Portland Public Library Bookmarks!

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 in Children's Book Illustration, Illustration, Peaks Island, Portland Public Library | 0 comments

Here’s the tale of how my Portland Public Library 150 Commemorative Bookmark came about. When Marty and I were contacted last May about participating in a series of artists’ bookmarks the library would use for fundraising, we said YEAH!!!! Of course! Well, right after asking when did they need the art, because that’s always my first consideration.

Project manager extraordinaire Heather Wasklewicz didn’t need the artwork until the end of August. That meant I could stall until a couple of weeks before. I have a saying (it comes from teaching) the more time you give an artist, the less time they will use. It surely applies to me, as well as most of my students! But once I got going, I had ideas.

My first one involved revisiting an old illustration that features a child in the woods on Peaks Island. It’s the illustration (used for a postcard years ago) that landed my first children’s book publisher. I cropped the illustration to see how it might fit the bookmark proportions.

I revised the idea in a rough sketch, in which a child is actually reading, not dreaming.

Meanwhile, Marty was sketching up a storm, too. His ideas all featured Peaks Island elements. I decided to focus on a setting other than the island. The Portland Observatory seemed like a good fit for the vertical composition. The fluttering flags, a playful balloon, and a young reader hanging out a window with a good book…

But I realized the emphasis was on the history of the PPL, not another historical institution. More ideas, please.

What about a silly owl with a book and plaid flannel pants and wellies?

Or a big chrysalis hanging over a butterfly girl?

Or a groovy reader in front of the Portland branch, wearing a library card?

I couldn’t decide. Thankfully, Heather picked the above, and provided me with a new card to use as a collage element. You know that song from Arthur, right? I couldn’t get it out of my head.

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!

My model daughter obliged me for some handy photo reference.

The final illustration, submitted in late August.

Fast forward to almost Christmas. A package showed up on our door, it happens on Peaks now and then. We put it under the tree. What a delight when we opened up our stash of swag: bookmarks, a PPL blank journal, and a PPL bookbag. Thank you, Portland Public Library!

The best surprise was the company we are in, which includes five Peaks Islanders: Scott Nash on top, and from left to right, Scott Kelley, Marty Braun, Nancy Gibson-Nash, and me. Sweet!

Even better, all the bookmarks are for sale now at the Peaks Island Branch Library. Go get your bookmarks by Alice Spencer, Chris Benemen, and Teagan Moon!



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