Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Redemption of Eustace

The image in this post has some spoilers, just so you know.

So, I recently finished up a piece for a client. He wanted me to illustrate a scene from "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," in the Chronicles of Narnia series. This is the bit where Eustace, who is turned into a dragon in the book, gets turned back (like I said. Spoilers).

I ended up having such a good time doing an illustration for this book, I've come to a decision. I'm going to start doing an illustration for an already published book once a week. I'm not sure how long I will do this, but I've already made up a good sized list of books I want to do an illustration for. Keep an eye out for the next one.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Migration Day

I thought you all might enjoy another little peek into how I make these pictures. This one is for a brand new illustration of mine titled, much like this post, "Migration Day."

A big part of the inspiration for this came from childhood memories of my super small town in central Utah gathering together at the local park to watch fireworks on the 4th of July. The whole town would turn out and we would just hang out together.

A big part of my work is looking at commonplace things and subverting them in a way, trying to see how they might be different. I like exploring the sense of wonder as a theme. The sort of subject for "Migration Day" seemed suited to this, as everyone has comforting holiday traditions that are not always completely understood.
The original sketch
Once I have an idea in my sketchbook, it can be in there for awhile before it turns in to something. I think this sketch sat in there for something like two years before I did this painting. It sometimes takes a while for an idea to mature (if that doesn't sound like some sort of psychosis). Some ideas can be made to mature faster (especially if there is some sort of deadline attached to it), but this is why I keep a sketchbook. I have hundreds of ideas going at once so that I have a good stock ready when I need stuff for projects.

Once the idea is all grown up and refined a bit, it's time to paint! I started this one by doing a light drawing. From there, I do the ink work. I used sepia ink on this one, as it tends to mesh better when color is added. I wanted this piece to have a lot of detail, so I did a quite of bit of the specifics of the piece in ink.

Next I stretch the paper (The paper is soaked and then taped down. This prevents the paper from buckling when watercolor is applied later) and lay down my first washes of color. This is to get a general idea of what colors go where and to make sure the pallet is unified.
From here, it's sort of hard to give specifics. I just add shadows and highlights to give depth and detail to the piece (I do most highlights by re-wetting the areas of paint I want lighter and then dab it with a paper towel). Like I said, this piece is pretty ink heavy, so I tried to keep the color simple.

And there you have it! Until next time