I am closer to submitting the third set of artworks for assessment to the London Art College's correspondence course D6 Illustrating Children's Books.
Of the set, the second part is a bigger project, is a vignette of a young dragon who has yet to control his fiery breath.
The brief went something like this: Capture Fred's look of baffled horror as he sets fire to a thatched cottage roof. Audience is for fairly young children, but will also appeal to older children if enough humour is present. Use very bright colours, loose paint work, and thick black line work. Use portrait orientation and despite the chaos make it easy for a child to decode what is happening in the illustration.
So the first step was a few practice sketches to work out what Fred should look like:
And a practice go at the composition of the image, especially the relationship between the dragon and the cottage:
Here is the pencil outline for the vignette:
And some of the initial washes, starting with our friend Fred:
Some more washes along, and the vignette shape can be seen, and the background is taking shape:
Now to add in some more layers of colour and to intensify the fires poor Fred has lit:
The next thing is to add the thick soft pencil, while somehow keeping it both loose and bold:
The last step is doing some clean-up with Photoshop:
And Fiery Fred is done. Just like the first part of this unit, using this method of building up a picture is well outside my comfort zone. I'm far more comfortable using pen ink for the backbone of the image instead of watercolour.
I am getting close to submitting the third set of artworks for assessment to the London Art College's correspondence course D6 Illustrating Children's Books.
Of the set, the first part is a smaller project, outline drawings of animals doing silly things.
The brief went something like this: Make 3 or 4 loose bold outline drawings of animals doing silly things. Use bold and simple shapes. Draw with thick, soft pencil or crayon, and use a different primary colour for each animal. Add a contrasting colour for interest. When dry add more line detail. Keep your audience of young children in mind.
This exercise was well outside my comfort zone, because I love using close ink detail and loose work does not come naturally.
Here are the initial ideas I had, in my usual style:
I had to go much larger, and with thicker pencil. You can see here my pencil tests and the development of the horse, kangaroo and kookaburra ideas.
The next sketches explore the dancing bird and the kookaburra further:
And some more ideas, with the emu, kangaroo, horse, echidna and kookaburra.
The next step was to give it a go on good cartridge paper. Here's a progress scan.
We have the horse with the top hat, (blue with orange contrast); the dancing bird/emu, (yellow with purple contrast) and the kookaburra listening to music (red with green contrast).
Now to add the extra pencil detail.
I didn't want to go further and ruin them, so I decided not to redo them on heavier paper. But I did try to clean them up with Photoshop.
I think I am happy with the final result. The more I look at them, the happier I get.
So I decided to explore the thick pencil style a bit further and used it for my Father's Day picture. Firstly, here's the pencil sketch:
And trying 'to keep it loose', here's the first wash.
Another set of washes, and the image will get clearer:
And adding in some more line work, and a bit more colour detail:
With the final touches in Photoshop, it is now ready to go on this year's batch of Father's Day cards.
So all in all, a very interesting exercise/project, despite all my initial misgivings.
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About recent artwork, inspirations and other things I find interesting.