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ANTHONY CALANDRA

An Exploration of Children’s Book Illustration

Master of Fine Arts in Illustration Hartford Art School, University of Hartford


Anthony Calandra UHA ID#: 19282832 Final Thesis Project Course #: ILS970

An Exploration of Children’s Book Illustration

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Fine Arts Hartford Art School, University of Hartford

Defense Date:

Director of MFA Program: Thesis Advisor:

Murray Tinkelman Doug Anderson

Defense Committee Committee Chair ________________________________________________ Committee Member ______________________________________________ Committee Member ______________________________________________ Committee Member ______________________________________________


An Exploration of Children’s Book Illustration Table of Contents

Introduction.....................................................................1 Beginnings........................................................................2 Inspiration........................................................................5 Process............................................................................11 The Work.......................................................................23 Marketing Plan...............................................................33 The Program..................................................................37 Conclusion......................................................................42 Biography........................................................................43

Image Bibliography.........................................................44


INTRODUCTION

This thesis project is not only a product of the experience and education I

received in the MFA Low Residency Illustration program at the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford (HAS), but it is visual proof of my transformation as an artist. The two children’s books that I have written and illustrated represent a complete rebirth of my art career. I entered the program as a good artist without a voice. I exit the program a confident, well-prepared illustrator who has gained a wealth of knowledge from some amazing lecturers, professors, and classmates. Each of them are more talented than the next. I succeeded in becoming a sponge during the two years and two week program, and absorbed every piece of information I could at every opportunity. Where I stand today as an artist and as an illustrator could not have happened without this program.

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BEGINNINGS

I have always had an interest

in art and a love of drawing. I’d often stay indoors to draw instead going outside to play. My friends and I would get together for hours at a time, and just draw. When I was younger my skills were very raw. In order to make pictures that

Fig. 1 Anthony Calandra (b.1979), untitled, photo, Anthony working in bedroom studio in Amherst, NY, 1993.

excited and encouraged me, I started tracing other artists’ work. As time went by, I moved on to just looking at other artists’ work and copying. Eventually I began making my own original images. Years of continuous drawing helped me develop a solid grasp of perception and keen hand-eye coordination that is the foundation of my work today.

The art department in my high

school helped solidify my decision to become a professional artist, and strengthened my confidence that I had what it would take to become a success. I moved to Boston in 1997 and attended the Massachusetts College of Art (Mass Fig. 2 Anthony Calandra, Fold Study, 1996, colored pencil on black board.

Art) for undergraduate studies. In 2001 I earned a BFA degree in Illustration, 2


graduating with distinction and departmental honors. After graduation I worked for a short time as a texture artist for Papyrus Racing Games; Vivendi Universal, but in general it was a struggle to find consistent and fulfilling illustration and design work in Boston. I felt illprepared at the time to jump into pursuing a full-time career as a freelance illustrator.

I moved to New York City in 2005 in

hopes of a new start. But instead of trying to pursue a freelance illustration career in a new

Fig. 3 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2001, digital, texture designs for Kansas Speedway racetrack in NASCAR Racing 2002 Season, Papyrus Racing Games, Vivendi Universal.

city, I found myself with an opportunity to make a career as a full-time in-house graphic artist for a Halloween company. I found comfort in having a full-time job with benefits that I fully enjoyed, and not having to worry about finding work, marketing, price negotiation, or any of the other stressful aspects of being a freelancer. For seven years I worked in Manhattan in the graphics department for the Halloween company Fig. 4 (top) Anthony Calandra, Chop Shop, 2010, digital, logo design, Paper Magic Group, Inc. (bottom) Anthony Calandra, Speed Demon, 2010, digital, logo designs, Paper Magic Group, Inc.

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Paper Magic Group, Inc. The graphics department had a wide variety of respon-


sibilities. The costume and marketing departments relied on graphics to create artwork for the costumes, the packaging

www .

design and graphics, the cover-to-cover

. com

design and layout of two annual product catalogs, product design and illustration, and theme line branding. I was even asked to assist in product photo-shoots.

Fig. 5 Anthony Calandra, Wicked Neverland, 2011, digital, product catalog cover featuring the Wicked Neverland theme line, Paper Magic Group, Inc.

Ultimately I was promoted to senior

graphic artist, working as an additional creative director for the newly acquired sports licensing division. I was content with my job and with my ascension within the company, but change was thrust upon me. Paper Magic Group, Inc. sold its Halloween division, and once again I found myself Fig. 6 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2011, digital, branding logo and costume package design for Wicked Neverland theme line, Paper Magic Group, Inc.

without a job. It seemed like an ideal time for a revitalization of my career. 4


INSPIRATION

The Children’s Book market has been a new endeavor

for over the past year. Thanks to this program I am learning more about the children’s book market and illustrators every day. My appreciation of art began at a young age with a hefty collection of Little Golden Books. My favorite story was The Fig. 7 Gustaf Tenggren (1896-1970), The Poky Little Puppy, 1942, oil, story by Janette Sebring Lowrey (1892-1986), Little Golden Books.

Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey (1892-1986) and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren (1900-1900). Even though I had been exposed to a lot

of children’s books during my childhood, I never paid attention to who the illustrators were. It didn’t matter when you were a kid. I just knew I liked the stories, and read them over and over. By the time I gained a better appreciation of art and an interest in who illustrators were,

Fig. 8 Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), Where the Wild Things Are, 1963, mixed media, Harper and Row.

children’s book illustration wasn’t a field that interested me much. Save for some nostalgic memories, I simply hadn’t paid too much attention. Of course I could name a few of the more popular children’s book illustrators like Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel (1904-1991) and Maurice Sendak (1928Fig. 9 Theodore Geisel (1904-1991), Green Eggs and Ham, 1963, mixed media, Random House.

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2012), but as I entered grad school I would have been hard pressed to name ten. Therefore, the artistic influences that


helped shape my career came from a variety of other avenues of art.

Art that existed in popular culture seemed

to be the biggest influence on me when I was younger. The creations of such geniuses as Walt Disney (1901-1966) and Jim Henson (1936-1990)

Fig. 10 Walt Disney, 1942, still image from Saludos Amigos, RKO Radio Pictures.

captivated not only me, but countless generations. Donald Duck cartoons and shows like Fraggle Rock fueled my humor and creativity as a child. Famed American illustrator Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was a favorite of my grandmother’s, and she had paintings, mugs, plates, and Christmas decorations all featuring his imagery. His paintings are some of the earliest pieces of artwork that I can remember being drawn to. I didn’t know Fig. 11 Jim Henson, 1983, promotional image for Fraggle Rock, Henson Associates.

why they were good, but I knew that I was fascinated with them. Through my teenage years my artistic

exposure centered around cartoons from such production companies as Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros., and later through comic books by such artists as Rob Leifeld (b. 1967) and Todd McFarland (b.1961).

In high school I had my first mean-

ingful and influential exposure to an artist that was not in pop culture. My art teacher,

Fig. 12 (left) Rob Leifeld (b.1967), Youngblood, 1992, ink, cover of first issue, Image Comics. (right) Todd McFarland (b.1961), Spawn, 1992, ink, cover of first issue, Image Comics.

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and nationally recognized collage artist, Russell Ram (b.1948) introduced me to the work of William Harnett (1848-1892) and other trompe l’oeil artists like John F. Peto (1854-1907). Ram was one of the biggest personal influences on my art career. He made art fun, interesting, and challenging. Ram instilled a confidence in me and became an artistic inspiration to me. I then

Fig. 13 Russell Ram (b.1948), Let’s Talk Turkey, 2009, collage.

created a series of trompe l’oeil paintings that brought my technical skills and keen perception to a new level of achievement, and it has paid dividends in the work throughout my career.

It wasn’t until I attended un-

dergraduate studies in Boston that I Fig. 14 (left) William Harnett (1848-1892), Still Life; Violin and Music, 1888, oil. (right) John F. Peto (18541907), Letters, 1907, oil.

began learning a more thorough and complete history of art. Exposure to

so many new artists at one time left my head spinning. But in the end, I gravitated toward artwork with particular characteristics. Most of the artwork I found myself focusing on contained some or all of the following visual characteristics: elements displaying technical mastery like photo-real renderings, dramatic perspectives, bold color and lighting, and narrative or storytelling aspects. 7

Fig. 15 Anthony Calandra, Grandma’s Top Dresser Drawer #5, 1998, watercolor.


Italian Artists Gianlorenzo Bernini

(1598-1680) and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) were not only magnificent artists, but also brilliant storytellers. They used baroque ideology and techniques to create works of art that broke away from the traditions of Renaissance work that had dominated Europe during the 14th through 17th centuries.

Fig. 16 Michelangelo Caravaggio (1571-1610), The Calling of St. Matthew, 1599, oil.

Ornate details and grandiose displays of triumphant power enthralled audiences, engaging them in a more personal manner, and eliciting more of an emotional response. Carravaggio used tenebrism, or dramatic chiaroscuro in oil paint, and bold colors to captivate viewers while visual techniques like angled and dynamic compositions led them through a narrative. In his painting The Calling of St. Matthew, Carravaggio depicts the moment at which Jesus Christ inspires Matthew to follow him. A beam of light brightly illuminates the faces of the men sitting at the table while the figure of Christ is almost lost in the shadows. Bernini used delicate details and Fig. 17 Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), Apollo and Daphne, 1622-25, marble.

depicted his narrative through the physical act of viewing and experiencing his sculptures and 8


architecture. In his sculpture Apollo and Daphne, the figure of Daphne appears to be turning into a tree. The sculpture depicts an illustrative narrative as the viewer encircles it. Each display a mastery of skill in execution, but it’s their conveyance of a narrative through a single piece of artwork that adds a new level of appreciation.

