Saturday, January 31, 2009

Anatomy of a chapter book...

I have just completed work on my first Black and White (inside) chapter book. The cover is done also, in living color, but I can't post that here.

For purposes of this post, however, I wanted to share the process I followed to get from the early sketching stage to the final finishes.

After reading the manuscript several times, (actually lots of times) I began with some character sketches. These are usually large because I like the freedom of just "letting go" and getting a good free feeling to the character.

Once I had pages and pages of these done I created a story board for the entire INSIDE portion of the book. As I finished each rough I printed a tiny copy of it and pasted it into my story board.

All those pencil notes on the story board are the comments from the editor/designer as we worked on composition and character and paid attention to the details in the manuscript that needed to be illustrated.

Each time I FINISHED a drawing I made a print out and posted those larger full size Black & Whites on the Bulletin Board that faces me as I work. I find that this helps to create a consistency of character and mood as I work. Style is important too. It helps me to see the particular type of line or hatching I am using as I go from one finished B&W to the next.

This last photo is the bulletin board with all 18 drawings displayed. I know the story almost by heart now, and it is a beautiful one. When the book is out I will post more information and some close ups as well as the cover, ISBN and places where you can find the finished product.

Although I am a children's book illustrator, this book seems to me to appeal to an older audience, one that moves easily into the adult range with its charm and meaningful message. I'll be sharing more about "WHEN WISHES COME TRUE" by Barbara B Slater, in the coming months.

INTERESTING ITEM: During the work on this book we had a huge ICE STORM here in NH and we were without power for 9 days. Fortunately when the editor called, I had all my storyboard finished and we were able to discuss the entire book over the phone. This is another good reason for digital artists to have a traditionally available copy, or at least a print out of work completed.


Kristi Valiant said...

Hi Ginger, the small comps look wonderful. Great use of value and composition, using the lights and darks to draw you to the focal point. Congrats on the book!

Ginger*:)* said...

Thanks Kristi,
Hope your weather is a bit more gentle this week. Evansville is too close to the ice right now.

Bron Smith said...

I've thought about you as I've watched the weather reports over the last few days on Good Morning America. Wow, nine days without power. I was also thinking how happy I am that you've worked hard and now you're living what you once dreamed of. What a blessing that is. Nancy Munger, my classmate from art school, said the other day: "I'll never retire!" I'm sure you must feel the same way.

Sherry Rogers said...

Wonderful job Ginger! Your black and white are very special and the world is going to fall in love with this book! I too printout and keep track on a bulletin board as I go. I love to be able to study the past finished ones and by doing this I usually see errors and can go back and correct them.

Ginger*:)* said...

Sherry is so right about those little errors. I think it is mostly a digital thing, however. You don't notice some lines that shouldn't be where they are or a section that looks "off" somehow until you actually print out a digital painting or drawing. Her advice is what originally taught me never to take anything for granted and always double check and Sherry's words... go back and "tweak."

BTW those stick like things hanging from my bulletin board are 'wands' that people have made for me.
I collect magic wands the way some people collect coins or stamps. *:)

Julie-ann said...

Wow, you must feel so proud having your illustrations published. I am so proud of you!

roz said...

Hey ginger and all, I awarded you all with the Kreative blog award.
You can pass it on by copying the logo from my post.