Illustrations of Kathryn Ault Noble
And I ain’t quittin’. I will continue this forced march for as long as I can hold a pencil, and keep my eyes open. These last few sketches of somewhat disturbing pigs are not the end of the quest, but do represent probably the maximum swing of the pendulum away from cute and tightly rendered. As my son always says, somewhere in the middle of the pendulum arc is the truth, and I’d say somewhere in the middle stylistically of the sketches I’ve done since April is my happy place.
(I just noticed these remind me of Jack Unruh’s work that I enjoyed seeing in the Communication Arts and Print magazines back in the mid-70s.
Probably the stubble and pink noses.)
It was April when Patti Ann Harris of Little Brown looked at my almost but not quite the same styles and said, “Pick one of these and run with it.” Those styles were mixed media scans of pencil motifs mixed together and painted in Photoshop. What I am running with now is all traditional materials with final color management/clean-up done in Photoshop. It’s hard to describe how much more I am enjoying producing my illustrations “the old fashioned way”, especially considering that I taught digital painting to animation and game arts students for years. I bought one of the first Wacom tablets on the market and taught myself Photoshop and Painter so I was an early user of digital illustration and I clearly remember when Photoshop got layers, then got more than one “undo”. Woot!
I consider myself very fortunate to be working during the digital revolution and the ease at which art can be produced and/or fixed. With no mixing. Or paint fumes! At least six of my co-workers succumbed to cancer in the first decade of this new century, and all were close to my age. Much too young! Of course I blame the toxicity of art supplies so my interest in “real” materials does not go back anywhere near oil painting, darkroom chemicals, or working with silkscreen inks, all of which were “consumed” daily by my friends over the years. When I was designing and producing jewelry and I also started seeing jewelers in their early 50s dying much too young. It is unfortunate that we simply did not grasp the toxicity of the materials we were using, or perhaps thought we were invincible. And we certainly did not know that the fumes were destroying our brain cells. But the toll has been taken on my generation. As much as I do not enjoy seeing how much time the youth of the world are spending on the computer, I am happy for them that they can at least produce digital art without being exposed to all the heavy metals and radioactive pigments.