Wednesday, March 4, 2009

IF: Breezy

Inside his house, made strong of brick,
the Pig's heart began to flutter.
As the breeze got high, and whistled by,
he thought it best to close the shutters.

But the Wolf still huffed, and he still puffed,
the house, it never bent.
After three more blows, the Wolf headed home,
his lungs were finally spent.

While many illustrators provide inspiration for me, I have recently developed an increased admiration for the illustrations of Quentin Blake. And not just his subject matter or style, but his process. I have mentioned before that I love to watch other artists work, and watching Mr. Blake work is equally engaging as the finished illustrations themselves.

In the past, I would trace my sketch in pencil on my watercolor paper, paint it, then outline it in pen (or colored pencil). Quentin Blake cuts a few steps by "redrawing" the sketch directly in pen on his paper. He uses a light box with his sketch underneath, but not as a means of direct copy, but merely as a reference. This keeps the drawing loose, and is a technique I employed on the above illustration, and my previous IF post below. This kept me from drawing so stiffly trying to follow my lines exactly, and greatly improved the end result.

Another thing he does is mixing his paints on the fly using a scrap piece of paper, which I found interesting. I tried this on the above painting, but mixed them directly on the painting itself, which worked great.

Below are a small color study and the original sketch. I like the color study a bit better than the above just because of its looseness. I drew it freehand based on the original sketch. The light box I use is small (12" x 10"), and trying to get loose sweeping strokes on it is difficult. I started to add "sketchy" strokes to the finished illustration, but stopped as they don't look the same when forced (and of course, I was worried about messing up the finished art... gotta get over that! Can always do it again, right!)


Candace Trew Camling said...

cute! I love the way you handled painting the house too! The bricks are marvelous!

Jack Foster said...

Great take on the subject. Why didn't I think of that! Terrific!

kathy hare said...

another wonderful illustration Tom!

Cheryl said...

Love your process (mental and physical).

twinklestarart said...

Great work! I think that wolf may run out of breath before one of those well built bricks are going to move though. Don't know what that pig's worried about ;)

Bee said...

Nice illustration, like your skinny wolf! (I think your original colour sketch was really successful with the looser lines and colours.) And I agree Quentin Blake is a great inspiration :)

Tom Barrett said...

Thanks everyone for all the comments!! :)

sdzsmith said...

Fun illo!

Thanks for stopping by - I'll definitely be pressed for drawing time when baby comes. Then again, I've had to simplify A LOT recently in preparation. Perhaps I can eek out a sketch or two. Here's hoping...


Tom Barrett said...

Thanks, Diane!

Will be by to see what's new!

sa said...