Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mining Spots

So the big SCBWI Summer Conference is just days away and I'm making a mad dash to get a couple more portfolio pieces done before I go off to present my last year of work. I actually have lots of new art, but not all worth putting in my portfolio, and not all quite fitting into the children's book style. So in the last week I decided to round out my portfolio with a couple more pieces that did fit the children's book style more closely to the kind of work I want to do.

Instead of spending time thinking of new characters and a new narrative, I decided to go with some characters and a story that I've used before, but never really developed. The mining illustration below originally came to mind out of sudden inspiration back in 2009. Who knows what that inspiration was, all I know is I had a very clear image in my head of what it would be and I created the drawing and painting within 2 weeks. But that was the end of it. I never explored the characters and I never expanded on the story. Ever since then this painting it has been one of my favorites and has brought me some attention, so why leave it at just a stand-alone painting? Why not put a story to it? Well, ok! Now's the time to explore and expand on these ground-dwelling critters and see what kind of adventures they have.

I am starting with just a few spots. I only had time for 2 before the conference but I will continue working on this story after the conference and hopefully will have a strong story soon!

I am aware that since it has been 4 years since I made this painting that I have changed in my painting abilities (the original painting was the second acrylic painting I had ever attempted to make, so I was still figuring out how the medium worked.) and have changed the characters a bit as I've started to develop them more, so the newer paintings don't match the original painting exactly. So I'm probably going to have to retire the original painting soon. But I believe it will remain one of my favorites for a long time to come.

So now it's time to get that portfolio together with my new artworks!

Friday, July 5, 2013

ZULU: Fish and Frog Scene - Life of an Illustration, Part 2

Here is the final painting for the Zulu fish scene! I ended up making a few Photoshop edits to this one even though I'm trying to avoid that as much as I can. This one just needed a few little tweeks that would have been much more time consuming to paint (I know, excuses excuses...). Here are also some close up clips for detail.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ZULU: Fish and Frog Scene - Life of an Illustration, Part 1

      Here is another painting I picked to take to the final stage from my Zulu book. Below are a couple of thumbnails that I initially made just to get the main/broad idea on paper. They are usually terrible with no sense of composition and other times they are practically perfect on the first try! Obviously this illustration took the long route... Once I've let the ideas brew for awhile, I make a full size (or almost full size) rough sketch to work on composition and make sure I leave room for the text. For this illustration I wanted to have fun with incorporating the text into the image. The one below is a later rough sketch. I made a few for this illo, so I eventually added a bit of value to it to help see where the problems were and what needed to be fixed for the final sketch. Next I made the final pencil sketch and expanded each side of the image by about .75" to allow for a bleed. (This is important for illustrators to remember early on or you will have a whole world of problems later!) Finally I added digital color to the pencil sketch and worked out some value problems. There are still some things I will change as far as value and color for the final painting, but it's a good reference while I paint.

      Tune in next time to see the final painting!