Monday, February 27, 2012



Or at least potentially so. This is my entry for the Doodlers Doing Doodles team challenge for the month of February. It's just a pencil sketch, with a little added text, so it's not for sale or anything - just for fun! And it's drawn from true life! 

We have a new pet, a HUGE orange tabby named Mr Vimes, who came to us by way of my son's compassion for the adoptable pets at PETCO. This fellow is older (about 3), a little "hefty", and perhaps not as cute and cuddly as the kittens, so he kept coming back, week after week, still looking for that home-sweet-home. My son (who just happens to work at PETCO) started talking about him weeks ago, and finally wore me down enough to go take a look. Needless to say (so why say it?) we took him home that evening. Later, our 2 Chis got their first look!

No worries! They're all mates now, though there's still a lot of chasing one way and quick running back the other! He is, after all, a bit bigger than they!

Illustration Progress Report

Just felt like telling s/one (lucky you!) about how my new illustrating job is going! I accepted the job several weeks ago for a children's book. I won't tell the story line, cuz it's not my story to tell, but I thought I'd share my process.

I don't know how others do it, but an illustration of this size (about 10 2-page spreads, plus a cover and various "spot" illustrations) takes me many months to complete (especially in conjunction with a day job). I do it in several stages.

STAGE 1 - Character sketches. This took me several weeks (mostly on the weekends) as there are 5 characters, 4 of whom are based on the author's children. So, altho I'm not a Portrait Artist, and these are not exact portraits, it was still important to the client that there was some resemblance. This took a bit of emailing pics back and forth and adjusting this or that ( the gap btween 2 front teeth needed to be larger, rounder cheeks, not so round on these two, etc.) but eventually they were all worked out. Phew!

STAGE 2 - Really sketchy sketches working on the layout on any paper to hand (envelopes, lined notepaper, the back of a bill...). This was done all along, whenever an idea and spare moment coincided. Sorry - no one gets to see these! They look like they were done by a 4 year old - all circles and odd shapes and scratchy lines meant to represent the characters and landscape w/out actually drawing them.

STAGE 3 - The initial drawing on the actual paper. This is what I worked on this past weekend. I chose a non-scan pencil for this as it's a little waxy - not much dust to make smudgies - and the lines are not supposed to show up on a scan. Still, it has to be done lightly, and not overworked as some will show through.

STAGE 4 - I go over all of the lines I decide to keep with Prismacolor pencils. I match the color of the lines to the actual color of the item (peach for outlines of body parts, brown for the tree trunk, etc.). I lightly erase the extra lines as much as I can. (Some still show, but will disappear in the final stages.) The examples you see here are completed thro this stage.

STAGE 5 - Layering in color (including adding patterns) and blending. Probably one of my fave stages. Scheduled for next weekend!

STAGE 6 - Coloring in the background if it's not going to be left white. (In this case it's not, and I have a special background effect in mind which I'll keep as a surprise!)

I thought I'd like to show my client the progression, as so far she'd only seen the character sketches and must have been out-of-her-mind w/ curiosity as to the actual illustrations. However, this is a one-time deal. I won't do this for every step or even every pic for a few reasons. One - the actual size doesn't fit in a home scanner - it's too big (16.5" long) so I have re-position & scan it several times to get the whole thing sent. Also at this stage I keep it in the pad for added protection and the spiral binding prevents me from scanning the whole thing. That's why you won't see all of one of the children - he's on the side where the binding is. Every time I scan, I take a chance on crumpling up the paper, which most likely would result in having to start over! Plus, an illustration in it's beginning stages can look scary w/ sketch lines showing and smudgies. If you're not used to looking beyond it to the finished artwork, it can make you think it should be scrapped! But, I thought I'd chance it all w/ this first one,just so she could get a little relief from curiosity!

And now I can share it with you, too!

That's all for now. Thanks for looking in.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Universes Collide!



   My good friend and fellow Doodler, Cindy, (from The Slumbering Herd) has been nagging - er, um, encouraging me to give Illustration Friday a whirl. Illustration Friday (IF) is a site that posts a weekly "prompt" for Artists to use as an inspiration for an illustration. Cindy has been quite persistent in her efforts, despite my equally persistent procrastination. Last week, her stubborn - er, um, I mean patient, efforts finally paid off and I submitted my first work of art.

   I'm hooked! It's really fun to see what twists other artists come up with in responding to the prompts. Many of them choose non-conventional and totally unexpected interpretations that lead to chortles and chuckles and other forms of merriment. Laughter is good for the soul!

   I also love getting a glimpse of someone else's imaginary world. It stretches the boundaries of my own little universe and inspires me to think and draw in different ways. Thus, my overly-dramatic title for this post...

  Anyway, I decided to enter my "Guardians of the Enchanted Forest" for this weeks prompt, "Suspense". You may have to look closely to see the Guardians. (Hint - they are not the little owls.) They are a bit camouflaged in the tree bark, altho I gave them a darker tone to stand out. Once you spot them you might notice their ominous glowing-green eyes and tense posture. Obviously they have someone under observation. Your guess is as good as mine as to what they have planned. Thus, the "Suspense".