However, no other artist was able

Fig. 18 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), The Discovery, 1956, oil.

to tell stories through their artwork like Rockwell. His mastery of oil paints, coupled with his keen wit, vaulted Rockwell to Illustration fame. The exaggerated facial expressions of his characters were unmatched. In Rockwell’s The Discovery, the expression on the little boy’s face gives new meaning to the expression “picture is worth a thousand words.” The boy has just found the hidden Santa Claus outfit in his parent’s dresser, and instantly you understand the shock and disappointment he must have been feeling. Rockwell’s Fig. 19 Murray Tinkelman (b.1933), untitled, 1974, pen and ink, used for cover of reprint of The Mask of Cthulhu by August Derleth (1909-1971), originally published 1958, Arkham House.

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characters are so endearing that one can’t help but become emotionally invested in his work.

I could not talk about the inspiration and


motivation that led to my MFA thesis project without giving credit to the graduate program itself at HAS. Program director Murray Tinkelman (b.1933) and his History of Illustration lectures gave me vast amounts of newfound insight and appreciation of the world of illustration from its early beginnings to present day. Since my new artistic direction began at the start of this graduate program, it’s only logical that all the informaFig. 20 Betsy Lewin (b.1937), Click, Clack, Moo; Cows that Type, 2000, watercolor, story by Doreen Cronin (no birthdate), Simon and Schuster.

tion, support, critique, and direction I have received from all my classmates and professors were

an influence in the execution of this thesis.

But none were more influential than professors Ted Lewin (b.1935) and Betsy

Lewin (b.1937). This husband and wife team teach the Children’s Book Illustration class in the HAS graduate program. They are each awardwinning children’s book illustrators of such popular titles as Click Clack Moo; Cows That Type, and Peppe the Lamplighter. Illustrating children’s books was not on my radar coming into the program, but through their class and through their tutelage, I have found a new niche that I hope will take my career to a new level.

Fig. 21 Ted Lewin (b.1935), Peppe the Lamplighter, 1993, watercolor, story by Elisa Bartone (no birthdate), Harper Collins.

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PROCESS

Creating this thesis began with the rediscovery of a medium. Using oil paints

had been a desire of mine since I was an undergraduate. Unfortunately the buildings that housed the design department and the student studio workspaces at The Massachusetts College of Art were not ventilated, and use of oil paints was forbidden. Much later in my career, I experimented with oil paints sporadically, and found that I had a strong affinity for their richness in color, creamy texture, and blending capabilities. I was far from proficient, but I was eager and determined to become a better oil painter. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to my artwork, and am rarely satisfied with an outcome when using an unfamiliar material. Frustrated with the lack of control and mere satisfactory results, I decided to revisit a medium that shared characteristics with oil paints.

I painted my first oil pastel painting in 15

years entitled 34th & 5th. The painting process and the painting itself were successful and encouraging enough to pursue the medium further. I was able to easily blend and manipulate the oil pastels due to their consistency, and the illustration was 11

Fig. 22 Anthony Calandra, 34th & 5th, 2011, oil pastel on chipboard.


unlike anything I had done before. The medium seemed to lend itself to my strengths. I was able to achieve a result that reflected all the positive attributes I hoped to get by using oil paints, only with a material I was much Fig. 23 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, Cray-Pas Expressionist series oil pastels.

more comfortable using. The

pastels combine all the benefits of oil paints with the control of a drawing medium.

The two brands of oil pastels I use in my paintings are Cray-Pas Expressionist

series and Sennilier Fine Art Oil Pastels. I use my fingers as blending tools, and have yet to find another instrument to smooth and manipulate the pastels that is superior to the versatility and delicate sensitivity of the human finger. Cray-Pas oil pastels are a little firmer than the Sennilier brand, making them ideally suited for areas of the painting that require a high amount of blending. I use the Cray-Pas to lay down an initial base layer of color and establish the basic form, tonality, and light source of the painting. Sennilier oil pastels are extremely soft and creamy. While these qualities make extensive blending difficult, layering over the harder Cray-Pas is quite effective. Over-blending and

Fig. 24 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, Sennilier Fine Art oil pastels.

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frequent contact with the softer pastels will result in them being wiped away completely. Therefore, I use the Sennilier oil pastels for the highlights, sharp shadows, defining details, and pure color accents added during the final stages of the painting.

One of the textural qualities

of oil pastels that makes them challenging to work with is that they retain tactile properties indefFig. 25 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, finger blending between multiple layers of oil pastels is often needed to fully cover the hardboard.

initely. In essence, they never dry. While it’s good that a painting can

easily be adjusted at any time, this viscosity presents serious difficulties in the precision of application and manipulation of the medium. Detailed paintings prove difficult. I tend to render oil pastel paintings from the top of the image toward the bottom, which most often means working from the background to the foreground. In general I work the elements of the painting to near completion in a single pass. This method ensures the color purity of the pastels and the blended areas, and keeps me from overworking a particular area. Progressing from top to bottom also allows me ample room to blend areas with downward strokes without having to worry about staying within specific contours or smudging adjacent areas. 13


I experimented with an old piece

of chipboard that was in my closet as the surface for my first oil pastel painting, and the results were good and bad. The rough, pock-marked texture of the chipboard was the right amount of tooth to really hold the oil pastels and give the piece characFig. 26 (left) Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, chipboard. (right) Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, hardboard mounted onto 3/4� wooden frame.

ter. Unfortunately the chipboard was very brittle, and warped after absorbing mois-

ture from the oil pastels. What I learned from that first painting is that while the texture of the chipboard created nice surface variations, I preferred working on areas of the board that were smoother. Hardboard was a logical substitution, offering solutions to the durability and texture issues. Gesso and other sealants make the surface of the hardboard too slick to accept the oil pastels, as they will simply wipe away with any contact or attempt to blend. Sanding the glossy surface of the hardboard gives it a perfect amount of tooth to work on, and the medium is applied directly onto the board. While this is not a decision that benefits longterm preservation of the artwork, I decided it was more important to have a surface better suited to receive the oil pastels than it was to seal the board.

