Friday, 5 December 2008

Re-Roughing the US Cover

Well, I have at last had the feedback for the educational cover job I was waiting on (see An American Cover). As often happens, they have asked for a few changes, so I have done a re-rough.

There were various things. Firstly, there is now more text to make room for on the back cover, so a big chunk of the illustration needs to be raised up. Here's the original again, so you can compare:

The second thing is that they would like me to take more liberties with the shadows, to straighten up the edges and get them to more obviously suggest a city skyline. I'm glad about being able to do this, as it was the main thing I was struggling with. I just couldn't make the shadows credible. Here's the new version:

The last thing was something really interesting, that hadn't even occurred to me. It's the dragonfly shadow that is supposed to suggest an airplane: they need me to swing it round, so it faces up, and can no way remind people of 9/11!

While I was at it, I took the opportunity to change a few other things that I wasn't quite happy with. I've fiddled with the main character's proportions, to make him cuter (bigger head, smaller feet...). I've flipped the wheel over, so its shadow makes more sense, and have added some wild flowers and an extra cactus to allow for colour. I've inverted the lizard too, so he and the beetle have more of a story going on:

It still bugs me a little that it's impossible to make the shadows as big as they should be, but I think this will be less obvious when the book is closed. I'd like to enlarge the cactuses to help the composition, but then the shadows would need to be even bigger still!

Luckily, the deadline turns out to be flexible, so I have next week to do the artwork after all. It's likely to take a couple of days I should think.


Matthew A said...

Actually, ironically, or divinely, depending on the way you look at it, you are not the first person to interest me in pastels. What kind of pastels are you talking about? I love oil pastel, and have just recently ventured into semi-hard pastels.

I love the way you draw. My favorite part is your line quality. There's something about line weight that just gets me. The train drawings remind me so much of my bus drawings haha, but yours are easily much nicer than mine. Actually, they are fantastic. Life drawing in real life is so much fun.

Lynne Chapman said...

Hi Matthew - it's chalk pastel, medium soft. If they are too hard, you don't get the benefit of all the lovely smeariness!

Thank you for the compliments - I have always got excited by line-quality. I am never happy drawing with a tech pen or hard pencil, as you lose that lovely varied weight.

And you're right - there's nothing like drawing on the spot for that buzz of urgency and real sense of fulfillment when it goes right!

Ginger*:)* said...

I really enjoyed reading about the rough, the re-rough and the challenges for this cover. As I work on revising roughs I always try to remember that other fine illustrators go through the same hoops.

My personal deadline is looming and I know there will be re-dos, but knowing others as talented as you are, will be facing the same issues makes it more acceptable.

I loved going through your blog! Your sketches are so much fun!!!!

Alicia Padrón said...

Wow Lynne, this is a great post! So much work goes into this cover now that I see all the considerations your are taking care of. The shadows seem challenging and I think you've done a great job.

I love how you turned the lizard upside down now and the tail makes perfect sense as the top of a skyscraper and you managed to have a little story there too, brilliant! :o)

It never occurred to me either about the dragonfly and the plane. It goes to show us how much of what happens in the world around us influences picture books as well.

I love the changes you made on the character. He does look even cuter now with the bigger face. You decided no to include his ears on the new sketch?

This is going to be a beautiful cover, it already speaks so much on it's own! :o)

weechuff said...

I think your alterations to their drawing have really improved it. I was finding it hard to make sense of the shadows before! And I love the lizard/bug interaction:0)

Lynne Chapman said...

Glad you all approve of the changes - i just heard from the publisher that they like them too, so it's a green light!

I think the whole shadow thing will work much better in colour - I'll post it when it's done for you to see.

Well noticed Alicia about the ears! They asked for it to be more obviously a prairie dog, and I realised they have almost no ears, so got rid.

Tessa said...

Well, now I've learned how those vibrant and beautiful covers come to fruition - I am in awe. Very much look forward to seeing it in colour. What a singular talent you have...fantastic!

linda sarah said...

this is such a lovely drawing - and I completely love your IF entry this week - beautiful work and wonderful ideas - really lovely:-)

Tomás Serrano said...

Very interesting again. How they tell you the changes you must do?

Juan said...

I love your line work! Excellent

Bill Ross said...

Hey Lynne... Your work is AWESOME, but you probably already know that! Thanks for lookin' at my Pirates, not to mention commenting on them. I am not worthy to tie your shoes!

I think editors/art directors make changes just to justify their existence. I think they think too much.

That's just me.

Lynne Chapman said...

Thanks again for your lovely words!

Bill: Yes, they do sometimes seem to fiddle for the sake of it, but more often they are right: a welcome fresh pair of eyes.

Tomas: they email me notes, and sometimes also a patched-together re-rough from my drawing, to help to indicate the changes they want.

Theresa Evans said...

I like this finished rough best and can't wait to see it in colour!

What amazing characters you create in your drawings; so full of personality and mischief. No wonder they go down so well with children.

Such a fascinating blog to read - a feast for the eyes. Thanks for sharing... I'm not going to get any work done now I've found it!