Final pencil drawing on Bristol board. (Above)
Refining the sketch on detail paper. (Above)
Initial sketches on scrap paper. (Above)
Here’s an illustration I did back in March for Melbourne’s Child magazine. It appears in this month’s issue (May 2010). The article is entitled “Kids Birthday Parties – a survival guide for parents” and gives advice and tips on how to organise a kid’s birthday party.
The author states that the key to a successful party is planning and organisation but one sentence really stood out. “I’m a teacher and tend to run birthday parties with military precision…”
Words, such as enlist, survival, strategy also appear making the analogy that organising a kid’s party is not unlike running a military campaign.
This gave me the idea of showing a mum and a couple of adults serving at the party wearing army uniforms. This evolved into them wearing everyday clothes that looked a bit military. The WWII helmet became a stack hat, Mum wore a bandolier with crayon ammunition and a teenage son was armed and dangerous with a super soaker.
Here you can see my early sketches and a few thumbnails. I usually work out my composition on scrap paper at 13cm by 18cm. Once I am happy with the rough sketch I begin refining the drawing with overlays of detail paper. Sometimes it helps to do certain parts of the drawing separately. I did this with the kids hands..
After my final detail paper drawing I transfer it via light box to Bristol board using Col Erase blue pencil. I draw over that with HB lead and the darker PITT oil based pencil. The drawing is then scanned and cleaned up in Photoshop where colour is added.
I am pretty happy to have illustrated this month’s story in Australian Woman’s Weekly (March 2010).
The story entitled Ambush is about a wife who finds out that her husband and faithful dog (Ambush) have been involved in a road accident. The husband is an old hippie type who loves riding around the neighborhood on his Harley with Ambush in a sidecar.
I began my rough sketches with trying out various compositions but the side on view seemed to be the strongest. The subject seemed to lend itself to a very definite foreground (dog in sidecar), mid-ground (man on bike) and background (stormy sky and lake) arrangement.
These three levels would also be emphasised by colour, with brighter colours to the fore and cooler colours making the background recede.
When i came to do my final pencil drawing i also treated each element (Man on bike, Dog in sidecar etc) separately and assembled them on layers in Photoshop. This gave total control with placement and i could easily change the sky.
Below you see the various stages.
Artwork assembled in Photoshop ready to be coloured (above).
Final pencil drawing on watercolour paper (above).
Colour rough that was approved by the client (above).
Rough sketches (above).
Over the past month I have completed a few illustrations for Copeland Publishing’s parenting magazines (Melbourne Child, Sydney Child). This is a one of two illustrations for an article entitled ‘The Tyranny of Distance’ for the April 2010 issue.
In it a mum writes about how her three year old daughter connects with her young cousins who visit briefly from Italy.
Many of the magazine’s illustrations are in a cartoon style but for this one the editor Sean wanted to go for a more naturalistic, concept-based approach.
I decided to focus on the girl and show her in a reflective mood maybe thinking about her cousins who had just left on their long trip back home
I have roughly outlined my process below from thumbnails to final art.
The completed illustration.
My final pencil drawing that i scanned in at 600 ppi and then reduced to 300 ppi. I cleaned it up a bit in Photoshop and it was all ready to colour.
My final rough sketches. I was getting closer to the want I wanted with the one on the right. A sort of combination of my reference photos.
More developed roughs. A bit too close to my photo reference (left) so I went for a more impressionistic look (right).
Early sketches working from my reference.
This photo of a girl with her reflection was my main inspiration. Love the wistful contemplative expression. I wanted to get a similar feeling in the drawing. Photo reference from Flickr.
Thumbnails showing various compositions. Originally thought of including the Mother.
Sorry for the delay in updating but I was plagued with some major computer problems. Anyway it was finally resolved this week by having a new hard drive installed in my iMac. Everything working well now.