this illustration elsewhere on my sight. I added details to enhance the story. It’s important to look at your work objectively and reflect on what can make it better.
Using it as a Writing Prompt
This is the perfect picture to use with children to get them to observe carefully and inspire them to write a rich, detailed story. Here is my Observation Checklist to help students write their ideas before the first draft. This way they have a list of ideas to incorporate into their story, while still using the illustration as a reference. I’ve used this technique in class and I’m often happily surprised when kids see the tiny details that most adults don’t. It’s these details that create a better story.
Special thanks to Jake Parker and Will Terry, two professional illustrators who run SVS, the Society of Visual Storytelling. Jake Parker also runs Inktober, a fun way to draw every day and join an artist community.
Want to see the other winners at the Society of Visual Storytelling Contest?
Download my free eBook, "How to Use Art to Inspire Creative Writing". I hope it helps you the way it has helped my students.
I've compiled numerous tips and techniques to get the best creative writing from your students. Get them to think critically!
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