The ability to depict movement is perhaps the most important skill of a picture book illustrator. The same goes for comic book illustrators. But not everything is all about movement. Although a professional illustrator has to be good at depicting movement, there is a time and a place for ‘stills’, even inside ‘high-movement’ stories.
Below I take a look at examples of still images in picture book illustration.
AN EXAMPLE FROM COMICS
I was writing NYX, which was a Marvel book about these teenage mutants who are living on the streets of New York. And [the character] Kiden, one of her powers is that she can stop time. I remember the editor writing, “This is not a film. So how do you guide an artist when it comes to describing stopped time? Because literally everything is already stopped on the page.” That was a real eye-opener to how this was a very deep medium I was working in.
CHARACTERS POSING FOR ‘PHOTOS’ IN PICTURE BOOKS
This is how my eight year old tends to begin her homemade picture books:
Professional picture book illustrators, on the other hand, know all about movement, and are able to convey in a static image a wide variety of verbs that are happening within a scene.
Rudie Nudie by Emma Quay is an example of a picture book in which movement is very important and expertly depicted. A loose, sketchy, generic style of illustration is very good for ‘high-movement’ illustrations, with realism best saved for sombre, more serious stories. Continue reading “Still Images In Picturebook Illustration”