I recently received an email requesting a "step by step" posting of my illustration process, so here goes.
My agent Nicole Tugeau asked for fresh images for the T2 website, so I decided to create a finished piece from a story idea I have. The concept came from an exercise I did in Laura Montenegro's class (which I posted about earlier) in which we created two characters through collage and had them interact. Here's my collage from that class.
This exercise gave me an idea for a story about a wandering minstrel who solves problems with his music. He is called to a village to help rid them of an ogre who has been bullying them.
I love working in collage, and my goal is to create a separate portfolio of work in that style, but for this project, I decided to recreate this idea in my more traditional, watercolor and gouache style. So here is a little thumbnail I did based on this concept.
I enlarged the thumbnail and decided to change the ogre's expression to happy and innocent rather than sad and wistful. I reduced the size of the minstrel and made his head tilt back more with my old-school scissor and tape method. Some day I'll have to learn to do that stuff in Photoshop.
I transferred my sketch on to Artistico Extra White 140 hot press watercolor paper and started layering in color after marking off the borders with blue masking tape.
Here's the final piece. After looking at it for a while and discussing it with Nicole, I see room for improvement, and I may want to take another crack at it. I kind of rushed the background, and I could have created much more narrative interest by making the village more unique and showing the villagers a little closer, with more detail. And then there's the problem of all that green. I should have either given the ogre a ghastly blue skin tone or changed the setting so there wasn't so much grass. Oh well, live and learn.