Friday 29 November 2013

Illustration: My Pastel Artwork, Step by Step

I've been concentrating on my pastel artwork, now I have less distractions from events. I've been working a bit later into the evenings, to really see progress, starting in the studio about 9am and working straight through until 7 - 8pm. 

The last few days have been taken up with working on the artwork for another of the more complex spreads from The Jungle Grumble

There are quite a few where all the animals in the story appear at the same time: a bit of a nightmare in pastels to be honest, because chalk doesn't lend itself to such fussy images. However, the benefit is that pastels are great for subtly reworking colours and textures, so are at least more forgiving than some other media, on complex artwork where it's hard to make hard and fast decisions at the outset.

This one is an illustration towards the end of the book, where the animals have discovered the error of their ways and are rushing into the changing room to swap back. 

As usual, the first job was tracing up the line drawing onto my pink paper, then spraying the pencil line, to permanently fix it. I then loaded my drawing desk up with similar pieces I've already completed, to act as colour and continuity reference, as well as the print-out of the line-drawing, to help guide me once the lines get covered with pastel.

I then laid in the background. I thought, since the story was progressing into the evening, I could change the colour palette a little, which would create more interest (and be more fun for me):

I decided I would fix the first layer then work over the top, but I wanted to get all the paper covered first, as I didn't want to fix the background more than once if I could help it, because of colour changes. So I began filling in the animals:

It was at this point that I realised my cool palette was looking a bit like a moonlit scene. 

Though pretty, this would have been too sudden a time-jump from previous spreads, plus I quite fancied a sunset scene for the final shot of the waterhole. So I brightened up the sky a bit and added back some of the warmer colours into the ground, trying to make it look more like the night was just beginning to draw in:

Then I sprayed, which darkened everything up. So I went back over it all, picking out the highlights again and re-blackening the blacks. It's annoying, as fixative effects different colours differently, so it's not even as if you can easily compensate for the changes in Photoshop afterwards. 

Now the white was fixed, this was also the time to add all the dots into the eyes and define some of the patterns like croc's lumpy back and zebra's stripes.

This is it more or less finished. It has taken 3 days, which is far better than the last really complex spread. That took 5 days, but at that point I was still designing all the characters from scratch, at least the colour aspect of them anyway.

There are just a few bits of minor tinkering left to do before it leaves the drawing board, but nothing much. Now, which one to choose next..?


lee kline said...

Brilliant! I am so looking forward to seeing your completed project.

Elli Maanpää said...

Super nice! Thanks for posting. It's very interesting to see the art in process.

theartofpuro said...

Fantastic:)Love your work in progress:)

Traci VW said...

This is such a fun illustration. I really enjoyed seeing your process. Fun!

Anonymous said...

This is so fabulous and helpful to see your step by step, and hear how you progressed the colors. Looking forward to the final, it'll be grande!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I love it!

Anonymous said...

Do you ever use oil pastels, or is it just mainly chalk pastels?

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks for the lovely feedback folks :-)

No, I don't use oil pastels. They might superficially seem similar, but they are very different and involve a very different technique to chalk.

Ellen said...

Lovely work! Glad I stumbled upon it!!

Unknown said...

Love it! You should do a demo video of all the steps involved from start to finish!That would be so interesting!!!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks Summer! I have done it already. I created a piece of artwork for my next book 'Swap!' to camera. It's on my YouTube channel here: