Saturday, 3 November 2012

Getting organised and new drawing for a children's book

Recently I've been doing quite a bit of traveling to Australia, Singapore and other parts of Norway which made it rather hard to blog. Plus I had a lucky bout of work coming in that made me rather busy, but perhaps also bitte lite grann (a little bit in Norwegian) stressed. Hey Universe, I'm not complaining. Keep the work and the rewards coming!

In the midst of getting organised for my increased workload, I got more stressed thinking that I'm using too much time to organise stuff. But you know what some people say to that? 20 % organisation = 80% increased efficiency.

Anyway I ramble on too much. It's 2.26am here in Norway. Time for bed.

Just wanted to post my latest drawing in the children's book, which got the author or my "Commissioner" excited. We are working on our contract right now (thus the formal title of "Commissioner") - not that I recommend to any artist at all out there to do the same as I did, starting drawings before contract - but we have quite a unique trust thing going on. I call it being human. But please don't trust my word on it - protect yourself whenever possible with a contract, Artists :)

A Girl Named Sam - page 6
In the above image, I used my film-making background to add a wide-angle lens look to our protagonist Sam, as if the lens or camera is placed very close to the top of her head,
hence the big head. No, it is not in the naivete style where I don't know my sense of scale and balance. It's on purpose, people. Wasn't confident if I could achieve the effect at first, but thought it turned out well.

I have come to learn something about myself through this book - that I am actually not as adverse towards draft-making of drawings as I thought. Usually an impatient person who wants to get it right the first time, I learnt that making drafts isn't a bad idea, especially when if one is uncertain about how to illustrate a line in the book, or have several ideas. For the above image, I must have gone through 3 drafts, which is a world record for me. Kept changing the direction of eyes, scaling of the people and style. The tree was from the forest and then it metamorphosed under my pencil into a coconut tree.

A common question I get is: how long do I take to complete one drawing?

The short answer: a few hours to a day with breaks.

The long answer is: if you include brainstorming and drafts, it can take up to weeks. The current way it works for me is that I like to spend 15-20 minutes sketching over a few days every day, see if I can add something or my feeling says "nah". If my feeling says "nah", it means that adding is subtracting, or that "more isn't really more". Welcome to Pixy's world of philosophy! haha.

Sometimes I get lucky and hit the inspiration right on the spot with my first draft/sketch. In that case, I am usually confident enough to just quickly start drawing the final image on a nice, crisp fresh piece of paper and colour it in. Usually the general colour is done in 2 hours (colour pencils take much longer than water colours - watercolours can be done in half the time). But it is the refinement of colour - adding deeper tones, highlighting and outlining that takes up the rest of the day, because I just want it to look perfect.

How do I know it is good? If I go "wow, it's beautiful" and anymore "adding" is subtracting.

Consistency. A tough challenge with book illustrations is consistency. I have a bit of problem with that, so I try whenever possible to keep reflecting and having previous drawings in front of me to keep the look in the same style. It might not always succeed, but I do my best.

Will post another drawing tomorrow :)


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