As you know, I am now laid up, so only able to work in a very limited way, but I can put a laptop on my knee, so thought this would be a good time to tell you about an interesting bit of jiggery-pokery, to do with the Jungle Grumble artwork, something I never got around to telling you earlier.
Those readers who are very observant indeed, might have noticed a visual anomaly. See if you can spot it before you read on...
No? Well, remember I was asked to do a couple of pieces of advance artwork, so my publisher had some colour for their Frankfurt presentation? One of these pieces was spread eight, the illustration with all the animals parading. There was a blue sign attached to one of the trees:
This came about because, when I was drawing the rough for spread five (below) - the point where Lion's swap-shop idea is first introduced - I decided we needed a 'Swap Shop' sign, because otherwise it was hard to make it visually obvious what people were looking at:
Now, one of the reasons I get nervous when I am asked to start on artwork before all the roughs are confirmed, is because things change. Once my publisher had thought further about the rough above, they made some alterations. They had already asked me to use leaves rather than canvas, which was a definite improvement, but now they also pointed out that it would be nicer if the animals were running into the swap shop in the same direction the book was travelling. They flipped my drawing:
Trouble is, that put the Swap-Shop sign on the wrong side of the changing room, compared to the artwork I had already completed:
I couldn't move the sign to the correct position, as it would now be well out of shot, but it had to be in the picture, as it was for spread five that I introduced a sign in the first place. I couldn't keep the sign where it was though, as we would then have two signs: a ridiculous overkill.
I thought about artistic license: maybe I could draw the tree with the sign on the correct side, but much nearer, so I could nudge it into frame... But I didn't have room for it in the foreground without blotting out half the animals. In any case, we had the issue that, in this illustration, we are looking in from a different angle, so we would be seeing the back of the sign. Big problem!
Eventually, I had a brain-wave: I would remove the existing sign altogether and hang a new sign from one of the existing trees, above the action. This wouldn't blot out the animals and could work from both sides, because it could have wording on both front and back!
Of course, I then had to go back and remove the blue sign from the original piece of artwork. Luckily, because I hadn't fixed it, I was able to rub out the pastel and patch it up, then rub out the area for the new sign and draw that in over the top:
Can you spot any other changes, by the way?
The palm tree fronds on the inside of the changing room were introduced after this original piece was done, so I popped those on at the same time, plus I also added some extra background trees to tie in with the spread below, where I wanted them for twilight atmosphere:
Once I had the new sign idea sorted, I had to go back and rework all the other spreads where the sign appeared. Mostly it just meant changes to roughs. Luckily, of all those which needed altering, only the twilight illustration above had gone to artwork stage. It wasn't too hard to correct: