Friday, 18 March 2011

lots of things!

I mentioned before that I was attempting to illustrate a book that was completely different from any kind of thing I had done before.  There was to be NO pink cupcakes and NO pink rabbits and definitely NO glitter!  The story is about a father and his son who live in a normal house in London.  There was no room for any swirly twirly houses made from sweets or Victoria Stitch-ness.

This was fine.  I saw it as fine because the whole idea was to experiment and to stretch myself.  I didn't want to feel too attached to the story so that I wouldn't mind making loads of mistakes and in a way not caring so much about the outcome.

And you know what, I think I have learnt more about illustrating in these last six weeks than I have in a whole year!  When I look back at the first drawings I did for this project just over six weeks ago I can see how much I have improved and how much freer my work has become.  And yes I've missed the glitter and I don't really feel passionate about the story at all but I'm hoping I will be able to apply some of the things I've discovered to future work.

The first hurdle to overcome was drawing children.  I want to be a children's book illustrator but I realised that I never actually draw children!  I don't particularly enjoy drawing children if I'm completely honest, I find adult characters much more interesting.  But anyway, I had to do it.  I tried many many versions of the little boy, I filled up five sketchbooks with character designs.  I still feel like he could be improved.
I found this technique of painting the shape of the boy first with a watercolour wash and then drawing the outline over the top. It seemed to work well.
 This one (below) has a more realistic looking face.  I tried some with really realistic looking faces too and although my tutor liked them I think they look a bit scary and unappealing.
Rougher version-
And this is one of my favourite drawings of the boy that I did.  (The wings got cut off in the scanner.)  I love his happy expression.
 The main thing I learnt about drawing children is how big their heads are proportionately compared to adults.

And THEN I had the dad to draw!  I found this a bit easier because someone on my course kindly offered to model for me and as he has a very distinct look, it was a lot easier to translate that onto paper. And more fun! I used to whole painting with wash and then outlining over the top method for a lot of these again.

These were the ones (below) that the tutors really liked. I tried and tried to re create these but they never came out quite the same second time round.  It's because I initially drew them so spontaneously. Ah well!
He's a bit of an eccentric the Dad.  Likes his multicolours!
And then I drew some really really quick ones which came out like this:
and which I actually quite like.

So now I basically have five books full of character design!  Just gotta choose which ones to use now.

And here's a few more concept ideas/sketches for pages in the book:

School playground scene:

(secretly I'm looking forward to finishing this project now.  It's been a love hate relationship)  I give myself one more week!

In other news it was both mine and Henry's birthday at the beginning of march so there were a lot of festivities going on.  I made Henry this Zelda cake.
And he got me two teeny tiny royal crowns for my castle.  Haha we are so geeky.
I had a party which was a 'dress as your favourite children's book character party and I went as Dorrie the little witch.  We had light up balloons and glitter cannons and played pass the parcel
Henry came as Charlie Brown and we also had a Where's Wally, a flower fairy, Arthur, Shaggy and an amazing Scooby Doo in a full bodysuit and dog head!  It was brilliant!
It's been a great month!  I hope your has too!


Jatzu said...

Your drawings are looking really amazing. I really like the kid when he's all smiley and with the wings, makes him look so cute and sweet =3 Also the concepts for the father is very good too. I can't wait to see this one finished, also glad to hear that you had a good birthday party. Sorry again I couldn't make it, but I WILL MAKE IT UP TO YOU!!! I promise. Keep the drawings coming n_n they seriously are looking great.

Nina Jørgensen said...

Wow I really like how you have been drawing kids and humans here, the image which has the moon in the background is really nice and the one with the kid with wings is indeed very good, I absolutely love it!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for showing your delightful drawings, so creative and expressive your characters. I am looking forward to what you do with all your creations. Happy belated Birthday to you and Henry.

Armand Cordero said...

These look great so far ! I swear the little boy could of been me when I was younger. Look forward to seeing this at later stages.

Serena J K said...

your work's coming on so well harriet, it's really interesting to see you experimenting, and I love love love your dad drawings, and the schoolyard composition! Well done you xx