Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wind in the Willows: Toad in Hiding Illustration Process

Later this year, IDW will be releasing my illustrated edition of the Kenneth Grahame classic Wind in the Willows. The book will be Grahame's original text, with over 70 illustrations by me.

For this week's blogpost, I'm going to share the process of one of the b&w illustrations from Chapter 8: Toad's Adventures:

"Toad jumped, rolled down a short embankment, picked himself up unhurt, scrambled into the woods and hid. Peeping out, he saw his train get speed again and disappear at a great pace."

It was very hard to narrow down all the moments in the book to choose to illustrate. In chapter 8 Toad has escaped from jail and is on the run from the law disguised as a washerwoman. Just before this illustration he's had the aid of a train engineer who slowed the train down to allow Toad to make a jump for it before the pursuing police catch up to the train. Many illustrators have drawn toad aboard the train shoveling coal, or the leap itself, but I chose to show the terror in Toad's eyes watching afraid he may have been seen as the surrounding wilderness eats him up visually.



The pencil rough you see above was fairly complete as-is. So, when I scanned it into photoshop to re-size for the final illustration I may have only made a slight digital tweak here or there, but mainly I wanted to add in some shading notes for myself for inking.


The digitally composited sketch was then printed out at-size (about 11" x 7") and then taped to the back of a sheet of 300 series Strathmore Bristol. On a light box I was able to see through the bristol's surface to the printout so I could ink on the bristol using the sketch as a guide. For pens, I used Copic Multiliners (the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs). Here I have an in-process photo I took with my phone and posted back when I was inking this piece.

I inked this while on a trip to Alaska for a children's reading event & presentation tour. It was done at the breakfast table of a dear friend (and friend to all books & book-lovers) Greg Hill.



Because I was traveling as I worked on and off this piece, I didn't track my time very well. Like I said above, I know I finished the bulk of it in Greg Hill's kitchen. The inking trick with this piece was all the cross-hateched shading and knowing how much or little to add. It was as I was adding the lines to the eyes that I was the most nervous.

Here you can see the completed image as it will appear in the book along with 49 other B&W illustrations and 20 color.




Wind in the Willows from IDW will be available Fall of 2016 and is available to pre-order on Amazon.com:







2016 Appearances:

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I can't wait! :)

Unknown said...

Hello, I'm love The wind in he Willows and can't wait for this to come out! I am looking to buy a copy of The Art of Mouseguard from the online shop but I have a couple questions. I saw in one of your older posts that you Uberdoodled some, are those still available? If so (or not) do you have a estimate on how many copies are left? http://mouseguard.bigcartel.com/product/art-of-mouse-guard-2005-2015-hardcover

Max West said...

This is looking gorgeous. I hope the book gets great reviews and brings you more acclaim, Dave.

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