THE INSIDE STORY
An abridged illustrated record of my journey as an artist so far
Upon graduating from Massachusetts College of Art in 1987, I ventured with my portfolio in hand to all corners of the city of Boston and its suburbs to peddle my blossoming passion. I quickly learned that a portfolio could be viewed by an art buyer in mere seconds and that a full minute was a long time.
Fresh out of college, when digital print was not yet available and full color art reproduction was quite costly, most of my first clients needed black and white illustrations to keep within a budget. I worked with pen and ink providing maximum "color" in shades of gray.
These first assignments were done in Japanese "sumi" ink – painting washes of ink, and using both brush stroke and pen stroke to contain and express form. These black and white ink paintings taught me to see - by limitation- the color or value/shading in what I painted.
Once I felt I had mastered the "color" of black and white, I began painting full color illustrations in the opaque watercolor called gouache (another water-based medium but with a very flat, rich, opaque quality) as a means to communicate my strong sense of color and form.
As an illustrator, gouache was a great bridge between a client's vision for a project and my own because sketches converted easily from pencil to gouache and the solid, flat color of this paint makes it easy to imagine the finished piece once a sketch is detailed. It was a great building block for me in navigating the process of illustrating.
I also work in colored pencil. While my children and I were enjoying their block crayons, I discovered I could lay down broad strokes of expressive color. I quickly realized the detailed colored pencil artwork I had been enjoying had found a complementary companion. Together the crayon with colored pencils allowed me to achieve shading and detail in similar wax based mediums.
Ironically, it was not a water-based paint but rather pigment encased in wax,
aka crayons, that gave me the more fluid expression I was drawn to. I loved
the raw crayon color and the layering, transparency and texture that
beeswax crayons afford. I was on to something and challenged myself to make an illustrated greeting card - self promotional piece- using only crayons.
This led to abstract art and moved me into exploring the world of painting with crayons. I continue to explore and push the limits of illustrating and fine art "painting" with beeswax crayons.
Newest inspiration came in my discovery of the vast world of digital art using the iPad and Apple pencil.
Whatever the tools, visual art is a storytelling medium that reveals a wonderful world within a world.
Click here to visit Riverbendcards.com to purchase these images online!
I'd love to work with you on your next illustrated project or commissioned piece and look forward to hearing from you!
Image usage is prohibited by copyright law and must be negotiated with the artist prior to use. All rights reserved. © Carol M. Calabro 2023