Jane Dippold divides her time between illustrating children’s books and creating collage paintings, often landscapes of the countryside near her home north of Dayton.
Jane lives in this beautiful century home in Coldwater, Ohio.
Before going to her second floor studio, Jane showed me some of her artwork that is hanging in her home. The small piece in the upper left corner of the first photo was her first collage painting.
We went to Jane’s studio. I asked her to tell me about her background.
“I have been a full time artist since graduating from Miami University with a degree in Graphic Design. My first job was as an artist for Gibson Greeting Cards in Cincinnati. I loved that job. I was in an art department with 30 to 40 very talented artists. I created art 40 hours a week, and had the opportunities to learn and try many different styles, subject matter and techniques.
“Then I started freelancing, creating puzzles and illustrations for children’s magazines such as Ladybug, Spider and Highlights. This children’s work eventually lead me to a career illustrating children’s books.”
I asked Jane if she would show me some of the children’s books she had illustrated. One of the books she showed me, Farmers’ Market Day, written by Shanda Trent and published by Tiger Tales, was selected for the “Choose to Read Ohio” program for 2015-2016. This program promotes reading in Ohio and spotlights the work of Ohio authors and illustrators.
“Most of an illustrator’s time is spent quietly in a studio by themselves,” Jane told me. “Illustrators don’t get out much. But thanks to Farmers’ Market Day, I was invited to a book signing during the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus and a reception at the Ohio Governor’s mansion this past spring. It was a lot of fun to meet so many book lovers and also to meet some of my favorite authors and illustrators that attended the festival.”
Then Jane showed me some of her original art from Farmers’ Market Day done in black prismacolor pencil and painted with watercolors.
I asked Jane when she started doing her landscape collage paintings.
“I was working in a collage technique a few years ago on some artwork for Valentine and Birthday card designs for Current. The paper for the collages was tissue and newsprint which I had hand painted in the colors I needed. One day I noticed that a pile of this painted paper on the floor looked like a landscape.”
“I decided to try an experiment. I took some photographs of local landscape scenes, with their beautiful fields and barns, and then created some collages of these scenes. I loved the result.”
“As I created more and more of these collage paintings I learned that I could take this basic approach and push it in many ways. I could overlay strips of unpainted tissue to mute colors or I could paint over some areas. Paper can be painted opaquely or with texture. I can add torn pages from books and allow words to remain visible. I can also add line drawings to create details like telephone lines. The collage technique shows me something new with every painting I create.”
I asked Jane whether she preferred her work as an illustrator or as a collage painter.
“I love them both. Although as an artist, I use the same set of skills in both of these types of work, the intention of the final artwork is different.
“As an children’s illustrator I use my talent to bring an author’s words to life, working as a team with the editor and art director, and in that process adding some of myself to the book. The final result is hopefully the best possible merging of art and words in the printed book.
“In my collage artwork, I have complete freedom of expression. I can create artwork from what inspires me in the world without limitation. The final artwork being more personal and hopefully inspiring to a viewer in a gallery. But my fine art work may never be seen and enjoyed by as many people as the paintings I create to illustrate a book like Farmers’ Market Day.
“Through experimentation, I would like to eventually merge my work as an illustrator with my work as a collage painter. I am currently working on my own stories as author and illustrator and these are perfect opportunities to do just that. I am always learning something new while creating illustrations and collage artwork. Perhaps a landscape image like the one on my easel today will find its way into a book.”
Before leaving, I asked Jane to pose for a portrait in front of one of her works.