|The final image, showing Henry|
Bergh jumping through the skylight.
April of 2016 will mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the ASPCA and being an animal lover, I'm very excited that the book I am illustrating will be released in conjunction with the ASPCA's anniversary celebrations.
For this posting I am going to let my readers in on the process of how I went about creating one of the illustrations for "Mercy." In the book's introduction, author Nancy Furstinger relates a suspenseful incident involving ASPCA founder Henry Bergh and his attempt to put a stop to a dog fight. The scene describes him waiting on the rooftop of a building where a fight was about to take place. He and another officer are watching the activities of the dog owners through a skylight. Just before the men release their dogs, Henry leaps through the skylight. I won't tell you how the scene ends, you'll have to read the book to find out, but in this post, I'll show you how I came up with the illustration that will accompany this scene in the book.
|Reference books from the library|
|The leaping man in this image became my reference |
for Henry Bergh jumping through the skylight
|An early attempt at a layout using |
cut and pasted reference material
Once I had enough images, I did a rough layout by cutting and pasting some of my reference figures into a sort of collage. These collages were my early attempts at getting the illustration to match how, in my imagination, I felt the scene should look. I played with several poses from various images and if things didn't look like how I imagined them, I would start over from scratch. This scene on the left is my first attempt at a layout.
If I were an expert at drawing anatomy and perspective from scratch, I might have opted to just sketch out my idea. But since I had already downloaded the reference images, I found it was quicker to do a rough cut-and-paste job of my reference materials. That way I could move the elements around, scale them, flip them, etc. until I achieved a layout I was happy with.
Below are some examples of how my collage layout changed to reflect my evolving idea of how I wanted the scene to look. Once I had the main figures positioned where I wanted them, I began to draw. I drew the dogs freehand, without much in the way of reference. I also made up whatever figures and elements were missing from my collage. The sketch shown at the bottom below displays the final layout, although I did make some changes to the dogs before I began to ink and color the illustration. I did all of my coloring and painting in Corel Painter 12, primarily using the digital watercolor brushes.
|a second attempt where I've changed|
some of the reference elements
|The scene is starting to come together|
although the foreground is too
crowded, with no room to show the dogs.
|Here I have begun to sketch out the scene based|
on my cut and pasted collage. Some elements,
like the dogs, and some of the faces in the crowd,
I made up without much in the way
of any reference.