Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Illustration Friday - Ahead

This week's Illustration Friday word was "Ahead." The first thing that came to my mind was someone on a journey, not knowing what was around the bend, what was ahead of them.  But the word could also be used in the context of someone who is ambitious or striving, someone who wants to get ahead.  I decided to go with something along the lines of my first idea.  A dark, mysterious forest came to mind next.  From there I thought of a boy out walking his dog, the dog has gotten ahead of him and is about to enter the mysterious forest.  The boy doesn't know what lies ahead, but he's worried that his dog is about to disappear (Click the image to enlarge it).

I started this illustration as I usually do, with a sketch.  As I sketched, I found myself spending so much time working on the trees and the forest that I began to worry that I might not be able to do them justice when it came time to painting them.  That's when I decided to do the whole thing in black and white as a digital pencil drawing.  I rarely work in black and white, so I thought of this as a challenge.  I spent a lot of time trying to get the boy and the dog right.  I drew at least three different heads and countless expressions for the boy until I finally came up with one that I was satisfied with.  For the dog, I originally had made up something out of my head but there was something that just didn't seem quite right about the pose.  Finally, after reworking it over and over, and still not being satisfied, I decided to reference a photo of my dog Lucy who died three years ago.  She was part Australian Shepherd and loved to run into our nearby forest. It became much easier when I found a photo of her with a pose similar to what I was aiming for. So this is my tribute to Lucy and the many times I chased after her into the woods.

I tried to convey a sense of mystery in this drawing and some dramatic tension, I hope I succeeded.


  1. Vincent this is wonderful, the black and white is just stunning and I like all of the personal details you added.
    The forest is totally enticing and I love the sparkly lights coming from there.

  2. Thanks Amy, I appreciate the kind words and the feedback.

  3. this is great Vincent, very nicely done

  4. It's the Raggedy Ann forest... very effective :)

  5. Hello Vincent, this piece is magical! Black and white is not an easy thing to work into and I think you did brilliantly with this. The balance between background and details is something I always find tricky to do, but looks like you really nailed it here too! :)