Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book and Art Spotlight: Jason Sandberg

Candy and the Cankersaur 
by Jason Sandberg

Kindle Buy Link
File Size: 8358 KB
Print Length: 34 pages
Publisher: Jason Sandberg eBooks (June 12, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

About the book:

This is the sweet and funny tale of a young girl named Candy and her Cankersaurus Rex! Candy receives a dinosaur as a gift and is determined to train him to be a good pet. This playful homage to Syd Hoff will make all dinosaur-crazy boys and girls happy! 

Q&A with Jason Sandberg

Can you tell us about another project you are working on? A painting or a picture book? (or both!)  
I’m in the planning/sketching stages of my next book, all I can say at this time is that it’s about a turtle.  The ongoing project for this Spring will be working on Spanish editions of my books with my friend Martin Bucio.

Horse Number Three
2004, 30x24 inches
Acrylic on board, Sold
When you come up with an idea for a book, what does your process look like? What comes first, the words or the pictures? How do you refine the art and the words? 
It usually begins with the characters.  I believe that kids need appealing characters to draw them into a Picture Book.  Once I have the characters I come up with an appropriate conundrum to challenge them.  Then I begin to thumbnail the story on recipe cards.  I draw little sketches of the story beats with a first draft of dialogue. Once I’m certain I have the minimum building blocks of a book I place it in the filing cabinet for a few weeks while I work on other projects.  As I’m walking around in the interim I’ll make notes to myself about what I should add or change.  Then I pull the recipe cards out of the filing cabinet and look at everything with fresh eyes.  I’ll do a second draft on recipe cards with more detailed sketches, allowing me to play with the pacing and story structure.  When I’m comfortable with how the story is arranged I translate my recipe cards into the second draft of the text, followed by the artwork.  I’ll pass the text among friends and family while I’m working on the artwork.  That gives them plenty of time to get back to me with suggestions and typos to fix.

The Shell Collectors
2010, 30x24 inches
Acrylic on board, $4,000.00
How do you get inspiration for your artwork? How many drafts of a painting do you usually do before your final? 
When I’m beginning a Realist painting I set a challenge for myself, such as “how will you create the illusion of ice and slush?”  Then the secondary challenged is to accomplish the first and make something aesthetically pleasing.  The Realist paintings give me month-long ice cream headaches, but I feel stronger at the end.  The Abstractions and Impressionist paintings work differently.  Those paintings are akin to exploration, how can I “paint incorrectly” and make it work?  The Abstractions and Impressionist paintings usually only take a few hours spread over a few days.

Which are you more proud of, your realist paintings or your abstract?   In your opinion, what are their distinct strengths?
I have a greater sense of accomplishment when I finish a Realist painting because there are so many opportunities for the image to collapse along the way.  A painting is the end result of a cumulative process, and each step of the way is a dance between experiment and previously acquired craftsmanship.  I don’t necessarily feel pride when I’ve completed an Abstraction.  There’s a sense of delight and discovery, an opportunity to ponder why the non-real can cause an aesthetic response.

Eiffel Tower Number 3
2013, 24x30 inches
Acrylic on board, $4,000.00

Do you have any goals for yourself as a painter or a picture book writer and illustrator that you'd care to share?  
When I create a picture book I aim to make something that everyone can get a kick out of.  I try to slip in things to make adults/parents laugh.  I view quality as the ability of a book to hold up under multiple reads!  My overarching goal is to continually aim for quality, to make books and paintings that will survive the test of time.  

How did you get into art? What gave you the push?  
When I was 6 my grandmother took me along while she was running errands.  At the drugstore she bought me a comic book by Jack Kirby and the images jumped off the page.  I knew that I was holding inert newsprint in my hands but his drawings seemed to move and vibrate, it was akin to seeing a magic trick and wanting to figure out how it was done! 

Initially, was your family more discouraging or supportive? What was the environment?  
Salutary neglect that grew into pleasant surprise.  I don’t come from an artsy family, there are creative-thinking and problem-solving traits in my extended family but I believe I’m the only artist.  I have come to the conclusion that the act of making art can’t make someone an artist.  What makes someone an artist is the inability to not make art, and discouragement or support can’t affect that.  I have to do this.

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