Tag Archives: sketches

Doorman & Dream Mom

Characters from a canceled storybook project.  The doorman was sort of Mephistopheles and Dream Mom Helen of Troy.

Dream Mom is supposed to be the ideal of a six-year-old boy.  I tried to blend aspects of the dream girls from my earliest youth—Julie Newmar; Julie Andrews; Betty/Veronica; the girls’ gym teacher at my elementary school.

Bad moms

Character sketches of bad moms from a canceled project, The Mother Store.

Umberto & Margherita

The improbably mustachioed King Umberto and Queen Margherita come to visit Nini in his caffè—

(By the way—yes, this is the Queen Margherita for whom the pizza is named.)

Giuseppe Verdi & Nonna

Giuseppe Verdi makes his entrance in The Famous Nini.

More research for Nonna’s costume can be found here.

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:

The big picture

Over at How to be a children’s book illustrator, they’ve got some video of Brian Selznick explaining his creative process.

The key idea to take away is this: creating a successful picture book requires having a vision for the entire project.  You can’t think in terms of  ‘one illustration at a time.’

Brian accomplishes that by making a little dummy—a cut-and-pasted version of the book made out of his sketches—so he can see the entire book while he’s still creating it.

Crabby Santa character design

Five not-too-bad cover ideas

People do judge a book by its cover.  Or at least, it’s the cover that gets people to pick up the book in the bookstore and see whether they like it.  Here are rough cover ideas for Two Bad Pilgrims.

cover1

coverA

coverB

coverC

coverD

Art Director Jim Hoover liked Idea A  I did tight sketches of the boys, the New Worlde mappe and the title type, which Jim put together as a comp.

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pilg.covertype

pilg.covermap

The boys and the map are painted as a single image.  One last request: show the boys having burst through the map.  The compass rose is a separate piece of art.  The type I inked in as separate black & white art.  Jim Hoover combined these elements into one cover image and added the credits at the bottom.

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Westward, ho!

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UPDATE!  Ilene, Jerry & Drake discuss digital vs traditional illustration in the comments section below.

I get quite a few historical projects to illustrate, and that suits me fine.  I enjoy doing the research—which is crucial to making the costumes and settings authentic.

Here are a few thumbnails, sketches and final paintings from Lewis & Clark, A Prairie Dog For The President. First, a thumbnail sketch of Lewis & Clark making a map—

15.300dpi

And here’s the tight sketch.  Remember, the thumbnail sketch is pretty small, about an inch-and-a-half tall.  My tight sketch is usually half the size of the printed page.

15.300dpi

I usually paint at the same size as the image will be printed.  The compass in the wooden case shown here belonged to Lewis & Clark.

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Here’s another one.  The squares with an ‘x’ through them show where the text will go.

23.300dpi

23.300dpi

LEWIS&~2

This was a fun little book to do.  It’s 48 pages long, which is much longer than normal (32 pages).  But it’s smaller in size than most picture books.

Below is what I mean by historical costume.  I had no reference for Sacajewea, but used a drawing George Catlin had made of a young woman from Sacajewea’s tribe thirty years after her adventure with Lewis & Clark.

LEWIS&~1

Here’s a comp (short for comprehensive layout) of the book’s cover.  It shows the type and the sketch together.  The next step is for me to paint the sketch portion.

L&Ccovercomp

L&Ccover.final

Some old sketches

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Apropos of nothing, some old sketches from Humphrey, Albert & the Flying Machine.  This one was written by Kathryn Lasky, who also wrote Two Bad Pilgrims—coming this Fall!

Humphrey is set within the Sleeping Beauty story, about two boys who attend Briar Rose’s 16th birthday party and succumb to the sleeping spell along with the other guests.  Having slept 99 years and 51 weeks, they wake up earlier than everyone else and set out to find a handsome prince to break the enchantment.

Here are a couple of cover ideas.

cover1

cover2

And some interior sketches.

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p30

The evil fairy—

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