Wednesday, December 1, 2010

30 Lessons Learned, #8: The Answer is Obvious, Once You Figure it Out

People talk a lot about this elusive thing in writing called voice. I suppose style is (kind of?) the illustration equivalent. I was in art school in the 1990s. The picture books I studied had long texts and complex painterly illustrations. Often they were based on folks tales and legends that called for ornate period costumes. I tried my hand at this type of work but it never quite clicked for me.

Then a new generation of picture books was born -- they were simpler in both text and images. I really connected with some of those books. Olivia, anyone? I LOVE that pig. And I began to find my own voice in writing and illustration: simple and clear with a touch of humor.

In retrospect, it seems so obvious, especially when I look at myself as a person. As much as possible, I live a simple life -- I opt for simple clothes, usually no makeup, I'd rather walk than drive, etc. I wear earrings so infrequently that both of my daughters get excited on the rare occasions when I do. :) So, doesn't it make sense that my work would be similar? As I'm writing this post, it all sounds so obvious that perhaps it doesn't even need to be stated. But it was interesting to me when I began to connect the dots, and who knows, it may give some of you insights into your path or process. Happy December!


Jane said...

I had not come across Olivia before so I put her into Google..what a fun pig (pigs are my fav creatures anyway so some bias may have sneaked into my response!)
Great thoughts here Bethanie; keep just as you are, I love the humour in your art. Even without meeting you your "voice" must be one that laughs and has fun.I have figured that out!
Snowy greetings from the UK (6" of snow and -1oc as the high for today so my voice is a little chilly today-LOL!)
Jane x

nello said...

Although I do miss your IF postings (and look forward to their return!), I just discovered this new series of posts and wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed reading back through them. And am totally excited for the upcoming entries! For me, writing / illustrating is my beloved hobby and a solitary pursuit, so I really enjoy the sense of community that writings like yours creates. Thanks for taking the time!

Bethanie Murguia said...

Jane, I always miss the snow during the few weeks leading up to the holidays. Glad to hear you've had a good coating!

Nello, thanks so much for checking in. It is sooo nice to have this online community. I agree wholeheartedly. :)