Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A quick post about my process

Each month, either Mrs. Handmade or I work four shifts at Fusion, an art co-op we are members of here in St. Louis. One of the great things about working there is that after the dusting is done, and if there are no customers to help, all the time is ours. We're actually encouraged to bring our craft/artwork to do, because seeing us working helps draw people into our story. I spent this last Saturday working at the shop all day, and inking storybook drawings. It was great talking to people about what I was working on, telling them about the project and answering questions. One couple asked me about my process, which I love talking about because drawings seem like magic sometimes instead of a series of steps. I thought I'd take a minute and share some process drawings from Little Red Riding Hood with you today.
I started out by doodling in my sketch book, looking for who I thought the character of little red is, and what I wanted her to look like. This includes her reacting to things and doing things. This is a pretty well refined sketch of what I decided I was looking for.
 Next, I do very rough layout sketches for the drawings I'd like to include...Mostly these are just notes to myself, and I'm just looking at shapes and deciding where I want things to go.  I know I did one for the drawing I'm about to show, but it must've been on the back of an envelope or something, because I have no idea where it is now. Ha-ha-ha!
 Armed with the rough layout, I sit down with (in this case) cold press watercolor paper and a non-photo blue pencil. I use the blue pencil on these because it doesn't compete with the graphite when I do the final drawing, and it adds another layer of texture to the finished image when colored. Basically, I just like it. :) So, here I loosely and pretty quickly put down all the major shapes that I plan on being there when everything's finished.
 Next, I use a 2H graphite pencil to work out all the details, and to start figuring out the textures I'll need when I ink it. This is also where I start posting the images for the writers to see, so that we're all on the same page, and to give us all a chance to ask questions and comment.
Inking is probably my favorite part of the whole process. It's soothing, and probably the only part of the process where I don't always feel like I'm fighting it. I think this allows me to take more chances with it too.
Also, it's where everything sort of solidifies for me, as it approaches being finished. The trees were inspired in part by Charles Vess and his awesome artwork in the Dream Makers anthology. I got that book for Christmas when I was 13 or 14, and just pored over it. If you ever find it, definitely check it out.

I'm finishing up these spot interiors now, and starting the 12 main calendar images over the next week. At the same time, I'll start coloring the interiors...hopefully I don't mess them up, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, am I right? I'll leave you with one final image, the inked Tailor and Giant from last week. Brandon Graham did a really great little write up for the project over on his blog today. Go check it out!
Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,

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