Friday, April 18, 2008

Case In Point (UPDATED May 16th)

I recently had a book turned down at a trade publisher, after serious consideration and a revision. Part of the reasoning was that they found the dummy sketches to be very charming but not so much with my finished art. I'm dabbling with a new illustration and I'm starting to see what they mean. The rough illustration below shows the rough pencil line AND the cleaned up version. I clean up my line work to the point where it is a bit lifeless and has lost a bit of its 'edginess'. Which do you prefer??

I am going to try and trust myself a bit more and not worry so much about making mistakes. Here are some more choices...

#1 is taking the first rough sketch, adding a rough acrylic wash and colored pencil accents on pastel paper.
#2 is the same but taking it a step further with brushed black line work. I think this one pops a bit more but has lost some of the warmth of the original sketch and maybe my lines are too thick in places with not enough variety of line weight... thoughts??
HERE IS THE 3rd ATTEMPT...
this is taking the painting and placing it behind the original sketch in photoshop... might be too muddy though because of original 6B graphite pencil shading... getting closer but still more work to do...

15 comments:

Sherry Rogers said...

I like the softness of the pencil sketch.

Frank Summers said...

yeah i agree with sherry. the pencil has a nice soft appeal to it. maybe your cleanups can be a bit more loose?

good luck!

Lauren Castillo said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and for the kind comments. I just finished checking out your website -- LOVE your animations! Really great stuff...I will be stopping by periodically :-)

Dagan Moriarty said...

hey Andy

i agree w/ Franklin and company, the nice-soft pencils are where it's at...

i will say though, i think your cleaned-up version has the character looking appealing as well... but ya know, raw-pencil ALWAYS rules! ;)

Robert Squier said...

Hi Andy,
I can identify with your predicament - I love my sketches! My finishes, eh - not so much. Dani Jones had something insightful to say on the matter (something that I don't remember exactly). In a nutshell: fight the temptation to trace - trust yourself to redraw the illustration when going to final. Easier said than done. Good luck!

Bill Ferguson said...

They both look great but the rough has a lot of heart and soul also rough energy and spontaneity. Great stuff all around!

Adam said...

Hmmm...I myself didn't notice any conspicuously missing life force in the inked in version.

Keep yer chin up. The Overworkers Anonymous meeting I head convenes on Wednesdays.

Lisa M Griffin said...

Hi-
Sometimes, this business can be so frustrating. I think the illustration is charming, the pencil does add a nice softness to the comp. I did notice some detail was lost on the table top when you converted to color, and that did make that space more interesting. The little girl still works well (also my opinion). Maybe this was more of an isolated incident... don't reinvent the wheel for one persons opinion. Go with your instinct, because a lot of your color work (those fun maps you did for example) are really fun and dynamic. Hope this helps!

annawritedraw said...

I actually like the cleaned up (sepia) version. The expression on the girl's face is more readable and the table top works well with the pink in the ice cream. I also like the #2 with the black line although I agree that the line weight is too similar. Also the oval looks a little tilted with the constant black line.
Anna

Adrian said...

Hi Andy. They are all good, so anything I say is just preference, of course. I like the actual first drawing (girl's uplifted eyebrows, texture of table, and the looseness of the spill on the ground) better than the later pics, not making any comment on the medium involved.

And in the final image, the dark lines seemed a bit overpowering, but I am not sure if that could be remedied by thinning the lines, thinning them in places (as you suggested yourself), etc.

Or it could be a one off incident, as Lisa said. Plus, I think doing what you enjoy the most is also important. I think your stuff is great, so I wouldn't sweat it too much.

Good luck!
Adrian.

Dani said...

Yes, your sketch has a lot more life to it. I often have the same problem. My favorite piece is #1 from the second gif image. The line on #2, like you said, is too bold and monotonous. You can add punch to your edges if you just use a few more darker values here and there with your paint. If you want line, try to be more subtle and loose, like Robert mentioned, you're going to have to "redraw" the drawing, not trace. Maybe use a colored or toned line?

Your last image has character too, but the line needs to cleaned up. Erase some of the line or paint right top of it if you have to.

In general, I find it is easier not to concentrate on the technique so much - just try to make a great image. When coming up with styles, artists often try to come up with a step-by-step process that they can use over and over, but lose focus on what's hurting the images.

Come up with a technique that will make creating images simpler for you,but don't let it rule you. If you need to use the sketch, use it. If not, don't. Parts of my process will often change from image to image.

Eleisa Trampler said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eleisa Trampler said...

You're right on all counts, the pencil sketch is best, the acrylic pops better with the black line and the drawing with the painting behind is too muddy. What do you think your intended audience would prefer?

I was originally drawn to the glow of the piece which is your tag for jacketflap. It contains both the warmth and the eyepopping clarity and color that is attractive to kids.
Eleisa Trampler

Steve Harpster said...

Everyone here has left some good advice so I don't have much to add, but the first thing I noticed is the drawing seems to tilt and slant...You might want to try flipping the image in the computer or holding it up to a mirror if your're working traditionally to see where your mistakes are in the art. Hope that helps.

Julia Denos said...

Thanks for visiting Andy and for the comments about my Petra sketch. I like the subtlety and spirit in your sketches too!

Something I have found to work is to redraw a final, just trace general shapes. Try to remember the energy you had in the original and just go nuts in round 2. I like the energy in your stuff, very lively!