Wings for a Flower
story and illustrations by Ellen Gaffney
The artwork for this book is done entirely in cut or torn paper. Many types of paper were used: tissue paper, magazines, art paper, handmade papers, pretty much whatever worked for the image I was making. To maintain consistency in the setting, I often worked with multiple images on my desk, as you see in the picture to the right.
These are a few character sketches of Lotus' mom. It's tricky to get character consistency in any medium, but in cut paper, it might be a little harder than some others. I usually used specific colors for specific characters, and tried to convey their personalities by their physical gestures.
As with Lotus' mom, I wanted to try to remember Lotus Blossom's personality as I was doing the illustrations for the book, and the sketches helped a lot with that.
Lotus would probably tell you herself that she's a little shy - at least she was when she was younger, so I tried to convey that in her body language.
This is the other intricate street scene in the book. I saw women walking all through Lotus' neighborhood with their water jugs, on their way to or from the water truck or a pump. You can tell from the size of the jugs that they must be quite heavy when they're full of water.
This illustration was both a lot of fun, and a lot of work. It shows the passing of time, both through days and through seasons. It also depicts many of the things one sees on the streets of the large Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras). There's activity everywhere one looks, pretty much any time of the day or night.
water truck in the neighborhood
building a street scene
The Artwork for Wings for a Flower