Monday, 31 August 2009

Illustrating a Picture Book: Little Bear


I thought you might be interested in seeing the way the little bear developed in stages.

I've coloured the background first, then rubbed it back, 'cleaning' the bear area. I could instead have fixed it, then coloured the fresh pastel over the top of the unwanted background, but I try to avoid using fixative too often, because of the dulling effect on colour. Also, it's useful to have the pencil guidelines re-exposed:


I lay in various brown and pink marks to suggest fur, smudging them together, then redrawing more layers, blending and building it up. I am also establishing the areas of light and shade from the outset, as with the red trousers, to make things three dimensional.


It's important to me that some mark-making and separate colours are retained, to stop things becoming too slick and, for the bear, this also creates the fur texture. I tighten up edges, using pastel pencils where necessary, and add the black nose. Then I spray with the dreaded fixative, so I can add the trouser stripes and eye dots:


It's vital that the trouser stripe colours vary, corresponding with the shading on the red, otherwise the stripes will stand proud.

I finish with tiny details like teeth, and add just a touch of slightly green colour to the fur shadows, to hint at the colour reflected from the carpet.

12 comments:

raena said...

I love, love, love to hear about process! Thank you very much! I didn't go to art school so when I see things like this it really gives me a lot of information! I really love your work!

Tomás Serrano said...

Wonderful result!

karin said...

I love your work (I favor pastel as well) and what you show us about the process is very enlightening. Can you also tell what materials you use? What kind of pastel sticks, pencils, tortillons?

ps: I have been following your blog now for 2 months and have finally signed up for new feeds. Thank you for blogging about your passion.

Lynne Chapman said...

So glad it's useful to hear about this stuff - I'm wary of telling people stuff they already know.

Karin: I use all different kinds of pastels (except Sennelier, which are too soft and powdery) and various makes of pastel pencil (except Derwent which are a little waxy). I work onto Canson Teintes paper. I use those flat Maped erasers for getting into tight corners!

Lise said...

Really interesting, thank you ! Pastel have such a beautiful effect in your pictures...

cassia said...

have you ever tried an electric eraser? I discovered those last year- not sure how good they'd be for the old pastels, but by golly they're mighty spiffing on pencil!

Looking brilliant, btw, but nowt new there! cx

M.M.E. said...

Great step-by-step! Nice to see how artists work! I'm so excited to find another illustrator! Feel free to stop by my site and see my newest illustration. Oh, and don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Lynne Chapman said...

Cassia: what ON EARTH is an electric eraser?!? I have a great mental image of it getting out of control and driving a frantic hand all over the drawing board!

Nice to meet you MME - welcome. Will come across later when I've done some work and earned a play around!

Edrian Thomidis said...

Love all your step by steps! Thanks for taking the time to show us your process!!!

Kay Aker said...

Fascinating to see the process behind your amazing illustrations!

Amy C said...

what a great little series of progress, thanks for sharing, I always find it really interesting to see how people work.

Giselle said...

Really wonderful! Now I understand our process better!