Fig. 27 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, sanding the hardboard provides the perfect amount of tooth for use with oil pastels.

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Fig. 28 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 1- sanded hardboard.

Fig. 29 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 2- Prismacolor colored pencils won’t smudge.

Fig. 30 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 3- work from background to foreground.

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Fig. 31 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 4- careful not to smudge when painting or blending.

Fig. 32 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 5- color, contrast, and detail give sense of depth.

Fig. 33 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard.

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Working on a toned surface helps strengthen the perception of contrast through

the course of a painting. Pushing the darks while simultaneously pulling the lights in a painting becomes a clearer objective and more dramatic when not working on an allwhite surface. Using elements of color, contrast, and sharpness of detail, I am able to focus the viewer’s attention to specific areas of the painting. When moving from section to section, or from background to foreground, I use a razor blade to scrape paint from the surface of the hardboard. I do this to sharpen blended edges or to clean an area of the board from color contamination. Adjustments to the small details, color, and lighting are completed at the very end.

The results I was getting from this new medium were very exciting and encourag-

ing. Upon entering the graduate program at HAS I knew I wanted to utilize oil pastels. However, I still hadn’t decided what area of illustration I wanted to work in. Even though the body of work created for my graduate thesis will not be the last body of work I ever create, it’s crucial that it be personally significant. This thesis project will be used as a marketing and self-promotion tool that will help determine whether or not I am hired for assignments in the future. In addition, this new body of work coincides with the beginning of my new career, and should 17

Fig. 34 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, scraping the surface of the hardboard with a razor blade creates sharp edges and a clean surface.


be a reflection of that. Perhaps too much importance was being put on the outcome of this thesis considering that it supposed to be a dream-project of sorts, but none the less I was determined to find my own way.

Coming into graduate school I knew which areas of illustration interested me,

where my strengths were, and where I might be in over my head. The goal was to find an area of illustration for a potential longterm career, but not necessarily one that I was able to execute the best. The more I worked in oil pastels the more I realized that the turnaround time required for an illustration done in this medium was not very fast. Based on what I was able to do with the medium and the amount of time it took to complete an illustration, it seemed clear that jobs with longer deadlines seemed most appropriate. There are fields of illustration that require fast turnarounds, and therefore are not conducive to oil pastels. I could widen my career options in illustration if I would be willing to use mediums I worked faster with. However, I am committed to exploring the potential of oil pastels and this exciting new voice I have found.

After taking the Lewins’s Children’s Book Illustration class in the summer of

2011, I found my focus. Cartooning, animation, and cutesy imagery have never been my forte. These styles of illustration are not the only conduits for children’s books, but I kept an open mind. The Lewins’s assignment was to write and illustrate a children’s book. Surprisingly the project resulted in a very successful and solid resolution. The children’s book illustration market began to entice me because it felt like the perfect genre to compliment my new direction. The clean and dynamic illustrations produced with oil pastels are perfectly suited for the light-hearted, cartoon styling of children’s books. 18


However, illustrating a children’s book was a much

easier concept to grasp than writing one. The assignment did not require that we write a children’s book, only that we have a story prepared to illustrate. Instead of preparing a completely original story, I decided to illustrate a retelling of a popular story within the public domain. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), written under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, has always been a favorite story of mine. It has inspired such

Fig. 35 John Tenniel (1820 -1914), untitled, 1865, ink, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898).

iconic imagery as drawings by John Tenniel (1820-1914), paintings by Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935), and animations by companies like Disney. The White Rabbit Fig. 36 Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935), Alice in Wonderland, 1923, mixed media.

in Wonderland is my retelling of that tale, except this new adventure features the White Rabbit, not Alice. I thought

the challenge would be making my illustrations stand apart amongst the vast catalog of existing visual interpretations, but quickly learned that writing the story was just as difficult.

I consider myself a competent and

sometimes eloquent writer, but it was a daunting task to convey this story to 19

Fig. 37 Walt Disney, 1951, still image from original theatrical trailer for Alice in Wonderland, RKO Radio Pictures.


children in ways that they will understand and enjoy. The Lewins offered great instruction and first hand experience that helped guide me through the process of writing and illustrating my own children’s book. I used simple language and as few words as possible. It was a challenge to

Fig. 38 Anthony Calandra, The Garden, 2012, digital text over graphite, sketch from The White Rabbit in Wonderland book dummy.

maintain a clear and simple plot line, and the story dictated which illustrations were needed on which pages. Matching specific lines of text with the illustrations was also difficult, and there were even times when the text and illustrations evolved together.

