Sunday, September 29, 2013

A brief book update or, skirts are hard

For the past week or so, I have been slowly creeping my way through the art for the latest (and final) book illustration. Not creeping because I am savoring every minute of the process. No. Creeping along because this drawing is complex and I want to get it just right. At the moment, I am contemplating the best way to ink the heroine’s long skirt.

Skirts, of course, drape over the body.
William Heath Robinson demonstrates a thin
skirt which clings to the form beneath.

If the artist is smart, she will draw a woman in a skirt made of gossamer material which clings to the woman's form. (See illustration above.) In this way, the figure is shown with just a suggestion of the clinging material.

I am not that smart.

Instead, I have opted for a dress made out of a starched cotton-like fabric. It doesn’t cling and isn’t supported by hoops. So, the skirt must fall in creases only hinting at the woman’s form beneath. If I was a smarter person, I’d use a model. Once again, I am not that smart. However, by drawing the woman’s naked form beneath the clothing I can make some fairly accurate guesses as to where the cloth will crease. Finally, (imagine, if you will, the mound of discarded paper on my studio floor right now), I think I am getting closer to the series of creases that work. The hero’s coat was SO MUCH easier.

Arthur Rackham demonstrates a skirt made of
thicker material falling in stiff pleats.
Oh, and did I mention that the skirt I'm drawing is unpatterned and light-colored? Therefore, white, in pen & ink. Only the wrinkles show. Hard…that’s all I’m saying…

On the positive side, I'll start the final inking of the piece tomorrow.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting in touch with my inner Robinson

As I mentioned in my last post, the current book illustration has been a tricky one. As I wrestle with my starship d├ęcor, I took some time out to freshen my mind with some pen and ink practice. William Heath Robinson (1872 –1944) is one of my favorite Golden Age illustrators and a master of pen & ink. Copying his work, sometimes using a magnifying glass to study the marks he made, is quite useful. Here are some of my sample pages. All were drawn freehand and many without any pencil, just picking up the pen and going for it. All were done with Noodler’s flex pens and Pitt brush pens in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook.

Book Update

Design ideas and sketches for the latest book illustration

Yikes! I had no idea it had been so long since I’d posted anything here. That being said, I’ll start with a quick book update. One illustration to go! Woot woot! This one has been a tricky and, thus far, I’ve made more sketches for it than for any of the others. But that makes sense, as I purposely left the most difficult drawing for last. Once the book is out, I’ll start posting more detailed information about my drawing and design process for the illustrations. But, for now, everything is well in hand and the book is getting closer to publication every day. *happy smile*