There’s been a bit of editing since the last post, as well as other commitments taking me away from the keyboard. I did notice, however, that editing doesn’t hold the same creative drive that writing does, even if the editing requires sizable chunks of rewriting. To scratch the creative itch, as it were, I decided to work on a drawing of my main character. It also didn’t hurt that I could use an extra piece for our local SCBWI chapter sample show. (About a dozen of us brought in postcards, tearsheets, and other printed samples for display before and after the meeting.)
I’ve been fussing around with doing black and white illustration using black Prismacolor pencils, with perhaps a black watercolor wash underneath. I love the technique but for one thing. It is so blasted slow. Layers upon layers of shading looks lovely, but takes forever, and then is very picky about scanning and reproduction. So I thought, ‘why not go back to pen and ink? That’s fast. Right?’
The original sketch, about 1.5″ x 2.5″
I started with a small drawing of my hero out of my sketch book, scanned it, then blew it up to match the size of the original sketch of the wolf.
Resized and layered in Photoshop.
I blew them up again so the image was about 5”x8”, then printed it out and reworked it with black Prismacolor, correcting anatomy and shading. On a piece of tracing paper I did a rough ink, basically to see where to stop drawing.
Done on cheap tracing paper with a crowquill nib.
The wolf was inked on a separate piece of tracing paper. I think the first piece was too small.
Once I was reasonably confident, I put the reworked printout on my light table with a piece of Arches 90# hotpress on top, and went to town.
Overall, I like the way it turned out. The difficulty has proven to be in trying to repeat this success. I have tried twice, with another character, and neither one works as far as I’m concerned. It may simply be a matter of refining my technique, or accepting that I’m using the wrong technique. Either way, it’s worth the effort.
The final on Arches 90# hotpress watercolor paper. Crowquill with Calli black calligraphy ink.
As I mentioned at the top of this post, I did do some editing. I’m maybe a quarter or a third of the way through the manuscript, and my critique group just gave me some wonderful feedback which might actually make the book shorter. Here’s hoping.