The Lewins’s class went well for me , and I was very excited about The White Rab-

bit in Wonderland book dummy that I created. I made the decision that I would explore children’s book illustration for my thesis project. I began keeping notes and sketches of an additional book idea involving a near-sighted pigeon starting his own carrier pigeon delivery company. Using the knowledge gained from the Lewins’s class, my notes, the advice of my peers and professors, I found it easier to write my second children’s book, called Pigeon Droppings. When it came time to decide which of the two stories to use for my thesis, I chose to include both. I really enjoy the process of illustrating a children’s book and have discovered an interest in Fig. 39 Anthony Calandra, Poor Navigation, 2012, digital text over graphite, sketch from Pigeon Droppings book dummy.

writing, but it is clear to me that my strengths lie in creation of the illustrations. 20


My illustration process begins with

an obscene amount of thumbnails, or small rough layouts of an illustration. During this phase an illustration’s compositional elements, contrast, and point of view are all taken into consideration. The large amount of thumbnails make it easier to work out problems and

Fig. 40 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2012, ink, thumbnail sketches.

find creative new ways of telling the same story of a scene. The importance of thumbnails shouldn’t be understated as it’s arguably a more important stage than the final execution of a piece. If problems exist in the composition or readability of an illustration beyond the thumbnail stage, it’s rare that those problems can be sufficiently remedied at final execution of the piece.

Once I choose my direction, I start to bring the thumbnail to a more finished

rough draft by adding more and more detail and information. Sometimes multiple versions are done until I am confident with a solution. I will then scan all drawn and gathered reference into the computer, and work over my rough sketch as a template. Using Adobe Photoshop CS6, these images are sized, warped, and morphed to complete a final rough. Images like a bottle cap and textures like tree bark are imported into the digital illustration until I have some sort of Fig. 41 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2012, graphite, rough sketch.

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visual reference for all of the important elements of the piece.


The final illustration is then painted

using both the rough drawing and its digitally enhanced counterpart as visual guides, giving me a good foundation for the final illustration. There are many decisions that are Fig. 42 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2012, digital, final rough sketch with added photographic reference.

made during the process of painting that are not established ahead of time regarding color

and tonality. My system allows me to focus only on the final painting, and plays to my strengths of technical skill and ability to accurately render an image from observation or reference.

However, these steps don’t always occur in the same order for every illustration

I create. For some illustrations I will enter the digital phase a little earlier, and let the computer aid me in solving compositional issues. Photoshop allows compositional elements to be moved, manipulated, and duplicated to speed the problem solving process. Occasionally I won’t use any photographic reference when moving from the rough drawing to the final execution of an illustration, and I’ll simply let the oil pastels and my eye dictate the outcome. There are times when the subject matter lends itself to a more whimsical and less precise solution, and therefore detailed reference is not needed.

Fig. 43 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, detail in progress.

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THE WORK

Fig. 44 Anthony Calandra, Castle of Hearts, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from The White Rabbit in Wonderland, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra.

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Fig. 45 Anthony Calandra, The Weight of Time, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from The White Rabbit in Wonderland, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra.

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Fig. 46 Anthony Calandra, Magni-Flying Glass, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from The White Rabbit in Wonderland, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra.

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Fig. 47 Anthony Calandra, Key Solution, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from The White Rabbit in Wonderland, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra.

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Fig. 48 Anthony Calandra, Queen of Hearts Color and Character Study, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard.

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Fig. 49 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra.

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Fig. 50 Anthony Calandra, Poor Navigation, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra.

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Fig. 51 Anthony Calandra, Blind Leading the Blind, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra.

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Fig. 52 Anthony Calandra, Soaring, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra.

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Fig. 53 Anthony Calandra, Echo Color and Character Studies, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard.

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MARKETING PLAN

During the summer of 2011 I took a Business for Illustrators class as part of the

HAS graduate program. Upon the culmination of this class I was asked to submit a business plan for my future illustration career. At the time I was fully employed as a graphic artist in the Halloween industry, and was not interested in pursuing a full-time freelance career. In addition, I hadn’t yet found a unique marketable style of artwork from which to spring forth a new career, and was still unclear as to what area of illustration I wanted to focus on. As a result my initial business plan was vague, and I knew it would need to be revisited at a time when my artistic direction was a little more clear.

The two strongest promotional assets that I have as a foundation for the launch

of the new direction in my career are my personal logo and my website. A self-promotional and marketing class I took at Mass Art resulted in a personal logo that was commended by my professors and visiting art directors for its design, marketability, and potential to be a recognizable image to art directors. The logo reflects a time in my career when I was focused on digital art and graphics. My career path has since shifted into the children’s book illustration market, and future Fig. 54 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 1996, digital, personal logo and brand for Anthony Calandra.

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promotional material will reflect that, but my logo still holds up as a solid personal brand


that I hope to make more recognizable to art directors and publishers.

