So I've decided to change directions a little bit with my art. Or at least focus. Something's not working. And rather than blame art directors or editors for my failure to get work, I'm going to more sensibly assume it's me, not them, and I'm going to make some changes.
Aside from wildlife, I'm no longer going to attempt to do Howard Pyle/Noel Sickles-style naturalistic images. For the time being at least. With a lot of effort and frustration, I do this OK. Other people do it a lot better. Greg Ruth does it a lot better. When I work in this style using dry brush techniques, such as in my recent Cricket work, I feel like I'm trying to be Greg Ruth, and it's not working. He is better at being him than I am. I would rather play to my strengths, and be more me.
I'm going to keep doing dry brush, but I'm going to use more of a cartoon vocabulary for figures. Something between a Moebius/Herge and a Gustav Tenngren, but mostly just me. I'm going to use a little more line. I I think I can more effectively communicate nature through line using a symbol vocabulary that has more in common with Hokusai than the more photo real, classic illustration look of a Robert Fawcett. Like the way I do water. Like my recent Little Nemo picture. I'd like to do more of that. I'm good at water. I'm going to use more transparent color and less opaque rendering. Cartooning is good. I will embrace cartooning more fully.
This isn't that different than a lot of what I've already been doing, for instance: the way I draw kids--I'm happy with my (Mostly) Wordless book-- but I'm just going to be doing more of it, and use some of the same technique with my adult figures.
Also: I find doing very busy images with lots of action and lots of figures pleasing to me, and I'm going to do more of that, even though it can be very time consuming. I'm going to play with fantastical, or exaggerated perspective more. I'm going to have a lot fun! But I'm going to be more me.