This is my third in a recent series of illustrations based on classic children's lit. This is done with ink, scanned watercolor textures and digital media.
Hugh Lofting's The Voyages Of Doctor Dolittle is probably the best of the Dolittle books, but was racially insensitive in a way that was typical at the time, which is unfortunate, because otherwise it's a fun and imaginative book that deserves its classic status. The problematic character is Bumpo, The African prince.
There's a very even-handed summation of the book and it's controversial content:
There have been attempts to revise the text to make it more sensitive for contemporary audiences. Some comparisons between the original text and an updated version can be found:
I've included Bumpo, but have tried to portray him without the stereotypes in the original illustrations. He's pictured here with his trademark green umbrella:
And here's a detail with Dolittle, Polynesia the parrot, Bumpo, Jip the dog and Tommy Stubbins:
And another detail of a sailer arriving in a rowboat with Chee Chee the monkey and Dab Dab the duck.
And here are some of the inked drawings of the figures drawn separately from the background and later composited into the drawing: