Pushing my Envelope, Tomie dePaola Entry 2013

"White Alley, Jim. And it's a bully taw!" 

I have been a Mark Twain fan for as long as I can remember.  So when I read the guidelines for this year's Tomie dePaola's SCBWI illustration award I decided to take the challenge.  The requirements were to create a black and white illustration depicting a scene from one of the classics; Tom Sawyer, Little Women or The Yearling. 
"My!  Dat's a mighty gay marble, I tell you!
But Mars Tom,I's powerful 'fraid ole missis--
I decided it was a good exercise to focus on my drawing skills.  And Tom Sawyer seemed like a good story to use the twist of black and white images with the race undertones in the story.

Although the whitewash scene has been done many times, I found it ironic that I couldn't find any images with Jim the slave boy as Tom's first victim.  He was bribed with a marble, a White Alley!

It's always a fine line for me between realism and whimsy.  So once I had my idea, I had to decide how best to show it.  I am constantly searching for balance, pushing to find my voice while keeping rich and interesting characters.

Constantly evolving, it's the process that I love.  I'm never quite sure where it's going,  and then suddenly it all falls into place.  The many things I learned from this project will help for the next one.  There are things I love about the finished image and as always things I would do different.  But that's what great about this job... there's always next time!  This was a great project. Thank you Tomie dePoala for the challenge!

.....And it doesn't hurt that the winner receives an expense paid trip to this year's SCBWI Winter Conference.


Popular Posts