I haven't been posting here much although I'm still trying to have at least a couple of new posts a month. I've been sharing photos every day on Instagram though, and I'd love it if you said hi to me over there!
I'm taking Lilla Rogers' Illustrating Children's Books class online right now. Lilla and her co-teacher, art director Zoe Tucker are so fabulous! They gave us 3 very different texts to choose from and we are using the story we picked to develop a picture book presentation that could be submitted to publishers or agents.
I picked The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear which I LOVE. It's full of wacky silliness, stars, the ocean, animals, trees, and music, in other words, most of my favorite things to draw. We spent the first 3 weeks doing character development. I was pretty impatient to get to the story, do a storyboard and some final art.
The first week we designed our characters. Lilla didn't want any environment around them but I gave the Owl and Pussycat some squares and stars to give them somewhere to sing and dance. Then I did the Turkey Who Lives on the Hill and the Piggy-wig on my own so I could think about there they lived.
The next week we did emotion studies with no bodies, only heads! This was almost painful for me, I wanted to draw the story so badly. My only accomplishment was that I did it and turned it in.
The 3rd week we did two sheets of poses for our main characters. Again, I DESPERATELY wanted to do the story. But I spent some time thinking about the details in my characters and if they would scale up and down for close-ups and distance. I decided to simplify Owl's colors. I tried to do fully painted sheets but they didn't look good at all. So I went with these lightly painted sketches. I felt like a bit of a confused looser at this point because so many of the artists in class are mind-blowingly great and were turning in gorgeous assignments. For me these two weeks of just doing the characters over and over again were hard, but I did work some things out and have a chance to think about the details of the environment and my style.
In the 4th week we finally got to do a full page spread! The two adventurers have just arrived at the land were the Bong Tree grows. I had so much fun doing this! I decided to use minimal black lines, which is a big step for a relief printmaker who uses lots of black. I used stamps and stamp pads, I added color with a brayer, and kept the watercolor to a minimum.
Here is a little video of me adding color to the ocean with a brayer.
This week I also finally did a sketchy storyboard which helped me feel rooted in the story. Next week we are doing the cover. Covers are so hard for me, so I'm looking forward to hear Lilla and Zoe's tips!