As part of Blogging for a Cure, I’m happy to feature Abigail Marble’s snowflake, “Making Snow."
"Making Snow" by Abigail Marble
ABOUT ABIGAIL MARBLE:
Abigail was kind enough to answer some questions over email. Here are her thoughtful and delightfully funny answers:
How did you get started as an artist?
I tagged along to my mom's watercolor classes starting when I was about 6 years old, and painted whatever she and her classmates were painting. Or tried, anyway. My family was always supportive, and I drew and painted all the time, as far back as I can remember. In grade school I was labeled the 'arty girl.' I used to give drawing lessons at recess, teaching other girls how to draw unicorns and princesses. There was an arty boy who took care of the boys who wanted to draw guns and machinery.
I took art as my main elective throughout high school, and majored in art in college. From first grade on, my plan was to write and illustrate children's books, but when I graduated from college, I wasn't sure how I could make a living in illustration, and detoured into the graphic design field. That in itself has been a good education and foundation for my illustration work, but it has also been very consuming, and it involves way too much time on the computer. Over the past few years I have been able to focus more on painting and pursuing illustration work, and it feels great!
I'm also inspired by other people's art, by great novels, and by paint itself.
I have so many, it's hard to choose. This month I have been in love with Ben Shahn, Toulouse-Lautrec, Leonard Baskin and Richard Diebenkorn. I don't know if you'd guess that from looking at my illustrations, though. Illustrators I love include Helen Oxenbury, Lisbeth Zwerger, Evaline Ness, Leo Lionni...I could go on and on. As a kid I used to pore over Carl Larsson's "A Home" and the Gnome Book.
I have a great studio space, that is pretty ideal in that it is fairly large, has decent light, and I can leave my stuff everywhere and no one complains about it. And it's cheap! Of course it would be even better if someone magical elves came along to tidy it up now and then. And in my fantasy world it would have picture windows with a view of water...
You recently illustrated My Secret Bully, a book designed to help children cope with “emotional bullying”--the kind of bullying that doesn’t leave bruises, but hurts just as much. What was the most interesting thing about working on this book?
That was my first published book, so everything about the process was new and exciting. I was able to meet the author, Trudy Ludwig, because she also lives in
Since the book was published, the most interesting thing has been the responses of the women and children who have read it. Almost every woman I shared it with remembered being caught up in emotional bullying in some role-- bullied, bully, or bystander. It's a big deal, and traumatic enough to stand out in their memories decades later. I personally feel like my school experience from 4th through 6th grade was completely dominated (and tainted) by this kind of social stuff.
And sadly, that hasn't changed -- if anything, it's happening with younger and younger kids. Parents I know who've shared the book with their 1st and 2nd graders have told me that they had no idea their kids were having these hurtful situations at school until the book started the conversation about it. I know many schools, libraries, and school counselors have bought the book, so I hope it is helping start that conversation for lots of children.
How did you come up with your snowflake design for this year’s Robert’s Snow?
My snowflake is sort of a self-portrait from my childhood. My mom taught us how to make 6-sided snowflakes one year, and my sister and I went nuts making them. Our house had big picture windows, and we filled them all with snowflakes. This may reflect the fact that children in
Once you began, was there anything especially interesting, challenging, or surprising about the project?
I had no idea that the actual snowflakes were so small! I tend to work big when I paint with acrylics, so scaling down was a challenge. I loved doing both sides as a tiny little narrative.
What advice would you give to young people interested in becoming an artist?
Oh, gee...the usual, I guess: draw all the time, look at other people's work as much as you can, find good teachers. That's not very helpful, is it?
I can do better:
Learn to hear your critics and glean the useful seeds from the criticism.
It's easy to write off all criticism, but the right insight at the right time can change your work for the better. Also, persevere -- that's a big one for me, as I have a lot going on and get sidetracked easily. I have a quote up on my wall from Ariel Schrag, the graphic novelist, that says, "Finishing is really underrated and an important part of the creative process." Yes. Yes!!! I try to remind myself of that often.
I'd just like to say that Robert's Snow is a wonderful cause. The project was developed by two really beautiful people whose hearts were big enough to think of others even at their lowest moments. I hope readers will take a moment to read about the auctions and look at all the beautiful work donated by many, many talented people. It's a testament to what can happen when people lead with their hearts. I am very proud to be associated with the project.
Here are the other snowflakes featured today:
- Julie Fromme Fortenberry at Your Neighborhood Librarian
- Sarah Dillard at The Silver Lining
- John Hassett at cynthialord's Journal
How you can help Robert's Snow:
- Thank Abigail Marble for donating her time and talents and let her know what you think of her snowflake, "Making Snow"
- Check out the other Blogging for a Cure snowflake features: a schedule is updated weekly on the sidebar to the right, and previous posts can be found at Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast (Thank you, Jules & Eisha!)
- Visit Robert's Snow to view all the snowflakes (not all the snowflakes were ready in time to be featured by Blogging for a Cure, so be sure to visit the official site so you don't miss any)
- Bid on your favorite snowflakes during the three auctions held Nov. 19-Dec. 7
- Spread the word! Tell you grandmother, your neighbor, your postman. Send them a link to this post or to any Robert's Snow post.