One of the things an illustrator needs to be nowadays is versatile. I have a “lighter” style of illustration but also hold on to a traditional approach. While it’s great to create whimsical illustration it also pays, literally, to be able to draw somewhat realistically. Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to illustrate stories about great people including Harriet Tubman. For the book “The Story of Harriet Tubman: Conductor of The Underground Railroad” (Dell Yearling) I learned many interesting facts about her life and also did a lot of research for the places and settings for the story. The illustration of Harriet standing in the doorway at the general store was used by Maryland PBS to show that scene in a program they were creating because, I was told, of the accuracy of the scene. I encourage illustrators to explore historic subjects for their own portfolios. This is part of a series of my favorite illustrations from the book.
Here (b/w pencil on wc paper), Young Harriet protects an escaping slave by blocking the doorway. This event resulted in Harriet being hit with a scale weight and receiving a scar on her forehead.