Sunday, February 28, 2010

Illo #1 and Lessons Learned

Working on the illos for my son's short story has been quite educational. While it's not a "real" illustration commission, it's given me a sense of what working on a job might be like. I've completed a few drawings in pen/ink. One of them is shown here (critiques welcome):

Suddenly the laughter at the table stopped for everyone was curious about what Jake had to say.

I'm not 100% thrilled about this picture. I started with this one and it's probably the most difficult of the 5. There are several people of different ages - requiring different proportions. They are all seated around a dinner table - requiring lots of "clutter" among the people and lots of legs beneath. I didn't have anything to look at, so I just had to work it out in my head (I did have my son model the hands for "Jake").

This has been very eye-opening, and I've learned many things about the whole process. Such as...

1) Make sure you have lots of time before the deadline to do - and redo - and redo - until you're totally satisfied.

2) This will be the final product for his assignment, but it's really just a 1st draft (after those sketchbook studies) of the entire composition. Now, I see all kinds of issues that I would change if I were to be doing this for a publisher.

3) I have a tendency to shorten legs - one of those proportion issues - but I've dealt with that a little better in drawings 2 and 3 (to be shown later).

4) Lighting is a bit of a mystery to me - I would have liked to enhance this image with effects of the lighting they would have had during that era (candles). But, I didn't have time to explore that and I would prefer to have something to directly observe.

5) Historical fiction is not my 1st choice of genre to illustrate - certainly not with a 1 week deadline! It's another layer added to the illustration - having to think of period correctness of costumes and props. More to think about and research.


Dani Duck said...

I get the feeling from your comments of this drawing you do know the things you've done wrong in the drawing, so a critique from me would just be repeating what you just said. :P

The drawing isn't bad, and I'll bet it would have been a lot better if you had a little more time to work on it (isn't time always the problem?).

I struggle with proportion a lot. Drawing from real people is the best of course, but second best is using some sort of reference. If you don't have it yet get "Drawing the Head and Figure" by Jack Hamm.

I see from your blog that you are super busy, but make sure you save a bit of time to do some drawing every day. Make goals for yourself with deadlines. You wont always make your goals, but you'll get closer to your goals of getting published. You have a lot of talent and I'd like to see you published someday, so keep up the good fight!

Diane Smith said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I actually have that book by Hamm (and I think his animal one as well). But we moved last fall and it's one that is still packed.

I'm starting to rejoin the living now that the baby is almost a year. Sneaking sketchbook time is one of my plans...after finally unpacking the "studio/garage."