So I've been trying to figure out for a long time how to make a living making pictures. I tried editorial work for a while, but I was never too terribly good at it. I didn't have the same feel for it that a lot of people I admire have. I've never been that interested in journalism or politics, and solving those kinds of illustration problems didn't come naturally to me, but I had it stuck in my head that if I wanted to be successful in the field, that was what I'd have to do.
So, in an attempt to emulate the people I admired, I tried to cultivate a very graphic, eye-catching style that I thought would appeal to that market. But somewhere I lost track of why I wanted to do this in the first place.
So David Maxine of Hungry Tiger Press asked me to do an Oz picture for his fanzine, just a one-off black and white picture based on the book, "The Road to Oz" for the magazine. I had always liked the Oz books as a teenager, and it seemed like a fun project, so I decided to make a color image instead (I could always grayscale it later), something that I'd have liked looking at as a kid. Looking at a lot of Winsor McCay, I decided to do something really lush and detailed. I've always been much more interested in traditional storytelling than editorial, and as a kid I really liked fantasy, and I had always wanted to make picture books and comic books.
And this is as close as I think I've ever come to something I would have liked to be able to make when I was a kid:
On my browser the colors always seem a little more muted on these blogger posts, so the real colors may be more brilliant than what you see here.
And here are some details:
Doing an image as complex as this would have been intimidating if I didn't approach it in pieces, and lately I've been drawing my figures separately from my backgrounds. I drew and inked each figure individually and then composited them into the picture later.
Perspective has always driven me nuts, and I've never been particularly good at it, but recently I've been using google sketch-up to put together primitive backgrounds that I can then work up and add details to:
And the finished background:
I've always been heavily reliant on photo reference, and usually take a number of photos of myself posing for each figure, but this time I didn't. Most of the reference I used was for for costuming and to get a general idea of fabric folds, but this time all the poses came mostly from my imagination. Here's an example of some of the reference I used:
I colored in on the computer, cloning in watercolor and dry brush textures on photoshop that I had scanned for things like the marble, the rust, and Polychrome's dress.
So I don't know where this is going to lead, but this seems to be the general direction that I'm headed in, with a new focus on Children's markets. We'll see how it goes. I'm kind of excited.
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