In 2003 I experienced perhaps

my biggest break in terms of promotion when I was cast in the NBC reality TV show Average Joe 2; Hawaii. On the show I was touted as being the ‘artist’, and my artwork got naFig. 55 www.anthonycalandra.com, 2013, digital, screenshot of opening page of website designed by Silent Gorilla, graphics for website by Anthony Calandra.

tional exposure on a cable television series watched by 15 million peo-

ple. There was a six-month difference between when the show was filmed and when it aired, and I was given advanced notice that I would be appearing on The Today Show in New York City. I collaborated with a web designer during those six months to design a website that I eventually promoted on live television. Due to the large volume of hits the website received, and through no additional action or cost of my own, my website is first to appear in every major search engine when you enter my name. My website has since been redesigned to showcase my artwork in a way that’s more modern, simple, and easier to navigate. Most importantly, the new website will be made on an IOS platform, where as my original website was Flash-based and could not be viewed on wireless devices.

I have recently revisited the

business plan, updated some of the changes that have occurred

Fig. 56 NBC, Average Joe 2; Hawaii, 2004, series brand.

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in my life since 2011, added some information concerning the new direction my career has taken, and adjusted the plan accordingly. There have been big changes in my art career in the Fig. 57 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, bookmarks featuring Anthony Calandra’s illustrations, logo, and website.

two years since. I now find myself unemployed

and no longer a member of the company that I saw myself growing with. I have finally discovered my artistic voice, and feel I have found a unique niche around which to build a new career. While my artwork can be successful in a multitude of different genres of illustration, I will pursue a career as a children’s book illustrator. Future promotional material such as book marks, magnets, and mailers will reflect that new imagery, but my brand will remain the same.

Being a salaried artist with a steady paycheck and benefits had always suited me

in the past. It was an ideal situation for me in the early stages of my career, and one that I still feel comfortable with today. The business side of being a freelance illustrator, and the large amount of pressure and stress that comes with it, has never been my strong suit. In the past I would rather have had a full-time art-related job in order to avoid things like contracts, pricing, greedy companies, late payments, or simple lack of work. However, this program has opened my eyes to the benefits of having an agent or 35


artist representation. My feelings toward a freelance illustration career are changing. Teaming with the right agent would avoid many headaches. While there’s a risk an agent will underbid on projects or not provide enough work, I would be willing to forfeit a commission percentage if it would allow me to focus on just making art. It’s easier said than done to find a good agent who is a right fit for you as much as you are a right fit for them, but ultimately that is my goal.

If I choose not to pursue a full-time freelance career there are two alternative

scenarios that I would consider. Both of these would allow me to continue to maintain a freelance illustration career on the side. One scenario would be to return to the Halloween industry as a graphic artist. New York City boasts three of the industry’s biggest companies, including the world’s biggest. I feel my seven years of industry experience, coupled with my newly polished portfolio, would be quite an asset. The other alternative would be to accrue teaching experience, seek a position as an adjunct professor at a higher education facility, and eventually pursue a full-time tenured position as a college professor. All options would afford me an acceptable balance between artwork for money and artwork for passion.

Fig. 58 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, magnets featuring Anthony Calandra’s illustrations, logo, and website.

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THE PROGRAM

The graduate Low Residency MFA Illustration program at the Hartford Art

School, University of Hartford was life-changing for me. I entered the program at a place in my career where I needed to elevate my work to another level. I hadn’t crossed that threshold of success where I felt that I was a solid enough artist to make a living solely on illustration. Throughout my career I have always had technically sound skills and could create very good illustrations. I was able to execute assignments in a variety of different mediums and styles, but not one particular marketable signature voice. While I was hopeful that a program of this nature was what I needed to vault my skills and career forward, I was not exactly sure what to expect.

One of the unexpected perks

of the program is the wealth of knowledge and experience you can absorb from your classmates. The talent and successful careers of my peers was very intimidating, and they had done so much more in their careers than I had. I initially felt I may have been in over my head artistically, and it was very humbling. The first assignment we received resulted in disaster for me, and had me 37

Fig. 59 Anthony Calandra, Townshend By Numbers, 2011, watercolor, with respect to Richard Hess (1934-1991).


questioning my talent. It wasn’t until I took the Lewins’s Children’s Book Illustration class that I felt like I had made a good decision in joining the program.

By the time a student in this program graduates, there will be in place a vast

network of connections made with professors, lecturers, and classmates. These associations are invaluable when trying to establish a career as an illustrator, and any advantage should be utilized. The knowledge gained from this program influenced everything from my techniques to my creative process. The faculty and my classmates at HAS were fountains of knowledge, and I became a sponge. Their suggestions, critiques, and direction helped guide me to a better understanding and execution of the creative process, and subsequently to a successful thesis. Coming out of this program I feel I have better grasp of my strengths and weaknesses, and can therefore be better prepared to situate myself in positions poised for success.

