Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Geraldine & Co.

I've been working on a new line of mini zipper pouches inspired by one of my original illustrated characters: Geraldine. She is a new character I created this year while playing around with markers and gel pens in the hopes of creating a looser, more dynamic style, different from my usual oil paint and collage style I use in my children's book illustrations.

Meet Geraldine!

She is inquisitive, sassy, loves to dance and get into trouble!

The line of pouches is called Geraldine & Co., which I realized this weekend are perfect to carry crayons, colored pencils or or mini markers.... 


But then I thought- hey, wouldn't it be cool if Geraldine had her own crayons? So I stripped the crayons I had of their paper wrappers...


and added my own!

Hmmm... I should make a Geraldine & Co. coloring book to go with it... and paper dolls! Maybe in the next few months!

Next, meet Ellie:

She is a character inspired by this old photo of my mom I keep on my desk:

She's peeking through the curtains in the parlor where the Christmas tree was placed at her grandmother's old house. (

She's got a mischievous streak too, I bet! Don't you wish you could go back in time and see how your parents acted when they were children? If I had a time machine, that's what I'd do. Being the middle sister I bet little Ellie got into loads of trouble.. but you'd never guess it; seeing the responsible and accomplished mother and wife that she grew up to be! 

Well along with the Ellie zipper pouch, I created a mini collection of another of my characters: Aminata...

Aminata is the name of the girl's little doll, and she is inspired by a book my mom read as a child  called "Hitty, Her First 100 years" by Rachel Field, illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop, in which the little doll has loads of adventures and travels the world.

I love the stark black and white illustrations!

I also created pouches of  my characters Elephant, Gazelle and Peacok. They arose as illustrations for a re-interpretation of the story "The Gift of the Magi". In my version, Peacock and Gazelle are best friends and they each shed something from their bodies to buy a gift for the other.

This style is inspired by the "mudcloth" paintings of northern Ivory Coast, West Africa. There, they are called "Toile de Korhogo" (Korhogo cloth), after the northern town where they are created. I grew up in the capital city, Abidjan, in the south of the country, and always really admired this style of art and the artists who create it:

and all I want to do is sit on the floor next to my boom box and paint... ahh....

Hopefully, making these zipper pouches with various characters will help me come up with some story lines to write about them. I've only published children's books that have been written by other (very talented) authors and would love to some day write and illustrate my own stories from start to finish. For now, my characters and I are just playing! 

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