Happy to see you here - hope you all are having a wonderful 2012 so far!
I wanted to share with you a recent illustration that I had painted late last year. It was a challenge for me that upon reflection, pushed me to work hard, think hard and try harder with my watercolors. I am pretty happy with the result and very much enjoyed the process!
Presenting my official entry to the SCBWI Tomie dePaola contest . If you aren't familiar with the contest, Tomie dePaola chose text for all to illlustrate and wow him..and so I wanted to come up with a concept that I thought would be interesting and also be fun to execute.
My concept was to draw Chicken Licken (Chicken Little) as a jester of a royal court. The text ends with "off to tell the King" so every character I felt needed to be of the royal court. I also wanted to use the author's heritage (Danish) throughout and so I put Turkey Lurkey in a Knight's outfit with Denmark's Coat of Arms, the Rooster and Hen are prince and princess, Goose is the Herald, Duck is the King of Arms, and Chicken Licken is the Fool. The toughest part was painting the lion on the Knight's outfit. One of the other things that kept going through my head was to give it a very classic old-time nostalgic feel, and so I went ahead with my sepia-toned framing of the oak trees and you can see a tiny squirrel up at top, hidden. Perhaps he was hiding the nut that fell? : ) I ultimately finished the piece with my "gothicized italic" handlettering which was a ton o' fun!
Finally, I thought I'd post my process as I managed to take a few snaps of the illustration before I finished painting it. Hope this is a bit interesting for you! : )
Step 1: Sketches - (about a week or so, jotting down ideas when they came to me)
Sketched late at night before going to sleep, here are my sketches..you'll note I had a little help from my youngest as well..see the sketch with clothing! : )
Step Two: Scanning in thumbs and adding rough color
I had not done this step ever before, but it really helped me to solidify the illustration that I thought would have the best focus on Chicken Licken. I also asked my family which character was the focus of the piece, and they all helped me figure this out.
Step 3a: Create the template for the Watercolor Block
I don't have a pic of this but what I did here was take the thumbnail image I thought worked best, increased the size to a workable final illustration size (about 14" x 20" (the largest I've ever painted so far), and printed out a full size thumbnail to use as the outline on my watercolor block.
Step 3b: I then took the prints (four 8.5 x 11's stitched together with tape), rubbed graphite on the backside of it, and traced over the thumbnail lines onto the watercolor block.
Step 3c: The long part: drawing. I love this part though..I spent quite a few hours drawing with my Staedtler Mars Lumograph 2H pencil and kneaded eraser the final illustration that I would begin to paint.
Step 4: Start painting with watercolor! : ) Here are snaps of the process..
Step 5: Painting, painting, and more painting..and if you notice, I left a bit of the painting on the bottom right free..I was going to add a little mouse there, but instead decided it would take away from the piece...what do you think? Should I have added him/her?
That was it..I painted and added more detail as I went along, taking about a week on this piece which was very enjoyable all the way through. After the painting, I decided to add the handlettering, so I got out my calligraphy box and got to work. I will post on that too.
The winners were announced yesterday..and I am SO very happy for Yvette as her piece was one that I was drawn to. Diandra Mae, a talented and hard working illustrator in Houston, created this fabulous gallery where you can view many entries to this year's contest. Thank you Diandra! It's been so neat to see the many different concepts and executions from one excerpt of the Chicken Licken text.
Thanks for taking the time to read..I hope this was interesting and I am so happy to read your comments..it means a lot to me! Til next time ~ Shirley