I came across Caroline’s work while trolling the internet and I’m fascinated by this style. I’ve done scratchboard art in the past and it is not an easy medium to work in. However Carolinehas mastered it.
Caroline Church is a scraperboard artist, and the perfect illustrator to approach if you’re after something with a vintage engraved look to it. Based in Twickenham, she grew up in Uganda, where she had pet chameleons and was encouraged to make greetings cards by her mother.
First, Caroline got a BA in Illustration at the Chelsea School of Art. She then learned wood engraving as a guest student at Royal Academy Schools.
Scraperboard is card with a layer of white clay covered in black ink. Caroline marks out an initial drawing using transfer paper and then scrapes away the white layer with a craft knife into the black, creating the look of an engraving.
She has used computer software in the past but finds it frustrating and unnatural. The authentic look requires the tr
ue, physical medium, though sometimes she’ll add a colour wash in Photoshop to come up with something a bit different. When complete, her work is scanned and sent to the client digitally. Amendments can be made either by going back to the scraperboard, or using Photoshop.
Caroline’s style is reminiscent of 19th century engraving, so it tends to lend itself well to projects that aim to convey traditional and time-honoured values. Not surprisingly, her main influences include the engravers Thomas Bewick and Gustav Dore.
If you want to be an illustrator then don’t expect riches. I’ve struggled with this aspect of being an artist my whole career and now I’m finally ok with that. The solution I adapted was to become a real estate agent for money and an artist for the love of it. During my career as a creative director in the entertainment business I bought, renovated and sold real estate. What I made in real estate eclipse my salary. When I left Warner Bros in 2006 I decided to illustrate children’s books. This is not a path to riches I assure you. Along the way I bought some run down homes, fixed them up. (mostly doing the work myself ) and sold them for profits. This allowed me to navigate my artistic endeavors the way I wanted to. It took quite a while to get to the point where I was satisfied with the direction I was headed but I stuck with it. I am still in the process. I can honestly say I love creating imagery and learning new ways of approaching my work every day. The most that I hope for is recognition among my peers and helping others succeed.
What is going on in our country? This isn’t the America I grew up in or at least it doesn’t seem that way. The present leader (I use the term very loosely) of our country is a tragic and distorted abomination of our country’s obsession with winner take all mentality. Somehow he has normalized behavior that is appalling and amoral. As an artist and a citizen I feel compelled to speak out verbally and visually. Hence,..Arnold Grump, gross pig leader of the “United Farmlands”.
Arnold grew out of my daily conversations with my wife, Havi who used to be Tom Hayden’s right hand woman and knows her politics. Our combined frustration gave birth to a character we could use as our voice. There is no other intent other than to show resistance and let other people vent along with us.
Protest artists come from a long line of political satirists (Daumier, Thomas
Nast, James Gillray, Ronald Searle, Conrad, David Levine and Art Spiegelman) To get how powerful an artist can be in the political universe consider Napoleon’s comment about English caricaturist James Gillray , “He did more than all the armies in Europe to bring me down.”
The importance of your own voice cannot be minimized and it is incumbent for every American to study, listen and research what you’re hearing reading and being told. Do not just accept things at face value. This President has made promises to the American public and his base that are not being met and probably never will. That is my opinion and so I ask anyone who reads this to consider being thoughtful and mindful about what is happening and where you stand.
To not comment or to remain neutral is to agree with what is happening.
You have a voice , use it even if you only share it with family. We are free in America to express ourselves. So I implore you speak your truth.
But from a scientific perspective, there is scant evidence to connect these compelling areas. While recent neuroimaging studies have examined the brain regions responsible for dreaming, for example, parallel research on dreams and the brain in the throes of creation is not yet under way.
That said, intriguing new work suggests possible links between dreams and creativity. Aside from indicating that dreams may help ordinary people find creative solutions to everyday problems (see page 48), recent research shows that fantasy-prone people may have higher dream recall than others. It also suggests that dreams themselves–with their idiosyncratic imagery, colorful extrapolations on the same theme and nonjudgmental stance–model at least one aspect of the creative process, the free association that precedes actual creation.
“To be creative, you need a way to let those circuits float free and really be open to alternatives that you would normally overlook,” explains Robert Stickgold, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard University who has conducted seminal studies on dreams, sleeping and learning. “Several features of REM sleep predispose the brain to this activity.”
A dream-prone personality?
It may be the case that people who use dreams for creative purposes naturally have greater access to the dream world than others, research suggests. Two streams of literature support this contention: One links specific personality characteristics such as openness, proneness to fantasy and schizotypic tendencies with the penchant to remember and report dreams; the other connects creativity and these same personality variables.
Findings reported in the May issue of Personality and Individual Differences (Vol. 34, No. 7) strengthen the association. In one of the longest and most comprehensive studies on dream recall and personality factors to date, University of Iowa psychologist David Watson, PhD, collected dream-recall reports from 193 undergraduate students every day for three months, as well as data on personality variables, sleep schedules and the students’ alcohol and caffeine intake.
