Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hello friends, I will try to write everyday but I know I will slow down when our new illustrated book gets into full production.

When you study the past, the illustrated book concept pretty much consisted of line drawings and some little paintings. With today's technologies the world of the image has exploded with rich color, variety and design. I see the romantic graphic novel concept is blossoming. Although it's style is not my taste I applaud the new directions my artist friends are taking, with their bold presentations.

For Fortin and Sanders we enjoy the romantic paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites of the 1800's. John Evert Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. William Maw Egley, Edward Burne-Jones, to mention a few. A good book to learn about the pre-raphaelites is "Pre-Raphaelite Women", by Jan Marsh

We call our presentation "stylised realism". You have to be an ism to be anybody. Cubism, impressionism, etc. Ha. The image of Lady Leanna (Above) from Passion's Blood is a good example of the style we like in our portraiture. Beth's mother Rose has a 30x40 inch painting of this image. She says guests many times compliment her on the painting and when she tells them it's her daughter they are flabbergasted. It's so classical they don't relate it to a living person until the mom tells them. She always enjoys their reaction.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The making of Passion's Blood

Passion's Blood evolved out of a desire to show more illustrations of the hero and heroine. I wanted to see more images than just the cover or setback. Cherif and I wanted to see the action. "Let's do it," we said. To read the story from the beginning you have to start with the first post. scroll down.

We, through our various shoots, had accumulated quite a bit of raw photography for our little book project. A skeleton of a story was emerging. After hours of deliberation we chose some good candidates for illustrations and went to work. We like our work prints to be at least 16x20 inches in size. Some go as large as 30x40 inches.

Cherif was busy writing and I was busy painting. Then we switched, he painted and I wrote for awhile. We enjoy doing it that way, it keeps us fresh. The images are a combination of hand work and photography. That was 12 years ago. Now we do (Cherif does) a lot of photoshop also. We still like to finish with oil for the final piece.

The image at the top of this post is of the suffering artist from a collection entitled "After a day of working with Lynn". Very funny Cherif. Actually it's my little project that I hope to complete before I die. Working title, "The Sculptor".

Back to Passion's Blood. I got the armour for the guys from the local drama group. Cherif was surprised that it was something he would have chosen. He of little faith.

The different images for "Passion's Blood" came from about 6 different shoots. Now we have a tighter schedule. We work from a story board that describe the images we need. Of course we leave room for the inspirational moment that we can't predict. Two to three days of shooting covers our stories. With photoshop our locations are not as critical. Then the time consuming computer and hand work begins.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Book illustration career begins

It was 1993 and I owned a successful photography studio in a little IL. town. I also did a variety of art which included wall murals and backdrops for other photographers. I had 3 grown children and one grand child at the time. My youngest son had recently broken up with his girlfriend. Mom, meddling as usual, decided to set him up on a blind date. Where to go. Medieval Times was a new hot spot at the time. So, two sets of parents and the couple are off to the dinner performance. The show was great, but alas there was no chemistry between our young people.

After the performance I got a chance to thank our knight. As a photographer who knows great bone structure when she sees it, I could not help being impressed with our knights look and presence. When I thanked him for the performance I asked him if he needed additional comp pictures. Most young performers have little money for professional photography, a trade would work out well for both of us. I gave him my card and I really expected not to ever see him again. Two weeks later my secretary books a session with the young man from Medieval Times. Cherif Fortin

Needless to say the camera loved him. We developed a large collection of stock photographs. I was winning every photography competition that I entered. I was beginning to cross over to a mixed media presentation. Oil and Photography. No computer for me back then.

When Cherif and I would work together once in awhile he would have to make a phone call. I noticed that he doodled on a scratch pad as he talked. (Still does) the little line drawings were quite good.

I said, "Cherif, you didn't tell me you are interested in art." Then I had an idea. The backdrop business that I had created was getting to much for one lady to handle. My two sons were not interest in working with me on a regular basis. I could get them to help out once in awhile but in general it was not their cup of tea. Cherif could use extra work. It didn't take me long to bring him up to speed and we were producing a beautiful line of 10 feet by twenty feet hand painted masterpieces.

During this same time we were also creating covers for the romance industry. Our little company now was getting into the computer age. Not too much photoshop yet but our first writing effort was being fashioned on the little PC. his mom had gotten him. Soon we purchased a new PC. which Cherif assured me was very powerful. I wanted an Apple but I got voted down.

My film camera's were Nikon's and Hasselblads. Every thing is digital now. Still Nikon. I like my simple Nikon D 70 camera where Cherif has the larger, more expensive Nikons with more bells and whistles. (Boys and their toys) The technology changes daily. It's hard to keep up.

Passion's Blood was created backwards. The images inspired the book. Usually we get a story and it inspires the images. There are only four characters in the illustrations. Emric the hero, played by Cherif. Lady Leanna the heroine, who is actually Roy Orbison's (the singers) niece. Dave Spung, the king (Who was also the King at Medieval Times.) and our adorable bad guy Pat Lampke, also a knight at Medieval Times. He still rides in jousting matches and does acting parts in California.

I remember the feast scene. I had homemade breads and roasted chickens for props. The three men arrived hungry. I had to shoot quickly for they were eating the props before my very eyes. But they were so cute how could you get mad at them. That was a fun day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Welcome all incurable romantics

Greetings to my friends,
I hope I'm up to handling all this new technology. Nevertheless, here goes. My artist partner, Cherif Fortin, was surprised I had done this on my own. He suggested spell check and redrafted edited scripts. Waaaay too much trouble for me. I suggested he not look at the blog if my scribblings offended his literary sensibilities. I'm sure my friends will forgive me a few misspelled words and many poorly conceived sentence structures. As far as the direction of our discussions, I felt I had no control over that. He thought I could control the discussions. Dreamer.

So, down to business. I thought I would keep you all up on my illustration adventures. My dream for the last 15 years has been to establish the illustrated romance concept. A novella length hardbound book"20 to 30,000" words with wonderful illustrations throughout. Ten years ago Cherif and I published with Genesis Press the first illustrated romance.

Since "Passion's Blood" has been updated and released again by Medallion Press late last year, we have finished "There Be Dragon's" with New York Times best selling author Heather Graham. Which will be out in September.

We are now talking with New York Times best selling author, Angela Knight, about a Medieval Vampire book. Very excited about this.

Helen Rosburg's "Ellie and the Elven King" will be re-released in the fancy format next year. This is a darling little book, a love story with naughty fairies in a magical realm just beyond the fences of the south pasture.

You all got the idea that you have to rush out and buy these books as soon as they are available, right. And, tell all your friends. I have some signed copies of the ten year old version of Passion's Blood if anyone is a collector of history. The original "Ellie and The Elven King" is still available on Amazon.

Tomorrow I will start the history of Passion's Blood and it's creation. All the nuts and bolts of creating an image and all the drama and fun around the business. You'll also meet the handsome men and the lovely ladies that add all that spice to the images.
So stay tuned. All three of you!! Lynn