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Saturday, May 26, 2018

The First Illustration - Finished!


It was a difficult birth, but in the end I finished my first illustration for "Milkweed Manor" and I'm pleased with it in several ways.  I like the decorative style, and the technique is one I'm comfortable with and look forward to using over and over for the rest of the illustrations - there may be as many as 30 to 40!

I was very careful with the drawing - completing it on a piece of sketch paper then transferring it to a piece of Strathmore Mixed Media paper.  I applied four layers of pencil - HB, 2B, 3B, then a bit of 4B..  Most of the work was in the first two layers.

I had four choices for adding color, and I wanted the look of a tinted drawing.  One choice was colored pencil which I decided against.  I have found colored pencil to give a grainier result than the graphite and I wanted the smooth look.

The second possibility was watercolor pencil.  But I've found that some of the colors are much more intense when you apply the water than when they're dry.  I'd have to test each color before I applied it.  That seemed like too much of a risk as one the water is applied, you're stuck with whatever you've got!

The third choice was watercolor.  A down side is that I don't have a lot of experience with it.  But up sides are the beautiful, wide array of colors, and the possibility of adding more graphite over the watercolor if I felt I needed to.

The final choice was acrylic washes. I'm very comfortable with acrylic, but I don't use washes on little spaces but over wide areas.

So I chose watercolor and I'm glad I did.  I did chose to add a bit of pencil afterward.  It was a good choice!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The First Illustration for Milkweed Manor

I'm writing and illustrating a book, "Milkweed Manor."  All the characters are animals and the story takes place in a little animal Community in the forest behind Milkweed Manor.  I've written all eight chapters and have edited them sufficiently to behind the illustrations.

I've been working all week on this first one.  This is the main character, Colwyn, on his journey to his new home at Milkweed Manor.

This first illustration is important because the medium and style I use here I'll be using for the whole book.  I've already had two false starts before I finally reached this point.

The first try was watercolor over pencil, but once I had the watercolor on I realized that the body was too long!  So back to the drawing board, and onward with try number 2, which was watercolor.

The watercolor choice was definitely not a good one.  I'm not quite sure what prompted me, but, in the end it just wasn't working out.  I haven't done much watercolor, so why would I choose that medium for such a large and important ptoject?  Good question, right?  It's just a shame that I wasted so much time before coming to my sense.

So I thought some more about the medium and decided that I should use the one that I like the best, feel most comfortable with, and also feel fairly accomplished at.  I chose pencil drawing.  In the end, I'm trying for the look of a lightly tinted pencil drawing.  Here's the first layer, all #2 5mm mechanical pencil.

I have more layers of pencil to go, then I'll have to make the decision on how to add the color tints.  I'm making an extra drawing with a few leaves and a berry so I can experiment a bit before I commit myself!  

P.S.  This image is a scan.  It has more contrast than the original - not sure why.