Saturday, February 23, 2013

Monster Safari Book Cover

This is the final cover art for my Monster Safari children's book. There's no type-setting on the cover. All the lettering is hand-done. The illustration is painted in Photoshop with a Wacom Cintiq. I'll make a few more tweaks before I let go of it, but it's 99% done.

The character looks a little too yellow from when I painted it. It's probably because it's in CMYK mode, which would throw the color on the screen version off a little.

Next comes the back cover, which will be more hand-lettering, though I may change my mind and type-set it. We'll see. Then there will be about two wrap up pages at the end of the book, then I'm done. I leave for a business trip to Pennsylvania in the morning. I'll plan on finishing the book at the airport, on the plane and in my motel room while I'm gone. So when I get back I can bring it all to a close.

Then I'll get the paper book published, and right after that the ebook, followed by a YouTube tutorial drawing for each of the pages. Then on to the next book. What fun. I'm sure glad I don't have to have a job.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monster Island Cover Art

All of the lettering on the cover of my new Monster Safari book is now finished. Today I will be working toward finishing the cover illustration. I will add in more background behind the creature and perhaps make some changes on the creature as well.

I have some issues with the little creature in the Pooka's grasp. When you're dealing with a young  audience as I do, you have to be extra careful about any negative implications. Will the Pooka soon be including the helpless little creature on his lunch menu? Or are they best of friends? I will have to resolve that issue. Mothers are always very protective of what they expose their children to. A big monster eating a little monster might move the book from the "G" rated category into PG territory. It's frustrating to me, but that's the audience. Has Barney the Dinosaur ever gobbled up a smaller dinosaur on camera? I seriously doubt it. That's my audience.

The entire book, from the cover to the end is hand-lettered, with the exception of the ISBN page. I hand-lettered the very first book that I wrote and illustrated. It was called The Great Thistledown Flood. I was thrilled to learn that it became a Gold Medallion Honor Book, and I attended the Gold Medallion Awards in Denver, Colorado. That was a memorable night. Because of the painstaking hand-lettering, the book also introduced me to carpal tunnel syndrome.

The next post will reveal what I came up with for the cover art. It will either be the finished sketch, or the final art. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Monster Safari Intro Page

As I press on toward the finish line, here's the introductory page to my Monster Safari kids' book.

This little creature is a fitting image for the intro page because my initial sketch of this little guy was what turned into my Monster Safari book. He was a character that I penciled out several years ago as part of the initial sketches for an online game. I used him for the initial monster character for this book, then added 11 more. Here's the initial sketch that I did for the online game:;postID=6194046565805754604 

The entire book up to this point, including all 12 monsters, is all here on my blog.
Next I'll be working on the front and back cover art, and I'll post it in a few days, as soon as I'm finished with it. 

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hornballs at the Water Hole

This page that I just completed for my Monster Safari book will help to give the reader the impression that the setting for the book is deep tropical jungle. I had fun drawing and painting the scene, but it made me wish that it wasn't just a fictitious story. I love tropical locales and I wish I had another life to be an explorer, as I appear to be in this scene.

Yet there is some truth to what you see above. The safari outfit that I'm wearing in the illustration is's hanging in my closet. It's the costume that I wear when I do my school appearances: In a couple of weeks I'll be flying back to Palmyra, Pennsylvania. I'll do four school shows in four days, and I'll be selling my new Monster Safari book while I'm there. That's why I'm in such a hurry to finish the book.

This is the Hornball how-to-draw page that will be in the book:

I will feature 12 Little Beasties by way of the how-to-draw pages in the book. About three more pages to go, and the book will be done. Then on to the next book. Will it be called Dragon Safari?

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Monster Island Page - Herd of Hornballs at the Water Hole

This is the line art for one of the introductory pages for my kids' book Monster Safari. I only have two or three more pages to go, plus the cover art, and the book will be done. I have not much more than a couple more weeks to go before it has to be done.

The way that I put these illustrations together sort of defies convention. When I was in art school I never embraced the idea of drawing tons of thumbnails before I start work on an illustration.  There was no thumbnail with this piece. All I did was pencil in the "stage", which consisted of the shape of the water hole and the hill behind it. With my stage blocked in, I just started making it up as I went along until the picture area was filled up. Sort of unconventional, not something that I would teach in one of my classes. But somehow it seems to it seems to work for me.

It waffled back and forth, then decided to hand-letter the whole book, since it's a sketch book format anyway. I've hand-lettered so long that I would just as soon go ahead and hand letter something, as opposed to going into InDesign and typeset the text.

Also, I don't pencil the whole illustration in before I start inking. I'll pencil an area, and if I think it's safe, I'll go ahead and ink it in. So I sort of pencil and ink my way around until it's done.

Of course, there's no contrast in the art at this stage. But tomorrow when I start filling in the color it will start coming to life and take on a much better contrast definition. My challenge will be to take care in creating the lights and darks, and carefully craft the dappled light effects that work so well in moody jungle scenes.

The open area behind the expedition members will be free-washed in without line. It will look much better off in the distance when it's not defined with a line. The farthest thing in the distance with a line definition will be the big tree on the left, because it's part of the mid-ground.

Check back soon for the final color art. I should be done in two or three days. I have to be done with the color soon, or the book won't be done on time.