More Frog Prince

Arianna looks over my shoulder when I'm working on these, and from the sound of it she's likely to enjoy the book when it's finished. She recognizes herself and says "Princess Moy Moy!" over and over while I work. She also says she likes it! Good incentive to keep going.

Another good incentive is the feedback. Got a couple comments on the princess conceding to the frog on page 11, so I decided to change it (and update the picture) appropriately. Also, my wife reminded my that Arianna says "Ew, yucky!" a lot, and suggested that I add it to the princess' denials. So that made it into today's entry, as well as being backdated to the last one too.


Interludes upon interludes

And now, a short break from my short break from Hansel and Gretel. Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year (the year of the tiger) fall on the same day this year, so I just had to do a card that included both. I left it up on the computer so that my wife could find it this morning.

I would feel like I'm wasting the chance to market a perfectly good holiday card here, except for the tiny fact that the likelihood of the year of the tiger and Valentine's Day occurring together again is pretty small for the next century or so. But in 2110 or whenever, I'll be so ready with this card.

But I've been working on the Frog Prince as well, so I'll be back to interrupting Hansel and Gretel in no time.


The Frog Prince continued

The next three pages of the bedtime book. Working in this style has been really interesting for me. At first, it was maddening. I want shadows! I want dimension! I want perspective! But now that I'm half a dozen in, I'm getting into it. Especially as it's computer art, I can play with the composition more. I don't even bother to scan in sketches to draw from. I make each element, and then move them around, even more easily than if I'd used my sketchbook. Granted, for me at least, composing a picture in this way would only work with something rendered in this style. But it gives me a chance to make the compositions more creative, more so than if I had tried to paint it.

The other thing I've noticed helps with composition is saving it for the blog. As an icon, it's really small, so things like the composition, or flaws therein, stand out even more (in traditional art, I have to get this same effect by walking across the room from the painting, so I can see it at a distance).

This is working for my painting as well – since I've been scanning in the steps of the Hansel and Gretel piece, I get to see it in the same way. Ordinarily, it's would be too bothersome to scan in steps of a painting to check it out, but since I'm doing so anyway for the blog, it's just as helpful. In particular, when I posted the last version, I could see that the top leaf line of the trees is almost a straight line. I'll be adding more layers of foliage beneath it when I go back to working on it, but I'd never have noticed if I hadn't seen it in blog icon form.


Another (hopefully brief) Interlude

Every night, Arianna likes me to read Byron Barton's The Three Bears to her, and it's easy to see why. It's colorful. It's pithy. And it has enough repetition for a 2-year old to follow along and say it with me while I'm reading it. So we do so. Every. Single. Night.

Notwithstanding, it is a fun book, and my only complaint is that there aren't more fairy tale books like it. Barton has other books, but they're mainly cars, trucks, and dinosaurs. But I was wishing that there were more story books like that one.

And then I thought, I can fix that.

So here are the first three pages of my take, toddler-art style, on the Frog Prince, one of my favorites as a child:

It'll end up being a 24-page book in the end, at least in this version. If I tried to take it to a publisher, it would probably have to be 32 pages, but I'm comfortable with the length now. After all, it is to help put a 2-year old to sleep – no need to write a novel.


Back into the Woods

Progress! Nowhere near finished, of course, but a far cry from a doodle on lined notebook paper.

I've always pictured Hansel and Gretel being turned out of the house in Autumn. It seems like a particularly nasty time to abandon someone. Not a flat out death sentence like the middle of winter, true, but in late fall, after harvest time, when they have a tantalizing hope of finding food but they most likely can't or the stepmother wouldn't have turned them out of the house to begin with. Abandoned just at the right time to let them starve first and then have the cold finish them off.

Clearly I have strong opinions about how bad the stepmother is in this story.

But it does make for a nice fall palette in the painting.