Thursday, April 11, 2013

Early Pages and Ideas

Even though a big chunk of the book is complete at this point, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the process from the beginning.  I'm a big fan of seeing how things are created and I'm always excited when other people share some of their process, so it seems fair for me to share mine.

You'll have to keep in mind, though, that many of these ideas and drawings are undercooked.

The first idea for "Saturday" came probably around ten years ago (I'm terrible with dates so some of this history will be murky).  It really just started as a collection of thoughts, some of which became early concept sketches.  Although the story was always about India and always had something to do with creativity and imagination, the story itself was much different in the beginning.

This is the first page I did for "Saturday":

Like I said, this was years ago.  Before I even started working with the tablet.  This is ink, water color and colored pencil on board.  I always loved the texture that's created when the tooth of the paper absorbs the color and lends its personality to the drawing.  I still do.  But this first page made me realize a few things:

1.) This is going to be a massive project.
2.) Water color and colored pencil aren't giving me the depth of color I want.
3.) If I use these mediums, the sun will burn out before I finish this thing.

Along with the character and the general idea behind the book, there was one other idea that was always in place: I wanted every panel and every page of this book to be well-crafted.  This meant it would take time, and it was another hint that these mediums wouldn't work.  See the shading on the clouds?  I did that using a Micron pen and drawing each hatch mark individually (a technique I stole from R. Crumb).  It was painstaking.  So even though I loved the way it looked, I knew I couldn't keep it up on a project this size.

At the time, I was still painting regularly in oils, so I did a little experimenting with that:

This was mostly just a concept where I was experimenting with possible colors, moods, and the general tone of the book.  I figured oil would give me the depth of color and texture I wanted and I was right.  Unfortunately, it was even slower than watercolor (mostly because of the drying time).  I could use oils, but not fast the way some illustrators can.  Also, I didn't know how to make the sharp lines and outlines I wanted with a brush.

Eventually, I figured watercolor was the best option for the sake of speed and the look I wanted, so I went back to that.

To be continued...

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