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.

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