Sophie Blackall Illustration

Drawings and Snippets and Breaking News, (but more snippets than breaking news).

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Fine Dessert - Part 2

A Fine Dessert is a book about blackberry fool, made by a farmer's wife and her daughter in England in 1710, a plantation slave and her daughter in South Carolina in 1810, an urban middle class woman and her daughter in Boston in 1910 and a father and his son in San Diego in 2010. Each century sees changes in society and food technology.
The first thing I'm thinking about is the trim size of the book and what shape it should be. Square or rectangle? I'm leaning towards rectangular and largish and landscape (horizontal, rather than portrait/vertical.) In each century, the berries are picked, the cream is procured and then whipped and then chilled, the dish is served and shared. The first images to float into my peripheral vision are from the beginning of the book (picking wild berries) and the end of the book (a large dinner party). In both I want room for the illustrations to spill left and right, for blackberry tendrils to unfurl and for children to leave the table and roll around on the ground. So landscape it is.
The next big question is about style. I am considering whether each century should be treated slightly differently, and if so, how far to push this. There is a danger of getting swept up with the design (the lure of possibilities with type and ornamentation!) and forgetting the children who eventually hold this book in their hands. What will make them want to turn the pages?
In the meantime, I am sifting and gleaning and bookmarking and borrowing.
This woodblock jumped out at me. I would love to do something this simple and beautiful.

I love these feet.

Caldecott's palette here makes me happy... does this one from Iran

I like this crowded room...

...and the perspective of this one

...and how the Provensons manage different scenes in different rooms all on the same page.

I like how Walter Crane shows us the backs of people
I think is image is cropped but I admire this composition

I remain in love, as ever, with colored engraving

and low horizons with large foreground figures...

...and small.
And finally, I can't stand it anymore and I have to make a picture, which almost certainly won't make it into the book, but will break the paralysis. Otherwise I'll be sifting and gleaning forever.  
A Fine Dessert begins:
A bit more than three hundred years ago, in an English town called Lyme, a girl and her mother picked wild blackberries. Their hands turned purple with the juice. The thorns of the berry bushes pricked the fabric of their long skirts.

So, here is a first go at painting the girl and her mother.
You can see where I stole the feet.


sophie & lili said...

You are such an inspiration. Thank you for showing your process!

marcelleqb said...

I like the squarish rectangle shape you've adapted. The shapes that caught my I were 1, 3, 6 and 11.

I always love it when artists show the process of doing.

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

"A Fine Dessert" is certainly MIGHTY fine! I adore it. It's such a thrill to see some of your process.

Lori said...

Lovely! I love reading about your process. I wish I had blackberries in my kitchen I would make some fool right now! I love your painting too.

Unknown said...

I can't wait to read this, and make this, with my own little girl! Very exciting!

Hastypearl said...

What an exciting process. It will be fun to watch as you labor over the details! That's what everything is about after all. One does the work, and the rest enjoy:) thanks for taking us along for the ride! Laura