The program offers the unique and valuable opportunity for graduate students

to travel. Three summers are spent on the Hartford Art School campus in Hartford, CT. In the spring and fall between Hartford visits the program has week-long sessions in four different cities across the United States. We traveled to the cities of Fort Worth, TX, Pasadena, CA, New York, NY, and San Francisco, CA. Each city we visited offered a unique experience. The varying landscapes, cultures, architecture, and people resulted in as many different experiences as there were students in the program. As a continuous assignment the graduate students were asked to do four illustrations. Each would be a reaction piece that visually encapsulated what each of the cities we visited meant to us. These are three of the four illustrations I created as part of that assignment: 38


Fig. 60 Anthony Calandra, Paint Faster, 2011, oil pastel on hardboard, reaction illustration to HAS session in Pasadena, CA.

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Fig. 61 Anthony Calandra, From a Sixth Floor Window, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, reaction illustration to HAS session in Fort Worth, TX.

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Fig. 62 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, reaction illustration to HAS session in New York City, NY, subway lines added digitally over the scan.

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CONCLUSION

My family have always been my biggest fans and supporters. Throughout my

childhood they were always encouraging when it came to my artwork, and it was important to them that I be exposed to a wealth of culture. While my grades in school were good enough to consider any number of high-paying professions, my passion was always art. I feel fortunate that my parents were very supportive of my decision to pursue a career in art. Nothing makes me happier than to know that I have made them proud.

Rediscovering oil pastels and finding this new technique has brought a lot of new

passion to my art, and the work that I have produced since then has been very satisfying and encouraging. Embarking on a career as a children’s book illustrator is an exciting reality, but a daunting task to say the least. The timing of all the hiccups in my full-time graphic art career reinforced the notion that things happen for a reason. I was meant to enter this program, and because of doing so I will graduate and be better-positioned for the rebirth of my career. It was a necessary step to achieve success as a illustrator.

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BIOGRAPHY Education MFA in Illustration- Hartford Art School, University of Hartford 2013 BFA in Illustration- The Massachusetts College of Art 2001

Graduated with Distinction and Departmental Honors

New York State Summer School for the Arts (NYSSSA); School of Visual Arts 1996

Work Experience Paper Magic Group Inc.- Sr. Graphic Artist- New York, NY 2005 - 2012 Tommy Hilfiger- CAD Designer- New York, NY 2005 Papyrus Racing Games; Vivendi Universal- 2D Texture Artist- Concord, MA 2001

Achievements and Honors NBC- Average Joe 2; Hawaii 2004 Concord Art Association- Best In Show Grandma’s Top Dresser Drawer #5- Concord, MA 2002

juried by Howard Yezerski

Papyrus Racing Games- NASCAR Racing 2002 Season 2002 CMYK Magazine issue #14- Grandma’s Top Dresser Drawer #5 2001 Mugar Enterprises- B2K; Millennium Celebration Project Cavalcade of Cod- Boston, MA 2000 Pepsi Co. & Western New York United Against Drugs- Grand Prize Poster Contest- Buffalo, NY 1997 Massachusetts College of Art Scholarship for Outstanding Talent 1997 Beatrice Nie Scholarship for Outstanding Talent in Art 1997 Ilio DiPaolo Special Recognition Scholarship 1997 Toy Town USA Annual Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement 1997 Allentown Village Society Scholarship 1996

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IMAGE BIBLIOGRAPHY Fig. 1 Anthony Calandra (b.1979), untitled, photo, Anthony working in bedroom studio in Amherst, NY, 1993. Fig. 2 Anthony Calandra, Fold Study, 1996, colored pencil on black board. Fig. 3 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2001, digital, texture designs for Kansas Speedway racetrack in NASCAR Racing 2002 Season, Papyrus Racing Games, Vivendi Universal. Fig. 4 (top) Anthony Calandra, Chop Shop, 2010, digital, logo design, Paper Magic Group, Inc. Fig. 4 (bottom) Anthony Calandra, Speed Demon, 2010, digital, logo designs, Paper Magic Group, Inc. Fig. 5 Anthony Calandra, Wicked Neverland, 2011, digital, product catalog cover featuring the Wicked Neverland theme line, Paper Magic Group, Inc. Fig. 6 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2011, digital, branding logo and costume package design for Wicked Neverland theme line, Paper Magic Group, Inc. Fig. 7 Gustaf Tenggren (1896-1970), The Poky Little Puppy, 1942, oil, story by Janette Sebring Lowrey (1892-1986), Little Golden Books. Fig. 8 Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), Where the Wild Things Are, 1963, mixed media, Harper and Row. Fig. 9 Theodore Geisel (1904-1991), Green Eggs and Ham, 1963, mixed media, Random House. Fig. 10 Walt Disney, 1942, still image from Saludos Amigos, RKO Radio Pictures. Fig. 11 Jim Henson, 1983, photo, promotional image for Fraggle Rock, Henson Associates. Fig. 12 (left) Rob Leifeld (b.1967), Youngblood, 1992, ink, cover of first issue, Image Comics. Fig. 12 (right) Todd McFarland (b.1961), Spawn, 1992, ink, cover of first issue, Image Comics. Fig. 13 Russell Ram (b.1948), Let’s Talk Turkey, 2009, collage. Fig. 14 (left) William Harnett (1848-1892), Still Life; Violin and Music, 1888, oil. Fig. 14 (right) John F. Peto (1854-1907), Letters, 1907, oil. Fig. 15 Anthony Calandra, Grandma’s Top Dresser Drawer #5, 1998, watercolor. Fig. 16 Michelangelo Caravaggio (1571-1610), The Calling of St. Matthew, 1599, oil. Fig. 17 Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), Apollo and Daphne, 1622-25, marble. Fig. 18 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), The Discovery, 1956, oil. Fig. 19 Murray Tinkelman (b.1933), untitled, 1974, pen and ink, used for cover of reprint of The Mask of Cthulhu by August Derleth (1909-1971), originally published 1958, Arkham House. Fig. 20 Betsy Lewin (b.1937), Click, Clack, Moo; Cows that Type, 2000, watercolor, story by Doreen Cronin (no birth date), Simon and Schuster.

