The Moonlit Vale is a collection of ink drawings by Annie Stegg Gerard. They are appearing in a coloring book which is being funded on Kickstarter and will be printed in December 2017. Annie was kind enough to stop by my spacious, zombie-proof bunker to talk with me about her process and motivation behind the creation of her forthcoming book. So, I'll get right to the point: How are you doing these? And secondly; just how? ASG: "I begin with a rough layout drawing that I then transfer down to a clean sheet of heavyweight drawing paper (using a small light table). I keep the lines in my transfer very light and sparse. I don't like to over-detail the pencil. I want just enough to keep the proportions right.
To ink I use very fine Micron felt tip pens, and some bigger markers for the black fills."
As you can see from the video, the linework only offerst the barest suggestion of a guide, just enough to keep the proportions correct, but leaving out all the minor details and designs.
You are a mom of two now, has that affected how much you can work?
ASG: "Yes. Having kids has changed a lot of the ways I work and this project is in many ways a response to that change. I love being with my babies, but watching them can be exhausting and after they've gone to bed it would be easy to just do nothing and call it an evening. But I don't want to lose the creative part of my soul, so I started doing these ink drawings each night as a means to keep that part of me sharp and alive.
I wanted something to work on that I could do in the few hours at night after they've gone to sleep, but before I go to sleep. Also, I wanted it to be something that was mine, and not client-related so that it would offer that spiritual recharge that painting has always given me.
ASG: "I wanted something that didn't need a lot of clean-up (like oils). I love pencil drawing, but I decided to do ink since Inktober was on and it offered an interesting challenge. I've always loved the golden age ink illustrators, particularly Franklin Booth, Frank Pape, and of course Arthur Rackham, and they became my guiding lights for the project."
What made you decide to turn these inks into a coloring book?
ASG: "For me personally, drawing has always been a meditation. It helps me deal with stress and anxiety and is a great way to decompress at the end of a long day. In particular I find that getting lost in the rendering to be such a calming experience. Especially natural forms, foliage, figures, animals and organic patterns. A coloring book offers me the chance to share this meditation with others. I hope it brings the same kind of enjoyment to those who color it that I got from inking it."
Will you ever color these drawings yourself?
ASG: "Definitely! It will be nice to have a backlog of drawings to paint from in the future. But in the meantime I look forward to seeing what others come up with for these images!"
Any last words for our readers? ASG: "Your hopes and dreams are what make you, you. Life can be tough, but it's important for you to make time, push forward and pursue those dreams." The Moonlit Vale reached it's funding goal on November 1st, and is available to back until the end November 2017. You can check it out here.