Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lady Liberty- illustration in progress

Here's a section of my studio wall. The pictures are for a book called Lady Liberty: A Biography, written by Doreen Rappaport, to be published by Candlewick in May, 2008. I always have the whole book up on the wall while I'm working on it. First the wall is covered with sketches, then layouts, and eventually, all the sketches are replaced by final art.

Right now, as you can see, some of the pictures are done, and some aren't. The illustrations are due August 1. Thirteen of the twenty illustrations are completely done, and all but four are at least started. I've been making some good progress lately, so if I keep it up, I might come close to making the deadline.

Today I'm starting a new picture. It's a wide view looking up at the Statue of Liberty during the dedication ceremony on October 28, 1886. It's the moment just after the statue's face was revealed for the first time. The point of view is from one of the many boats in the harbor during the ceremony. Here's my sketch:
So now it's time to get to work. First, I'll trace my sketch onto 300 lb hot press Arches watercolor paper, using a light box. The tracing is usually pretty sloppy, so after that, I'll pencil in most of the details. Then I'll tape each one to a board and start painting.

I'll take pictures along the way, and post something here at the end of each day. If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear them. If there's anything you want to know that I'm not mentioning, let me know.


  1. Hey Matt,
    Looks beautiful. thanks for sharing your process and I look forward to seeing the book. Candlewick makes some gorgeous books!

  2. Hi Matt!

    It's so great you're posting this blog and giving us all the opportunity to see your studio and your work in progress. This looks like a fascinating book! I can't wait to host another book signing at G.Willikers!
    I hope you and your growing family are doing well!

  3. Matt,
    I love your site. I am a friend of Jody B and I teach 5th grade in York. I am planning on having my students check out your site and the process that you go through with each of your books! Your illustrations are beautiful, and it would be a fantastic learning experience for the students. Let me know if you would be interested in coming in to speak with a class of really wonderful kids in the fall!