Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wind in the Willows: Washerwoman Toad Color Illustration Process

In a few months, 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 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 digitally composited sketch was then printed out at-size (about 11" x 14") 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 back when I was inking this piece.

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.

The coloring process was as I've detailed it out on my past color blogposts. The first step was to block out all the color areas (Toad's Skin, The Gaoler's Daughter's skin, the clothes, the stonework, etc.) and then render the image using Dodge & Burn tools with a textured brush (these allow me to highlight and shade while adding a pebbled texture).

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.

Wind in the Willows from IDW and is available to pre-order on Amazon.com:

For all my other Willows Process Posts:

2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

No comments:

Blog Archive