Linoleum Printing and Coretta Scott King Award

20 02 2013

Ellen's Broom coverBecause this is Black History Month, I thought I’d highlight one of my favorites from the 2013 Coretta Scott King Awards. Ellen’s Broom, with art by Daniel Minter. I did mention it earlier in the month, but this time I wanted to explore the art a bit more closely.

Minter’s linoleum prints are painted with watercolor. After experimenting with lino prints this summer (see Jungle of the Night, 5th picture down), I now appreciate how difficult this medium is to work with. Artists who choose it know that they have a long process ahead of them.

First is warming and carving out the linoleum block. I found this the most difficult step, as you have to cut away whatever you don’t want to be printed. It’s the opposite of painting, because you’re taking away rather than adding. Getting delicate detail on the block without cutting away too much or leaving too much behind is a real art.

Once that’s complete, the block must be inked and prints pulled. Once the prints dry, the painting begins. If you make a mistake at that point, it means starting over. (And how do I know this? Don’t ask.)

Minter’s details are amazing, and deserving of the award.* But I also want to mention the great story by Kelly Starling Lyons. I’ve highlighted Kelly’s writing on my blog before, so if you’re interested in finding out more about her, you can read about her One Million Men and Me, which tells about her books and her childhood.

*Interesting fact: Did you know that only one book illustrated with linoleum prints ever won the Caldecott?

African Animals

4 04 2011

As long as I’m on the subject of art, I thought I’d post one more picture I finished recently for a book on African Animals. Because the series of stories and folktales are from West Africa, I wanted a mudcloth border for the pictures.


© Laurie J. Edwards 2011

Anyone who knows me, knows I love drawing jungle animals, so this book was a treat. Perhaps my love of the jungle comes from living in West Africa when I was young and impressionable. Which reminds me of a story… which I’ll save for another post.

Cow Mania?

8 05 2010

Watercolor by Laurie J. Edwards

I like cows. I really do. I even painted this picture of one looking at me with soulful eyes.

We live in a fairly rural area where we have a few cows across the street along with herds of goats, flocks of guinea fowl, and some donkeys. Yes, donkeys whose brays sound like an tortured child’s screeches. So the quiet cows, who chew their cuds, and the adorable calves with big eyes tug at my heartstrings. It’s hard to believe anyone can actually eat these animals.

But after reading some frightening statistics recently, I discovered that cows are one of the greatest sources of global warming and air pollution. How could such sweet, gentle animals be responsible for this awful deed? It seems their gas is filled with methane. Supposedly cows are a greater hazard to the environment than all the trucks and cars in this country put together. Yikes!

And the biggest contributors to that pollution are the massive farm factories that serve the meat market. Guess I should have painted this instead:

Stop air-pollution! Stop eating beef!

Watercolor/Photoshop image by Laurie J. Edwards

But wait a minute. If we eat the beef, won’t that decrease air-pollution?