There are no donkeys roaming my backyard so I need to scour the internet and books for reference photos of them. I like doing researching for books but sometimes I’m reluctant to look for certain subjects. Donkeys are one of them because it’s guaranteed that I’ll come across a large portions of sad donkey photos – starving donkeys, abused donkeys, donkeys pulling huge carts piled high with stuff, tiny donkeys carrying tourists up and down hillsides, donkeys on garbage piles scavenging for food.
The donkey in the book I’m working on is a magic, immortal donkey but I still think he needs to be imbued with a touch of the eternal donkey sadness.
sketchbook studies of faces from various photo reference.
The drawing of the little girl in the middle looks slightly less evil in the real sketch than in the photo of the sketch. Slightly.
Thumbnail planning sketches
One of the locations in the book is a village where cormorants are still used as a method of fishing. They wear a collar around their necks that prevent them from swallowing their catch which they bring back to the boat. While it’s not mentioned in the text, it’s such a cool detail and the cormorants are so interesting looking that I’d love to include it in one of the illustrations. I just need to figure out how and if it’ll work or not. If not, they might make an appearance in the endpapers instead.
boat (and nautilus) studies.
I’m about halfway through the first pass at my roughs (8 spreads sketched and 8 to go). I work them out on one sheet of paper so I can keep track of the over-all flow. Sometimes I come up with a couple of variations of one illustration. I’ll drawn the alternates out on separate pieces of paper and tape them down over the master page.
It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything… I’ve been sidelined by other work but I’m back at it now and here’s a photo of the process so far. I’ve put all the sketches together in storyboard format and made notations, mainly as reminders for myself, but also as sketch translation notes to the publisher and editor as a few of of my scribbles are only decipherable by me, and some elements will only become apparent later on in the colour work. Some notes also came from my meeting with the editor in mid-April (along the line of things to watch out for/things to emphasis/elements to revisit/places to tie the illustrations more directly to the text). The notes also plot out colour transitions/time of day, etc, for when I get into the colour stage. I’ve printed out a hard copy to tape to the wall above my workspace and will continue to add notes/ideas/etc to it as the project progresses.
This is a small section of a very rough medium and colour exploration sketch.
I’m trying to get comfortable again with ink drawing. There’s something pretty terrifying to me about putting a pitch black mark down on a white piece of paper.