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.


  1. It's fun to see your inspiration illustrations and what you find helpful about them. They are both gorgeous!

    1. It's true, Janene. Both are absolutely inspirationally gorgeous. My feeling is that if you're going to learn, learn from the best! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :-)