Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Art of Stephen Savage

Stephen Savage
If you look at the artwork for Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Stephen Savage, you might think that it seems fairly simple--geometric shapes, pretty shades of blue, green and lavender, some interesting textures. 

But how does Savage create emotion with these fairly straightforward colors and shapes? The uncomplicated compositions allow young children to see themselves standing in for the polar bear cub. And Stephen Savage's technique is anything but simple. 

We got a chance to interview him about his book The Fathers Are Coming Home by Margaret Wise Brown, and he shared with us the multi-step process he uses every time he makes a print for one of his books. He draws on the linoleum, cuts the linoleum to create a relief print, then carefully builds up the inks on the raised areas to give a sense of depth, perspective and, in the case of Polar Bear Night, a nighttime setting.

He demonstrates his process here. It makes you think about how nothing is ever as easy as it looks.

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