Friday, February 26, 2016

Revisiting my Sketchbook: Final Illustration

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was revisiting my sketchbook to create a new illustration. As a refresher, that sketch is here.

I messed around with color in Photoshop. Especially with a complex scene like this, it helps me plan it out. I don't always adhere totally to the original sketch or the coloring, but they are great starting points.

And this is the final:

And here are some details:
The star of the show (obviously)

This poor, poor Ice Cream Man, who I hope has great insurance

And a little someone I like to refer to as "The Real MVP"
My changes were mostly color, but I did decide in the end that the fence needed to be broken up a bit. (Enter: "The Real MVP").

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Valentine's Day Surprise

I always get really excited if I discover that another artist and I have had a similar idea (some people get discouraged, but I actually just think it's cool and a little magical). When I saw one of the three Google Doodles this Valentine's Day, I got REALLY excited.

This is actually a screenshot still of it. The actual doodle was animated. You can view them all here
The art was done by the immensely talented Google Doodler Kevin Laughlin, whose awesome tumbler you can view here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Earlier this month, I made a Valentine's Day promotional postcard that I sent out. It looked like this:

(This was the back.)

If you go to my website, I have a handful of illustrations of this hedgehog searching for a Valentine, and the visual joke is that he has a "type." I got the idea from a previous sketch I did years ago (and blogged about):
This was the card I made for my husband (then, boyfriend) while he was still at bootcamp.
I always knew I wanted to revisit this character. You can check out my website to see all of the new illustrations, but here's why I got all excited yesterday:

How funny is that? We had a similar spark and just executed it differently. And for some reason, even though I had been sitting on that hedgehog sketch for a while, I got some sort of push from the Universe to expand on the idea at the beginning of 2016, almost exactly 4 years later. 

Here are the initial sketches of the pieces. Again, all the finished illustrations are on my site.

I hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day and Presidents Day weekend! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Revisiting my Sketchbook

I love the SCBWI "Insight" monthly emails. My favorite component is the "Draw This!" word prompt, in which a single word is provided at the beginning of the month, and we are invited to submit our prompt-inspired illustration (by a deadline, of course).

Sometimes I submit, and sometimes I don't, but I always use the word prompt to create new ideas in my sketchbook. The first ever "Draw This!" prompt was "BOUNCE." I actually wound up not submitting a piece for this. However, while I was sketching, I kept coming back to this idea that I just couldn't work out at the time, but knew I would revisit it later. These were some of the sketches:

The initial sketch

Sketches upon revisiting the idea

I knew that I wanted to illustrate this crazy dog that basically causes chaos (not fatal chaos, mind you, but chaos just the same) unintentionally in his joyous pursuit of a renegade bouncing ball.

Really, my issue that I had to work through was the perspective and layout. I wanted the piece to have  context--maybe a tennis player looking on in distress after the ball or a kid running with a broken leash.
I got it down to this sketch and I will soon do a color study in Photoshop (and maybe make some more changes) before painting the final.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tomie dePaola Award Contest Entry and Process

This blog post is a little late, but I just wanted to shout out a great big "THANK YOU!" to the Universe and Tomie dePaola for selecting my piece as third place for the Tomie dePaola Award Contest. I am so grateful to have placed, and I wish I could make it to the amazing SCBWI Winter Conference this year!

The 2016 Prompt was to "illustrate a moment from the following passage from Philip Pullman's version of "Little Red Riding Hood" from Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (Viking, 2012)."

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was so sweet and kind that everyone loved her. Her grandmother, who loved her more than anyone, gave her a little cap made of red velvet, which suited her so well that she wanted to wear it all the time. Because of that everyone took to calling her Little Red Riding Hood.
One day her mother said to her: ‘Little Red Riding Hood, I’ve got a job for you. Your grandmother isn’t very well, and I want you to take her this cake and a bottle of wine. They’ll make her feel a lot better. You be polite when you go into her house, and give her a kiss from me. Be careful on the way there, and don’t step off the path or you might trip over and break the bottle and drop the cake, and then there’d be nothing for her. When you go into her parlour don’t forget to say, “Good morning, Granny,” and don’t go peering in all the corners.’
‘I’ll do everything right, don’t worry,’ said Little Red Riding Hood, and kissed her mother goodbye.
Her grandmother lived in the woods, about half an hour’s walk away. When Little Red Riding Hood had only been walking a few minutes, a wolf came up to her. She didn’t know what a wicked animal he was, so she wasn’t afraid of him.

Tomie gave us the specs and added that there should not be room left for type in this case. He also recommended that we read the whole story. I took the hint. It actually gave me important context for the setting of my illustration because it mentions in a later passage that RRH gets sidetracked picking wildflowers for her grandmother at the Wolf's suggestion.
I roughly knew how I wanted it to go visually, but it took me a LOT of thumbnails to get it right. I decided the moment I wanted to illustrate (highlighted above) had to include the wolf, because it had the most tension.
My final selection is on the bottom right, a combination of all the elements I thought worked best. I still made some minor adjustments in the final, though.