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Fig. 21 Ted Lewin (b.1935), Peppe the Lamplighter, 1993, watercolor, story by Elisa Bartone (no birth date), Harper Collins. Fig. 22 Anthony Calandra, 34th & 5th, 2011, oil pastel on chipboard. Fig. 23 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, Cray-Pas Expressionist series oil pastels. Fig. 24 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, Sennilier Fine Art oil pastels. Fig. 25 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, finger blending between multiple layers of oil pastels is often needed to fully cover the hardboard. Fig. 26 (left) Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, chipboard. Fig. 26 (right) Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, hardboard mounted onto 3/4” wooden frame. Fig. 27 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, sanding the hardboard provides the perfect amount of tooth for use with oil pastels. Fig. 28 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 1- sanded hardboard. Fig. 29 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 2- Prismacolor colored pencils won’t smudge. Fig. 30 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 3- work from background to foreground. Fig. 31 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 4- careful not to smudge when painting or blending. Fig. 32 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, step 5- color, contrast, and detail give sense of depth. Fig. 33 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard. Fig. 34 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, scraping the surface of the hardboard with a razor blade creates sharp edges and a clean surface. Fig. 35 John Tenniel (1820 -1914), untitled, 1865, ink, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898). Fig. 36 Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935), Alice in Wonderland, 1923, mixed media. Fig. 37 Walt Disney, 1951, still image from original theatrical trailer for Alice in Wonderland, RKO Radio Pictures. Fig. 38 Anthony Calandra, The Garden, 2012, digital text over graphite, sketch from The White Rabbit in Wonderland book dummy. Fig. 39 Anthony Calandra, Poor Navigation, 2012, digital text over graphite, sketch from Pigeon Droppings book dummy. Fig. 40 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2012, ink, thumbnail sketches. Fig. 41 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2012, graphite, rough sketch. Fig. 42 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2012, digital, final rough sketch with added photographic reference. Fig. 43 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, detail in progress. Fig. 44 Anthony Calandra, Castle of Hearts, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from White Rabbit in Wonderland,

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written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 45 Anthony Calandra, The Weight of Time, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from White Rabbit in Wonderland, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 46 Anthony Calandra, Magni-Flying Glass, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from White Rabbit in Wonderland, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 47 Anthony Calandra, Key Solution, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from White Rabbit in Wonderland, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 48 Anthony Calandra, Queen of Hearts Study, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, color and character study from White Rabbit in Wonderland, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 49 Anthony Calandra, Squints’ Time to Shine, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 50 Anthony Calandra, Poor Navigation, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 51 Anthony Calandra, Blind Leading the Blind, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 52 Anthony Calandra, Soaring, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, illustration from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 53 Anthony Calandra, Echo Studies, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, color and character study from Pigeon Droppings, written and illustrated by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 54 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 1996, digital, personal logo and brand for Anthony Calandra. Fig. 55 www.anthonycalandra.com, 2003, digital, opening page of website designed by Silent Gorilla, graphics for website by Anthony Calandra. Fig. 56 NBC, Average Joe 2; Hawaii, 2004, series brand. Fig. 57 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, bookmarks featuring Anthony Calandra’s illustrations, logo, and website. Fig. 58 Anthony Calandra, untitled, 2013, photo, magnets featuring Anthony Calandra’s illustrations, logo, and website. Fig. 59 Anthony Calandra, Townshend By Numbers, 2011, watercolor, with respect to Richard Hess (1934-1991). Fig. 60 Anthony Calandra, Paint Faster, 2011, oil pastel on hardboard, reaction illustration to HAS session in Pasadena, CA. Fig. 61 Anthony Calandra, From a Sixth Floor Window, 2012, oil pastel on hardboard, reaction illustration to HAS session in Fort Worth, TX. Fig. 62 Anthony Calandra, Midtown, 2013, oil pastel on hardboard, reaction illustration to HAS session in New York City, NY, subway lines added digitally over the scan.

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Anthony Calandra Thesis  

An Exploration of Children's Book Illustration, The White Rabbit in Wonderland, Pigeon Droppings, oil pastel on hardboard, creation process,...

Anthony Calandra Thesis  

An Exploration of Children's Book Illustration, The White Rabbit in Wonderland, Pigeon Droppings, oil pastel on hardboard, creation process,...

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