For this week's blogpost, I'm going to share the process of one of the color illustrations from Chapter 8: Toad's Adventures:
"...she proceeded to 'hook-and-eye' him into the cotton print gown, arranged the shawl with a professional fold, and tied the strings of the rusty bonnet under his chin."
It was very hard to narrow down all the moments in the book to choose to illustrate. Having only 20 color pieces, I had to narrow down eight chapters to have 2, while four of the chapters would have only 1. Here Toad, after landing himself in jail (or 'gaol') befriends the Gaoler's Daughter (a friend to all animals) and she helps him escape by disguising him as a washerwoman (her aunt).
I drew the two characters on separate sheets of copy paper and had my niece Emma pose was the Gaoler's Daughter to help me with the pose and angle (I don't tend to draw humans very often, after all)
I then scanned those pencil sketches and in photoshop, composited them into a layout that told the story. I tinted the girl and Toad different colors so I could see where one of them ended and the other began. Instead of drawing the jail cell, I just re-used the sketch I had from an earlier illustration in the book re-sized and mirrored it (if you look closely you can see Toad slumped against the wall from the original sketch). Here I also digitally added some lighting notes for myself for the floor and walls inking.
The labor on this piece was 1) getting the inks for the Gaoler's Daughter right...one slight line out of place and she looks bad, and 2) stippling all the background slowly, making sure to build up those tones the way I want them, because whiting out in a way that doesn't look like a mistake can be an even harder trick.
The majority of the shading for the characters I decided to leave for the colors to do rather than over-render their skin with ink.
Here you can see the completed color image as it will appear in the book along with 19 other color illustrations and 50 B&W.
For all my other Willows Process Posts: