Here are a few photos of reference objects for the 10th Anniversary of Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel (previous post about those illustrations is here: Clockwork Angel). They cover a few of my usual sources of reference.
The first is this little angel I found at ReLove Oxley, a wonderful local second-hand shop and cafe. The final angel design didn’t look much like this one, but it was useful for a sense of scale, how to handle fine features, and for the slight metallic finish.
I frequently go to ReLove for coffee, and often find useful reference — I buy enough that for this book they just let me borrow a violin. I walked home carrying it in its case, feeling like a gangster.
A great deal of reference material, however, comes from around my house. Here’s a parasol that’s been in the bottom of the linen cupboard, a box of beads and bangles, The Myths of Greece and Rome (old books standing in for old books), Mortimer, my Year 12 formal dress, my grandmother’s gloves, and some crumpled paper. Not featured but also starring: spare buttons, fancy embroidery scissors (also a contributor to the Scissors calendar), and my letter-opener.
Another old book: an 1887 volume of Cassell’s Magazine, printed on horrible Victorian wood-pulp paper which smells like burned sugar and is crumbling away at the edges. It’s a wonderful reference for illustration styles of the era, particularly homewares and mechanical elements, and its inventions page is delightful.
Look at this: “a small pocket apparatus for the electric illumination of flowers, such as roses, to be worn in the hair or on the dress.”
Architecture is always a challenge, mostly because I usually prefer to suggest it. Here I was mocking up light and perspective possibilities for a two-story library (the Hydralyte tin is a spiral staircase which did not end up in the picture due to dear lord spiral staircases).
Fantasy frequently requires images of hands holding glowing things, and I’m gradually accumulating night-lights in order to work that out.
Sometimes I just have to set up the image. Inkbottle, wine glass and magnifying glass on a sketch for a different illustration.