Monday, April 18, 2011

A moose in progress

Well, I'm thinking it's probably my turn to contribute to this blog. I have been working on a couple of educational books that will be used in the classroom, so I will show you some of what I have been doing. You can click on an image to see it larger.

There are 23 pages in each book, and the first thing I do is quickly sketch some thumbnails of what is in the book, just to get an idea of what I will be drawing. These are so rough that I am probably the only one who can tell what they are.

The two characters in the book are moose. I did lots of moose drawings with various items of clothing as suggested by the art director. I really thought the two legged moose was the way to go since they were anthropomorphized. This would allow them to fit into the various scenes in the book easily. The art director felt the same, but after much discussion the other powers insisted that they wanted four legged moose. I didn't think this would be nearly as fun looking as a two legged moose, so I had to keep reminding myself of the Golden Rule. "He who has the gold, makes the rules."

I go through SO many sheets of copy paper drawing things over and over till I work everything out. I am glad copy paper is so cheap and I do recycle it all at the end of the project. Here is the sketch for page three. During a phone conversation with the art director I was told to add a stream to the picture. There were lots of changes. It seems nothing is really nailed down in the story. Anything is subject to change if it would make the story better. I repeat the Golden Rule again as I add a stream.

I am a blend of old school and digital. I really like to draw with pencil on paper, and I really like the feel of inking. I put a sheet of vellum over my pencil sketch and ink it in using the old crow quill and india ink. The boo-boos I make in inking are easily cleaned up in Photoshop. I used to have a big jar of white out that I used all the time... but no more.

Here is the scan I made of the line art. This is scanned as black & white art at 300 dpi. Then it is converted to CMYK for coloring.

Here is the finished colored page. I like that I can color the black lines on some things like the mountains to push them back and leave them on the moose to make him pop out. They like the books to use lots of bright colors. I do a bit of tweaking to the color and make some soft clouds, but the coloring is pretty basic. Nothing too fancy here. After I had finished the color on the whole book, I received one more change to make throughout the book. The farmer hat needed to be changed to a plaid hunting hat. Fortunately, with Photoshop this was a fairly easy change. So that's it! This isn't rocket science, but maybe someone out there will find it interesting.