Lucky Number 13: W

Finally... made it... to... the halfway point... >gasp< >pant<

And a big thank you to Mr. Shatner for teaching me all I know about acting. Apparently, this ability has been passed down to the kids. You should see the dramatics should there happen to be something like, I don't know, the wrong dessert. The lip tremble, the pregnant pause, the wail. I wish I had Oscars to hand out.

On an unrelated note, perhaps I should actually talk about what I posted. W is "What's this for?" and wondered.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: J

For "Just then" and "jar."

I was planning on using acrylic again, since I had so much fun with it the last time. But while I was still in the watercolor phase, I figured I'd try my hand at the rock wall and I'd finish it up with acrylics later. I mixed the colors on the paper instead of the palette, and used a dry brush with white watercolor paint for the texture. I ended up liking it as is, which is good news for getting this done quickly (this is still only painting number 12).


Okay, this one totally ran away with me: T

This one was supposed to be another spot drawing.

Then I was a bit unhappy with the shading under the figures. So I added a bit more background with watercolor. And then some more. And by that time, it was a big amorphous blob background, so I needed to tighten everything up with acrylic paint. And then I started just painting with orange paint to see what would happen...

Anyway, this is the end result. I really like the richness of it, compared with solely using watercolor. Back in art school, I was more of a stickler for staying within the medium. However, one of my professors told me that when you're an illustrator, you use whatever it takes to get the picture finished. If that means throwing oil paint and crayons on a pen and ink drawing, then so be it.

This also shows how much fun it is to do a project that's basically mine. If this were a series for a book, changing media at this point would probably give the publishers conniptions. The best I could hope for would be a "Very nice. Now do one in watercolor like all the others." But these are not only books for my kids, they're a way to grow as an artist through practice, so it's fun to push these things in a different direction.

On a side note, T is for "Take the stairs!" said the platypus. The reason for the shocked look on Arianna's face is the number of stairs they have to take (for the rough sketch of the stairway, see my older post: http://art-sam-ples.blogspot.com/2009/06/ariannas-alphabet-book-rough-sketches.html).


Just Because It's Done: L

Another pic of the jar on the table, the result of writing an alphabet book that tells a story instead of having a different image for each letter. But since I've been putting all of the book illustrations up here when I finish them, I thought I'd post it anyway. Besides, I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.

The L is "Let me out!" wailed a voice.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: E

Something a little different here for me.

With spot illustrations, the light source can come from wherever I want it to. As another spot, therefore, this one should have been no different. But this drawing also happens to be part of a sequence, and the D page illustration as well as the G have the light coming from the upper left hand side.

So unless I was imagining that the ball would drop out of her hand and reverse direction once hitting the ground, I had to have the sun to Arianna's back in this picture. Normally, I like to highlight a face by, well, highlighting it. But now I had to draw attention to the face with shadows. It seems to work out – the face has the greatest value contrast, so the eye (or my eye, anyway) goes straight there.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: H and M

Not a whole lot to say about these, except that they're a good example of what I was talking about in the last post. The color variation in the grass alone would not only have taken more time in Illustrator, but would have looked like a bunch of sharply defined colored shapes as well.

In order to speed things up, I'm currently working on three at a time! Which, when finished, will put the total at 11 – not even half-way, dagnabbit. When working on these alphabet books, getting past 13 makes it all seem less daunting, so I'm hoping to reach magic number 14 soon.


Computer Illustration: The One That Did Me In

This is the last one I worked on for Little Green Riding Hood on computer. It's unfinished – you can see that some of the outlines are still red (I always trace my rough sketches in red. I sketch in pencil, then adjust them to black and white images, and import them into Illustrator. So it's easier to trace in red, than use a black line over a black drawing).

I liked the composition, I liked the effect that Illustrator brushes give me for the lunar surface, but all the little tiny details that I would still have to do from this point on drove me back to traditional illustration. See all the segments on his space-suit arms? Each one needs a highlight and a shadow. And that's not including the shading on the rest of the alien, complementary splashes of color in the craters, details on the sand castles, reflections of the rings onto the dome of the spaceship... it could go on endlessly. All of which would be a lot more fun with a paintbrush.

So I did The Gingerbread Policeman. And the bear painting. And now the alphabet book. After that, there's the Christmas book to do first, but it's only a matter of time before you'll see some painted versions of the Little Green Riding Hood computer pics that I posted earlier.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: F

"Follow that ball!" shouted the fans.

I've got a couple more finished for H and M. But this one has a different picture subject than all the other ones posted for the alphabet book so far, so I thought I'd post it first. Besides, I get another pun in there.

For B I'm going to have a baseball batter, as in cake batter, which is kind of a stretch but I'm going to go for it anyway.


More N

Just because I was talking about the letter N from the alphabet books, I thought I'd put up the other two images. Besides, where else will you find cartoon narwhals?


Arianna's Alphabet Book: The Problem of N

Though it doesn't look like it, this is the illustration for the letter N (although I could claim she was nibbling). N always seems like a problem for me in alphabet books. The first one I did, I drew a narwhal, which threw a lot of people off. So I did noodles for Gavin's alphabet book.