Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious affinity for the era of American westward expansion. Really, I have an affinity for any era, but the old West stands out to me because of the visuals - it was untamed rolling landscapes of plains, mountains, grasslands, lakes, forests, and deserts engulfing the tiny people and families who endured the hardships in hopes of new beginnings. For this illustration, I wanted to go the opposite, meaning make the kids seem bigger than life against the landscape as if they're overcoming it rather than being defeated by it. Of course once you think about larger than life figures on the western frontier, you immediately think of Thomas Hart Benton, right??
I used Benton as inspiration for this assignment, especially in the way that he composed his murals around the hard right angles of architecture (see image below.) I knew I had to deal with a rectangular box of some sort in the middle of my composition, so it just made sense. From there it was just about adding a modern children's illustration touch to it to help bring to life the text.
|Kids on the Frontier|
|Design and layout by Appleseeds Magazine|
|Thomas Hart Benton|