a few questions for ned gannon...
Why is this your favorite illustration from The Woman and the Wheat?
The clouds and field of wheat in this image reflect a few of the best memories I have of my time growing up in Kansas.
How was working on this book different from working on The Man and the Vine?
Because The Man and the Vine depicted a relationship between a man and a child, warmth naturally stemmed from scenes where they interact. The Woman and the Wheat is more solitary so I found that the woman's interaction with nature, her dog, and the act of making bread needed to provide that imaginative warmth.
What sort of medium did you use to paint this book?
Similar to The Man and the Vine, I used acrylics, though I did begin with ink on many of these images, which I did not do for The Man and the Vine images. I began with thinner washes, almost like watercolor, and then moved into more opaque or thicker applications as I built the richer colors and highlights.
I noticed you put a dog into the story. Do you have a dog that follows you around and sleeps under your table when you paint?
Actually, SVS Press talked to me about creating a companion for the Woman. I gravitated to a dog, because I have one and love them. My dog's name is Agnes, and, yes, she often can be found at my feet when I paint (though she's too hairy to have in the kitchen when I am baking). She's getting old now, and has been through a lot with me – especially my years in New York. The dog in The Woman and the Wheat looks almost exactly like my dog, except Agnes is totally black.
What was the hardest part about illustrating this book?
The hardest part about illustrating anything, for me, is being faithful to both the text and my own vision. At times, you have to remind yourself that the project is a collaborative effort and be attentive to details, and other times, you need forget that and make the paintings yours.
What is your favorite kind of bread?
I love any kind of bread so this is a tough question, but it's hard to beat warm Naan or the bread that the Amish bake for the farmer's market where I live.
Any advice for children who want to become illustrators?
Draw a lot and seek out sources for illustration – picture books, illustrated novels, graphic novels, or other materials.