Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Reflection Gallery hosts children’s book illustrations by Finlandia artists

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, is hosting an exhibition of children’s book illustrations by Brooke Cummings and Mallory Torola through Feb. 26, 2011.

Book illustration by Brooke Cummings, Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Illustration major. Click on images for larger versions. (Images courtesy Finlandia University)

An opening reception and artist talk will take place at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Reflection Gallery, located on the second level of the Finlandia University Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan St., Hancock. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Brooke Cummings and Mallory Torola are both junior Illustration majors in the Finlandia University International School of Art and Design. The women both used colored pencils on illustration board, along with oil and liquin gel to blend the colors into vibrant images. Liquin is an alkyd medium traditionally used in oil painting to speed the drying rate of oil paint.

Cummings found inspiration for her work in recalling that as a child she enjoyed "Look and Find" books such as the I SPY series from Scholastic Books.

"Each page drew me in as I searched for the specific character, object, or place you needed to find, ending with a growing satisfaction once I’d completed a page," she explains.

Book illustration by Brooke Cummings, Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Illustration major.

The "Look and Find" game is simple, but Cummings’s illustrations are complex, vibrant, and highly detailed.

"Rather than creating a book with one continuous storyline, I wanted to create a game with a different story on each page, and create a fun atmosphere for the people viewing it," she says.

Cummings says that to intensify the colors and give her work a more painted look she spread liquin gel and oil over the colored pencil drawings. While she is very familiar with colored pencils, she notes that the use of the liquin and oil was an approach she hadn’t used before.

Mallory Torola presents illustrations from Into the Land of Sunshine, a book about a young girl and her monster friend from under the bed. The girl and the monster venture in imaginary lands, learning lessons along the way.

Book illustration from Into the Land of Sunshine, by Mallory Torola, Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Illustration major.

"I like to draw images and scenes that people can relate to -- ones that are childish, fanciful, and colorful," Torola says about her work. "I incorporate quirky characters and animals with human qualities into my pieces because I think we trust and remember these images from childhood -- a time when everything was simpler."

As her medium, Torola also used the combination of colored pencil with oil and liquin.

"The liquin and oil dissolve and blend with the colored pencil, enabling me to build up bright layers of many different colors much faster than oil paint or colored pencil alone," Torola explains.

Book illustration from Into the Land of Sunshine, by Mallory Torola, Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Illustration major.

"The technique is a very successful combination," she adds. "The method draws my images off the page, creating bright, fun scenes of imaginary, distant lands."

For additional information, please contact Yueh-mei Cheng, professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375 or yueh-mei.cheng@finlandia.edu.

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