Saturday, April 16, 2011

100th Blogpost and Mrs. Doily

Exciting news! This is my 100th blogpost! And it's only taken me 2 1/2 years to get here... I really should post more frequently.

But on to something even more exciting ... my next illustration! When I was hurriedly preparing to meet with an art director from a super fabulous children's book publishing house last month, I painted this "finished" illustration to accompany the book dummy for Penny's story:

While the string of images shows abundant activity, it runs a little short on distinctive characterizations. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) I aim to remedy that problem in my next picture. Penny's look changed in the last two pictures (see my previous blogpost), as did the cat Zip's. While the old lady, Mrs. Doily, has the most character in the image above, she could still do with a bit more, especially in her face.

At my portfolio critique, the art director had an idea to spice up the tension in the picture book's plot. Her idea made me think of a bazillion more story problems the increased friction between Penny and Mrs. Doily could spark. (Penny's picture book is fast growing into a chapter book.) She also got me thinking of a new look for Mrs. Doily. At first I thought I'd make her skinny. I was imagining all the visually fun things I could do with her lanky lines. But I wanted to keep the crazy curlicue hair. So I sketched. I came up with the thin figures you see below. (I had some others that I won't post because their faces are dour, and I don't want to make readers unhappy when they visit my blog.) I think she looks something like Ms. Frizzle meets Amelia Bedelia. Not what I was going for at all.

Did you notice that one of the Doilies in the image above is not slender? She's the one I've decided to develop  for my next portfolio piece. Here's a close-up:

This pencil sketch doesn't look hugely different from the image at the top of this post, but I've worked in a few subtle changes that should become more apparent after I've given it the new style treatment with more line-work and layered colors. You may be able to detect that Mrs. Doily is plumper. I thought that would make her look a lot more amusing when she's on a step ladder (from one of my chapter book ideas). I've also tried to make her facial expression more readable. I think I need to work on that a bit more. Penny and Zip will have their new colorings, of course, and I'll use some more ink line to define the woodwork and door better. And I'll probably keep the door white. I think I may also extend the image to include their feet.

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