Monday, May 24, 2010

Exploring faces

Given the option, I'd always opt to draw or paint a characterful face than one considered pretty or beautiful. There aren't enough interesting faces in the world and too many beautiful ones.
Admittedly, for me, capturing a likeness littered with landmarks and recogniseable idiosyncrasies is easier than capturing featureless beauty. Perhaps that's why I enjoy it.
As a little departure this weekend, I dug around in my heap of interesting faces and drew with the intention of pushing the features more toward caricature, yet keeping the values of my photographic reference. It was great fun, especially relaxing not having to strive for a likeness and simply drawing for the sake of enjoying the process.

This is Sian.
A5 size, pencil on plain copier paper.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Storyboarding etc.

I've been trying to find time to work on my next book, 'Hamilton's Hiccups'. When I originally knocked the principles of the story together in note form, it felt fine, if not a little bit leggy. Since 'Hamilton' is going to be a picture book, it means the lengthy adventure I'd blocked out has to be brutally manipulated to fit the industry template of 32 pages told in approximately five hundred words.
Take out two pages for front and back cover, one for the title page, then there are the endpapers and legals. That leaves around a dozen or so spreads to introduce the character, set the scene, tell the story in a (hopefully) entertaining way, and wrap things up all nicely. It's a bit like starting with a freshly felled tree and hoping to shave it down to a nice tidy chopstick.
It pays not to get too emotional at this stage and apply the simple rule: If in doubt, cut it out.
So, that's what I've been doing - hacking, chopping, cutting and shaving the story - I've not even begun writing the text. Balancing words and pictures. I've made and obliterated seven or eight 32pp mockups so far, trying to pace the story within the parameters. At the moment, my tree is more approaching the shape of a baseball bat, but I'm getting there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An Illustrator can be too versatile

My portfolio stretches back over quite a few years and there are styles of illustration that, whilst they did the job at the time, don't represent how I'd approach them now. I need to cut out the dead wood and give a clear view of my current work. Anyone with too many styles and no distinct 'handwriting' will not spring to mind when a particular art editor is looking for an illustrator. If a job requires a 'Steadman' or a 'Grimwood' those artists will be called on to do their thing. I need to become a more clearly defined 'me' so commissioning editors etc. can see who I am.