Friday, 25 May 2012

Illustrating a Picture Book: Redraws & Simplification

I have been wrestling with the rough for the 3rd spread of the Dogswap book. 

Lucy and Sparky have hatched their plan, and this is the first occasion when we see Lucy enjoying her new doggie disguise. Dad takes what he thinks is Sparky the dog to the park. Lucy has a great time jumping in the pond and generally letting rip. These are my initial little sketches, the ones I did on the big sheets:

All the adults in the story are too busy being distracted by life to notice the swap. I experimented with different distractions for Dad as you can see, but settled on him sitting reading the paper, below. I prefer the reading pose above, but he needs a free hand, so he can be absent-mindedly throwing the ball. I might enlarge his paper a bit though - seeing it here, it looks a bit titchy.

My publisher fleshed out my original text, adding specifics about the other dogs in the park, chasing and sniffing and digging, so this was my first proper drawing:

I made the pond a longer shape to fit in the drinking red setter, which also created a nice text space bottom right, but was having trouble fitting the other text onto the trees (and it's not really broken at the points I would have chosen). I didn't like the fussiness of the dog digging in the flower patch either. I'm trying to simplify my backgrounds slightly this time, to fit better with current trends.

So I had a rethink and got rid of the word 'digging' and used 'barking' instead (there's going to be more digging later, so it's not lost entirely). I also simplified the background further, so much of the text could sit on the grass instead: 

All these roughs are yet to be seen by my publisher of course, so the flower-patch digging may come back again if they are really fond of it! I much prefer the simpler version though.


Irene Paradisi said...

Hi Lynne, I have only been following your blog since the beginning of May, marvelling at every post I come across. I'm trying to read older posts, it's going to take a while I guess, I see there are loads!!Very exciting! A bit of a cliché to say how inspiring you are, but true. Very interesting all the process of creating a book, your passion, enthusiasm and humour is clearly reflected in the illustrations, and the sense of movement you give to your characters, it's like they want to come out of the paper! Love it!
About this post, I like the composition in this second spread but I even liked the digging dog in the flower bed (only half the body sticking out, too funny!) I hope you will use it somewhere else! Looking forward to read more!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thank you Irene - I'm so glad you are enjoying it.

Know what you mean about the digging dog. It was the necessity to create a flower bed for him to dig in that was bugging me. Hey-ho.

Watch this space for Lucy digging holes in the flower bed at home - pretending to be a dog!

Laureline said...

This is absolutely delightful! And it's fantastic to watch your process. Thank you so much for sharing this, Lynne.

Julie Clay Illustration said...

It's brilliant to see the progression from your initial sketches Lynne, all your thought processes. Thanks for sharing this! :)

cre dexo said...

These blogs are quite incredible that have provided the best knowledge.

Strong Authentication