Sketch no 4.
Mother and child by Erica Stenkrona
Caran d´Ache (Pablo) color pencils on rough brown paper
I listen to podcasts and to the radio when I work in the studio at school or at home and when I go on my endless walks with my dog Boris. I especially enjoy listening to radio documentaries. One day I listened to a conversation on a radio show called "The Radio Psychologist" (Radiopsykologen) that
deeply touched me. A mother, called Maria, described her feelings about her young son who has autism. She had a beautiful way of articulating her feelings of love and desperation, so in the end of the conversation the male psychologist cried, and I am sure so did most of us who were listening to Maria.
"I just want him to call me mom! Just once." she said.
I gave myself a commission to make a picture book about Maria and her struggle with and for her son. A couple of weeks ago I met with her and interviewed her. Her son is a handsome boy, three years old. (Or was it four...?) It will be a challenging and exciting undertaking.
Obviously I have not written nor illustrated a picture book. (But I have read and studied hundreds of children´s books). One excellent illustrator and writer is Shaun Tan and he writes in his book "The Bird King and other sketches":
"My stories generally begin with images rather than words,
modest sketches drawn in a fairly aimless way."
So that is where I´m starting, with sketching. Above is my sketch no. 4. Below is sketches no. 1-3.
Sketch no. 1
Pencil on newspaper paper.
Sketch no. 2
Pencil on newspaper paper.
Sketch no 3.
Pencil on brown paper.
Madonna and Child with a Pear, 1526, by Albrecht Dürer
Oil on wood.
Here is another quote from the book "The Bird King and other sketches" by Shaun Tan:
"Paul Klee has a second good metaphor: the artist as a tree, drawing from a rich compost of experience - things seen, read, told and dreamt - in order to grow leaves, flowers and fruit. Art, following the laws of horticulture, can only make something out of something else: artists do not create so much as transform. That´s not to say the process is a casual or simple one. I find that good drawing requires conscientious effort: active research, careful observation of things around me, ongoing experimentation and reference gathering, all of which exist behind the scenes."
Peasant Woman Nursing a Baby, 1873, by Aimé-Jules Dalou.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
As many mothers know, the time with your first baby is not a dance on roses. Then imaging your
baby crying and crying, turning away from you and nothing that you do will bring solice. I
am at awe for all the mothers who embrace their autistic children and this picture book project
will be my humble salute for one of these brave mothers.