Lat week I mentioned Audio Books, and Oz is one of the series I have yet to find a version of where I enjoy the reader. And as much as I'm a fan of the Land of Oz and as much as it inspired me as a kid, I have never read an Oz book from start to finish, which I'd like to fix.
Oz started for me when I was in 2nd grade. The annual tradition of it being shown on television was coming up and classmates of mine were very excited about it. Somehow, we, as 2nd graders, decided we would do a Wizard of Oz play for the school...or at least our class. Our teacher told us "no", but with the work we had already done (some parents, including mine, had started helping us with our costumes.) we were allowed to have 2 mornings to spread our performance over for the 2nd grade classes of Pierce Elementary and their parents. I was the Tin Man, who remains to this day my favorite of the characters.
In High School, I started looking towards doing children's book illustration as a profession. I remember when 'finishing' this drawing (it has no background!?) that I was ready to be hired to do book illustration. Luckily, I never went out looking for work with that attitude. What this piece shows me more than my cocky mindset, is that I was thinking about the work seriously. I had done countless Oz themed drawings between second grade and senior year, but I was making design choices here, thinking about composition, and using a variety of media.
This series of illustrations I did after college (so about 5 years after the other drawing). In college, we were steered away from illustrative subjects and work, and focused more on expression and abstraction. So, for a few years I tried to re-learn what I had been building up to before University. These were to become my portfolio to try and live as an artist. I was also trying to do my definitive versions of the characters, somewhere between paying homage to John R. Neil (my favorite Oz artist) and my own sensibilities. I had planned to do more characters (Ozma, Jack Pumpkinhead, Dorothy, the Patchwork Girl...) but after these 4 I must have moved on to other projects.
More recently, I was asked by Stephen Gettis to do a piece for his Literary themed collection: 'Hey Oscar Wilde, It's Clobberin Time!'. Oz was the 2nd piece I did for him (the first being Wind in the Willows) and I took it back to the origin for me...discovering the Tin Woodsman.
Fan Art: This week's piece may look familiar: "I know I've already submitted this piece before, but I made major changes to it after seeing how much attention you pay to the background features. thanks! -Charlotte Cheng"
No, Thank You Charlotte! I like the idea of improving through revisiting older work!
If you would like your fan art posted here, email your work to ericebon (at) hotmail (dot) com
West Hollywood Book Fair: Sept. 26
New York Comic Con (Archaia booth): Oct 8-10
Mid-Ohio Con: Nov. 6-7
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