Tag Archives: color

Davy Jones

More from P is for Pirate as we count down to Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19th! I’ll be presenting a pirate program at Adams Memorial Library in Latrobe, PA, Friday & Saturday September 19th & 20th.

Here is D is for Davy Jones from sketch to final painting. Sorry about the color in my progress shots—must’ve been at night and I forgot to switch the flash on. You can see I based my version of Davy Jones on an 1892 ink drawing by John Tenniel from the British humor magazine, Punch. Tenniel is the guy who drew the famous illustrations for Alice In Wonderland.

Goldie Socks in progress

Oh, happy day!  My computer, before it had its nervous breakdown earlier this year, absolutely refused to recognize some of my old disks.  Now I pop in a disk and voilà!—some old files I’d thought were lost forever are back again.

I worked on Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians, by my pal Jackie Mims Hopkins a few years ago.  I’d just gotten a digital camera and was beginning to document the progress of my paintings.  Here’s one scene where I’m painting the inside of the libearians’ house.  Goldie Socks settles down to read a book in a couch that’s too soft.  At the end of the sequence, Goldie is still only an underpainting.  I’ll come back later and paint her into every scene.

Jacket art for Famous Nini

Of all the images for a picture book, the jacket art gets the biggest going-over.  I sent 4 rough thumbnail ideas to Kerry Martin, the senior design editor (in the olden days there was an art director and an editor; Kerry’s title reflects the melding of those 2 positions over the years).  Number 2 was chosen—the silhouette of the gondola makes a nice graphic shape—and I worked up a tight sketch.  You can see the painting in progress.  I liked the idea of a nighttime scene, with Venice reflected in the canal.  Next, the comprehensive layout—or ‘comp’—with the sketch and the type combined.  Originally I was to hand-letter the title type, but the treatment Kerry came up with looks so good we all agreed not to mess with it.  Finally, the finished illustration.

The Wreck of the Salty Carrot

These images from Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies are up on my website, but they’re kind of small.  I thought you might like to see them here, so you can embiggen simply by clicking on them.

For the shipwreck scene, I wanted to mimic antique oil paintings of storms at sea.  The first three images by masters of the genre represent the kind of nautical art to which I would be tipping my hat.

Following those are my own work.  By now you know the drill: thumbnail sketch, tight sketch, color study, final illustration.

The thumbnail sketches are each about 2″ tall, the tight sketch is maybe 8″ tall, the color study is the size of a postcard, the final is about 20″ x 14″.

Eilian in foul weather, or Foul, Reuben Chappell

Ships in a Storm, Elisha J. Taylor Baker

Agamemnon in Storm

Peter Spit… cover ideas

A bunch of cover ideas for Peter Spit A Seed At Sue.

These are all rough sketches, drawn about the size of a playing card.  One idea was selected, and I drew a tight sketch—

Please add the watermelons!

Art director Jim Hoover creates a comp with sketch and type. Let’s get the other 2 kids in there.

I painted the cover with a watermelon pink background.

This color was thought to be too feminine, so through the magic of digital correction, the background color was changed.  (I didn’t do it.  I don’t know which buttons to push.)

The king’s coach

There’s a little throwaway scene in  Joe Bright and the Seven Genre Dudes where Joe is invited to a royal story-telling competition.  For this image I needed to design the royal messenger and the king’s coach.

The story isn’t set in any particular time or place—it just calls for a fairytale look.  That allows me a pretty wide latitude regarding costume and setting.  The messenger I dressed in something 16th century—slashed sleeves and short cape—with a sash to make him look official.  The coach is something I found in Peter Newark’s Crimson Book of Highwaymen—a book about desperadoes who robbed the wealthy travelers of merrie olde England.

Here’s the thumbnail—we’re looking at the left page.

The tight sketch—

Throughout this project I used color to give clues about each character.  Everything having to do with the king got colored purple.

Stella the storyteller

Here’s Stella, from Joe Bright and the Seven Genre Dudes.

Thumbnail sketch for pp 6/7. Stella the storyteller sees her rival, Joe Bright, in the back of her magic story-telling chair.

Tight sketch for page 6.

A close-up of my color map for the book.  These are small color sketches of every spread, all next to each other.  It’s easier to plan the palette, or color choices, for the entire project when I can see it all at once.  The scenes with Joe Bright feature warm yellows; the ones with Stella are cold blues and purples.  Stella tries to foil Joe with 3 different devices—these are acid green, so the reader can identify them easily.

For example:

Here’s the painting for page 6 in progress:

Henry model sheet

Here’s the model sheet I came up with for Henry. This was a few years ago.  I was working along the lines of classic model sheets for say, a Disney character, with the proportion lines and head-height.  Nowadays my model sheets are a lot looser, with many more poses scattered over the paper.

Color for Santa Claus

Color and costume for Stinker

Stinker and the Onion Princess is an updated Grimm’s story set in Texas—but with a fairy tale quality.  I didn’t want the characters to look too real, but they should be sort of modern-day.  To get the kind of vibe I was looking for, I turned to Roy Rogers.  Roy, Gene Autry and a host of singing cowboys wore some outlandish cowboy costumes in their movies.  I found some books in the library about them, and faithfully rendered them in paint.  This helps me to get a sense of color for my project.

I also looked at books about Western roadside attractions, cowboy kitsch, and Mexican festival costumes.  I painted the examples I liked.  Here they are: