Kelly with artwork from "Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters"
Kelly and an original from "Secrets At Sea"
Roya having her book signed by Kelly
Last week, Kelly Murphy, the wonderful children’s book illustrator, visited our class. Kelly illustrates picture books as well as middle grade novel covers and interiors. She graduated from RISD in 1999 and has published many books since then. Kelly now teaches at RISD in the Illustration department. In fact, her classroom is just down the hall from ours in the ISB building!
Kelly was very generous with her time and brought many samples of original artwork, from paintings to dummies and sketches. She works both in color and black and white. Her color work is done mostly in acrylics. She starts with a gesso or gel under painting mixed with a single color in oil paint. Then she begins to layer with washes of acrylic. Her under painting helps to unify the colors in her atmospheric art. Each paintings takes her about 40 hours to complete.
Even without color, Kelly manages to create a lot of atmosphere. Some of her most beautiful sketches were done in ballpoint pen on plain paper. Kelly says she likes to sketch with pen because it forces her to get it right and be bolder. She later recreates the sketches for the finals with a micron pen. Recently she has also published work created in graphite. A wonderful example of that is the interior art for “Secrets At Sea” by Richard Peck.
Kelly was an inspiration to all of us!