Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama Sample for Harper Collins!!

This was a sample piece I did for Harper Collins which ultimately earned me the opportunity to work on my first full picture book for young readers. The picture book is based on the life story of the inspirational leader Barack Obama and is written by the award winning author of many picture books, Jonah Winter. I had a lot of fun doing this piece, especially from a historical perspective. I also wanted Barack's pose to have sentimental value and power, which is the reason I wanted him with his fist launched in the air with power. African Americans identify a fist in the
air symbolic of their struggle and a gesture that says "as African
Americans, be strong, we can make it through anything". It gives the sentiment of when John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fist's in the 1968 Olympic
Games which was the same year that Martin Luther King was
assassinated. I also wanted to show Barack in a position where he was
speaking to his people, this also gives you the tenderness you feel
when seeing a picture of Martin Luther King speaking, from which the
author makes reference to in the story. Be on the look out for "Barack" to hit stores late Sept 2008 (date may change), written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by AG Ford(me!)

Also, This piece was done with an acrylic under painting (value based) and then oil over top. Basically the same technique as the painting below, oil really helps the paint strokes look more appealing. I really wanted the strokes to be visible with a piece like this because it gives the painting emotion, and this is a passionate piece.