Personality characteristics were by far the most significant factor in dream recall, says Watson. Those prone to absorption, imagination and fantasy were much more likely than others to say they remembered their dreams and to report dreams with vivid imagery, he found. The same group also scored higher than others on the “openness” scale of the five-factor personality inventory. The scale describes those who are open to new experiences and take a rich, complex approach to life–“the ‘art film’ circuit,” as Watson puts it.
Watson, an empiricist, says that he was surprised by the finding. “I actually thought dream recall was going to be related to stress and anxiety, because the literature indicates that the things that disturb sleep tend to promote dream recall,” he says. Instead, his data support the idea that there’s a type of person more likely to tune into their dreams than others, he notes.
A related study in the September Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 85, No. 3) by psychologist Shelley Carson, PhD, a lecturer at Harvard University, found that 182 Harvard undergraduates who scored high on creative achievement tests also tested lower on “latent inhibition,” the ability to filter out internal and external stimuli that aren’t relevant to current goals or survival. The study is the first to directly test the association between creativity and low latent inhibition, which also has been linked to mental disorders such as schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder and proneness to psychosis.
The findings suggest that creative people may naturally “take in” more extraneous material than others, including, possibly, their dream material, Carson notes. There may well be biological underpinnings to these tendencies–possibly related to the mesolimbic-dopamine system–which she and others will likely explore in the future, she notes.
Dreaming resembles creativity
There may be a good metaphorical reason that artists are so attached to their dreams. In the broadest sense, dreams mimic a critical stage of creativity: brainstorming the range of possibilities, or what psychoanalysts call free association, says Harvard’s Stickgold.
Neuroimaging studies by neurologist Allen R. Braun, MD, of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, neuropsychologist Mark L. Solms, PhD, of St. Bartholomew’s and the Royal London Hospital, and others show how this might happen. In essence, the brain areas responsible for executive control, logical decision-making and focused attention shut down during dreaming, while sensory and emotional areas come alive. In addition, short-term memory functions are deactivated, so that the emotional content of images remains, but the waking context does not.
At least one study by Stickgold supports the idea. In 1999 research reported in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience(Vol. 11, No. 2), Stickgold and colleagues woke 44 undergraduate students from REM sleep–the deepest stage of sleep most strongly associated with dreaming–and immediately gave them a word-priming task. Subjects were shown a word, and immediately after, another word or cluster of nonsense letters. Subjects were then asked to say if the second item was a word or not.
Previous studies of normally awake subjects showed that when the word pairs were strongly related–as with “wrong” and “right,” for example–subjects could identify the second target word faster than if the words weren’t strongly related–as with “wrong” and “house,” for example. But when they were tested immediately after being awakened from REM sleep, the exact opposite happened. The weaker primes produced faster responses.
“It’s as if the brain is preferentially searching out and activating weak associates, unexpected paths, instead of the obvious, normally strong associates,” Stickgold says.
This unique activity provides both a nice metaphor and a possible explanation for the way artists and other creative people operate: in essence, thinking outside the box, whether consciously or unconsciously, Stickgold comments.
“It is as if the [dreaming] brain has been tuned to a state for finding and testing and thinking about new associations,” Stickgold says. “To paraphrase Robert Frost, the brain takes the path less traveled by, and that makes all the difference.”
Tori DeAngelis is a writer in Syracuse, N.Y.
Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in Beverly Hillsand Los Angeles was quite the experience. We regularly saw great performers at the Whiskey,Troubadour and Hollywood Paladium, went surfing at Topanga, Malibu and Point Dume. and hung out at Randy’s Doughnuts, Ships and DL’s. These webisodes are design to give the viewer part of that experience.
As part of the Illustrators Journal efforts to increase our footprint we’re going to cover and write about artists who we feel are relevant and current.
Sophie Blackall fits that mold and so here’s some of her very beautiful and sensitive artwork and a recent article about her Caldecott win.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 | 0
Sophie Blackall illustrated Finding Winnie, written by Toronto author Lindsay Mattick. (HarperCollinsCanada Ltd.).
New York-based illustrator Sophie Blackall has won the 2016 Caldecott Medal – America’s most prestigious prize for children’s illustration – for her artwork in Finding Winnie, written by Toronto’s Lindsay Mattick.The book tells the true Canadian story of Winnipeg, the black bear from Ontario who became a mascot for soldiers during World War I and later inspired author A.A. Milne’s most beloved character, Winnie-the-Pooh.”Children will be enchanted by Winnie’s journey from the forests of Canada to the pages of the Hundred Acre Wood. Blackall offers a tour-de-force of visual storytelling,” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Rachel G. Payne in a press release.
Over the last year and a half I’ve been working on different kind of projects using a more serious graphic novel style. I’ve been fortunate for some publications to give me a chance to show what I can do. This newsletter shows some of that work. There is more to come and as they are published I will show them on this site. This is a perfect example of transforming yourself into something different if you want. I encourage anyone who is contemplating a move like mine to go for it. You never know where it leads and it will challenge you and you will grow creatively.