Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pen and Ink - Digital Style Part 5, Reunion with Cooroo

November 15th will be the first year anniversary of starting this blog, and this post, that you're now reading, happens to be my 90th entry. When I started it, I had no idea whether or not I'd be able to keep it going or if I'd be able to find enough to write about. Participating in the "Illustration Friday" challenges has provided me with quite a few entries and for the rest I've either written about favorite children's book illustrators or posted examples of my own work. This will be another of those posts featuring one of my new pieces, with information on how I developed the piece.

For those of you who've been following this blog, you may remember my previous entries where I've featured some digital pen and ink work that I did based on my interpretations of scenes from the children's book "The Hounds of the Morrigan," by Pat O'Shea.

The scene that I chose for this illustration comes toward the end of the book, when the children are reunited with the fox Cooroo, who helped them in their adventures, only now they have to win Cooroo's trust back, since after their return from the land of fairy, he no longer remembers them. Here is the passage from the book: "And from time to time they would both meet a dog-fox; the same one every time, they were sure. He would stand and let them come quite close before walking away. They knew that he was not afraid of them at all. Every now and then he would stand still for a long time, and they would all three look at each other with puzzlement and affection and feelings of knowing that could not be explained by the children. If ever they went on a picnic, he would appear. They would throw food near him which he accepted and ate with perfect ease. On winter days, they particularly went for his sake and he was always waiting for them. In time, to their delight, they found that he trusted them enough to eat the food from their hands and even let Brigit stroke him."

Here is an early stage of the image where you can see the layer with the digital pencil sketch. I've also begun to ink in one tree, which I had on its own separate layer. The great thing about working digitally is that you can have different elements of the drawing on their own layers, which makes it very easy to move them around. In this case, I eventually ended up reversing this tree by horizontally flipping it and then decided to move it to the right side of the image.

Here you can see the tree in its new position on the right side of the image. I have also added a stone wall, and in the sky, a sun and some clouds. Plus, I moved the fox a little closer to the children and added another tree on the left.

In this image, I've inked in the outlines for the children and the fox and continued adding some detail to the background.

In this image, you can see that I have begun to ink in the fox's fur.
I decided to add in some very dark shading to make the two children and the fox stand out. I've also added another group of trees on the left and some grasses. Up until this point, I had worked on the drawing every day for almost a week. I had begun to get a little tired of making all of those small cross-hatching lines and was starting to get discouraged about the overall look. Because of this, I decided to put it aside for a couple of weeks. I finally went back to it yesterday. Once I managed to get into a good rhythm, I was able to finish it fairly quickly.

Originally, I intended to have this scene take place on a bright sunny day, but as I continued to ink it, it began to look more like a moonlit night. I think that was due in part to the rings I had drawn around the sun. I also had very little shading on the trees on the far horizon. This made them look like they were being lit by the moon. By adding more shading to the sky and the distant trees and eliminating some of the darkest shadows on the figures (especially on the girl), I think it now looks like a partly cloudy day time scene, which I think I like better. 

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