Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to Illustration

I thought perhaps you would like to see one of my illustrations broken down from concept to completion so I chose the newest one I just finished this morning. It is called Sleigh Ride and it came about because I was thinking of my two favorite comic strips, Peanuts and Calvin And Hobbes and remembering two seperate moments in time, one with my family and one with someone who is still very dear to me.

(I would like to appologize about the quality of the photos, My camera battery was dead and I used my cell phone)

While talking to a friend I began to doodle on a scrap piece of paper in ink. Originally I had them on a sleigh, flat along the ground but I was thinking of Calvin's wonderfully imaginatve situations he would put his snow people in (sans decapitated heads) and I began to draw two snowmen hanging on for dear life while riding down a snowy hill. The third one came about as I glanced at a photo of my family. In it was my sister, my mother, my father and me on Splash Mountain in Disney World (it happens to be the last photo we all took together before my parents passed away) My sister and mother had their eyes squeezed shut in slight terror while my dad and I had the biggest grins on our faces. So in went the snowman, arms up, having the time of his life. It needed a little bit more though and as a kid I always laughed when Snoopy took Linus' blanket away and he would go flying in the air or when Charlie Brown would kick the football and miss (though I never found that funny and Lucy has never been a favorite of mine) So in went this poor little fellow that had the unlucky spot of the back of the sleigh, hats flying and everything.

Next step was to lightly sketch it on watercolor paper and ink in the lines with a Sakura pen

Now came in laying down the blue. I chose Cerulean Blue as it has a bit of green to it and makes a perfect shadow color. One of the most frequent mistakes people make is using black for shadows. If you look at snow or most things in general they cast a shadow and sort of reflect the sky and sometimes perhaps the trees. I am not saying that shadows can never be black however it really depends on what is around your subjects

Next step was to start laying down color, What I like to do on occasion is to draw in the shadow areas and bleed them out. This works well for illustrations and I do not always paint this way.

After that I went in and began bleeding the paint with a light wash of color.

I then added detail and here you have the final illustration. I hope it makes you smile, there are quite a bit of memories in here, maybe you can see some of your own as well. Oh and to my friend, now you know what I am doing when I am talking to you then suddenly go silent for a moment, I am sketching away with tongue slightly hanging out the side of my mouth.


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