May 2009


Illustration Friday: Cracked

A photoshop sketch of one perspective of the debate on book-as-vessel vs book-as-object.

And in related news – look what I found at Pulp Fiction bookstore today!

A cloud in the hand

Page 1

I can’t relax in front of the TV anymore. This is because of two guidelines I made for myself: 

  1. Not to watch television unless I am doing something constructive with my hands; and
  2. Not to organise social life around television (except Doctor Who).

The constructive things (and social life) became much more compelling, and now I get twitchy when forced to sit down in front of TV or a DVD. (This is one reason I like the movies: I can’t do anything else at the same time there).

I don’t deny television has its uses. Its greatest advantage is that you can sketch people sitting very still for long stretches of time, often in peculiar poses. Those are my nephews watching Camp Laszlo at the top of this post.

This one below is of a weekend spent watching BBC miniseries out west of Toowoomba for Aimee’s birthday (well, some of us were watching and – if you can read the comments – some were swooning). Her sister Kim (blue singlet) is an exception to the “sitting still” rule.

Page 2

I had so much fun with the blocks of colour in that one.

Page 38

I’ve finished uploading my last sketchbook! It isn’t all goblins, either. There’s a chair in there, and some Daleks as well (of varying degrees of authenticity). There are NaNoWriMers and people sitting under jacaranda trees and my ex-car (not dead, just pining for the… no, bad car pun!). The whole thing is here: Sketchbook 08/08 – 03/09.

In other (but no less drawn out) news, this is my contribution to Lynne’s moleskine for the 42nd moleskine exchange. Her theme was “superstitions” and this is a combination of “be careful what you wish for”, “don’t tell people what you wish or you won’t get it” and the fairytale of the 7 ravens. Brush and sepia ink and a touch of watercolour. Could have been better planned.

42nd Moleskine Exchange: Lynne's moly

Illustration Friday: Contagious (with apologies to Molly Brett)

ETA: Dagnabbit! I thought I’d scrape in on time – it isn’t even 11pm and the new topic is up!

Some people say the nursery rhyme “ring-a-ring-a-rosies” is about the Black Death, but I think it’s perfectly obvious from the second verse that it’s all about a plague of zombies.

The illustration is a direct homage to and heavily referenced from a number of Molly Brett’s illustrations for Underneath a Mushroom: A Second Joy-Book of Juvenile Verse compiled by John R. Crossland and first published 1934 (given to me by a friend who learned my tastes very quickly, though I note the book is rather heavier on fairies than living dead). The words are hand-lettered, but based on the font in the book.

The picture is dip pen and ink on typing paper, but the background here is a scan from a blank page of Underneath a Mushroom.

Back on deck soon. Meanwhile, I found the subtitles to my second favourite movie. Here is an extract (contiguous, from one scene). It’s accurate – the movie is just about as rational as this once you get sound and pictures:

Don’t nobody do nothing! – This is unheard of.
Throw down the case and the gun.
Don’t shoot me, I’m part Italian.
Button it!
Don’t kick those rocks, you Philistine!
Shut up!
Don’t you dare strike that brave, unbalanced woman!
Mister!
Grab his legs!
Give me that.
– Having fun? – I can’t find my rocks!
– Grab the cases. – Which ones?
All of them!
Don’t!
How many cases are there?
– I believe there’re four of them. – I’ve got three.
Wait a minute.
Stick them in here.
– How are your legs? – My legs?

Illustration Friday: Parade

This began life as a ballpoint drawing which I reworked with pen and ink, scanned and had fun with in Photoshop. For a change, I didn’t actually model for this one, but I did cut out a chain of similar masks just to see if the cuts and folds for the mouth and nose would work (they did).

Here is a simpler version:

Illustration Friday: Parade (black background)

Then I went a little crazy:

Illustration Friday: Parade (variations)

Oh, and I’ve put up the last of the work-in-progress posts for the book cover. Now I’m just waiting for the book!

As usual, you can see larger versions by clicking on the picture to go to its Flickr page and then choosing “all sizes” above the picture.

(Update: Greer Gilman’s website has gone live, with a page for Cloud & Ashes)

LCRW decided they liked the dashed design but would prefer the face to be in profile. I did some tests to see if I could get the dashes around the nose without it being too hooked, then sketched up a larger version in pencil, put plain typing paper over and set to inking it.

I ended up doing more than one version to correct malformed birds and to do versions with the lines following the outline and with the lines starting more abruptly out from it. This is the final line version.

Cloud & Ashes - sepia linework

I had found a scan of some old paper online which had a nice effect, but I could not get in touch with the copyright holder to get permission to use it. Next time I went back to visit my parents I dug out some of my old books and found a page sufficiently aged and mottled to do what I wanted (I think it may have been from Mr Dalton’s Prescription, which I’ve used elsewhere since then).

I reworked the title font to make it less ambiguous (Cloud & Fishes?) and changed the font of Greer Gilman’s name (something Uncial-esque).

I scanned the final inked image, the font and the page and combined them in photoshop, fiddling with colours and levels and positioning to get a blue that I liked. Then I sent it to Kelly and Gavin, who asked for the text as a separate file. Now, the text only looked the way it did because it was combined with the other three layers, so I learned how to extract it and have been using those techniques in new ways ever since.

This is the front cover with text (my positioning – it is differently aligned on the final).

Cloud & Ashes - front

And here is the wraparound cover (before title, blurbs etc are added).

Cloud & Ashes - wraparound (no text)

I have heard that it is arriving in people’s hands!

Previous:
Falling off of chairs
Roughing out of thumbnails
Anything as much fun as simply messing about in photoshop?

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