At last, I’m ready to unveil the illustrator for my forthcoming children’s picture book, “Rapunzel the Hairbrained!” I was fortunate to have several dozen artists apply for the work, some amateur, some with several book credits already. Most were from Indiana, but a few were international submissions. A special thank you to the middle school and high school students who applied. That takes a lot of courage – keep at it!
The artist I will be collaborating with for my Indiana Arts Commission grant is…
While there were many artists I would have been delighted to work with, I knew the moment I saw Taylor’s work that he would be able to capture the style I was going for. Because my book is geared for 3rd-5th graders, the top end on ages that might read a picture book, I knew I had to tread carefully. The moment my readers felt the pictures were too babyish they’d tune out. At the same time, it was also important the pictures my colorful and kid-friendly. Taylor’s characters are sleek, stylish, whimsical, and carry great nuance of expression. Both kids and adults will enjoy looking at the pictures.
I met Taylor face-to-face this week to review details at Starbucks (me – maple pecan latte, him – caffee mocha). Although we had an efficient and productive meeting, I took some time to ask him a few questions about himself. So meet Taylor Lucas:
Taylor is a student at the Art Institute of Indianapolis. He is a well-rounded artist who creates not only visual art but music. (He narrowly chose visual art over music composition. As someone with a music composition degree myself, I would say he should have chosen composition, except obviously I benefited from his other decision!) He plays keyboard. You can listen to some of his music on his website.
His favorite show to binge watch is Lost, but when it comes to art, he is inspired by Disney. His favorite animated film is Pixar’s The Incredibles. (Good choice!) He is also inspired creatively by his fellow students at the Art Institute of Indianapolis. Taylor’s dream after graduation is to become an independent animator.
Taylor describes his art:
Right from the get-go I produced music. I was interested in how each instrument related to another. I wanted art and music to coincide perfectly. Most of my art is inspired by a song. It gives me inspiration for an environment or character. My strength is taking a theme and adapting it to a medium.
This explains a lot! Check out this piano roof:
I try to keep every element unique. So for example when I am drawing a hat I really think about how it fits the character.
At the end of the meeting Taylor showed me a sketch of a character idea he had for Rapunzel. I loved it – especially her facial expression. But I’m not giving away the details yet – look for a character reveal later this fall.
What I’ll be doing in the meantime is developing the final pages of the book, which will include questions and activities to widen girls’ definition of self-worth. The point of “Rapunzel the Hairbrained” is not that caring about your hair is bad, but that it’s not the only or most important part of your life. We all have other traits and skills we should develop and take pride in. The grant will allow me to develop a workshop for 3rd-5th graders and take it on the road this spring, with 10 free copies of the book for each group. If you know a group in central Indiana who may benefit, contact me.
I left Starbucks inspired by Taylor’s works and excited to create, which is of course the best kind of meeting between creative folks. This could be the beginning of a beautiful collaboration.
Visit Taylor at http://taylor77902.wixsite.com/cyancityzone.