Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Illustration Friday - Diary

I'm a little late with this week's 'Illustration Friday' challenge. I was on a road trip in southern Wisconsin with my partner when I received the email with this week's word, which is "Diary."  I was so busy traveling and sight-seeing that I didn't have time to do any sketching until I got home, but each night before I went to sleep, I mentally thought out my image.  I knew from the beginning that I didn't want to draw a representation of someone writing in a diary, so instead I decided to go with a scene of someone discovering a diary. As soon as I decided this, I also decided that I would use a character that I created a few months ago for an illustration that I did for my portfolio. That illustration depicted a boy in a haunted house, who discovers a strange ghostly creature is watching him from a darkened doorway. I started to think of this diary image as a sort of prequel to my haunted house image. Because of that, I wanted to make it atmospheric and have it dramatically lit. I hope I succeeded.

I started off by doing a quick sketch in my sketchbook. Sometimes, I'll scan my sketch and work directly from that, but this time, I drew a new digital sketch using Corel Painter XI. Here is the sketch from my sketchbook and below that is a screenshot where you can see my new digital sketch.

In the digital sketch, I used various conte brushes to add some shading and to start determining where some of the dark shadows will be. If you compare this sketch to the one from my sketchbook, you'll notice that I've opened up the space a bit.

In the next screen shot, I've started to block in some background colors, mostly tans, and shades of brown.

Here you can see that I have most of the colors blocked in. In this screen shot I've turned off the sketch layer and the layer with the conte shading.

In the next shot, you can see what the same image looks like with the sketch layer turned back on.

Below that, is a screen shot where the layer with the dark conte shading has been turned back on.

In the last screen shot, you can see a close-up of where I'm adding some details, in this case, some spider webs.  The drawing of the woman in the framed picture is based on an old photograph of my grandmother. She was 40 when my dad was born in 1918, so if she were still alive, she'd be 132!


  1. I really like your illustration and to see your process. It's a great set up for a story too. If I ever came across such a find in an old attic I would be thrilled!

  2. It's always a treat to discover an illustration along with detailed stages of its development. The finished picture takes me back to days spent exploring in my grandparents' attic- No diaries, but plenty of other treasures were found to spark my imagination! Thanks for posting this! :o)

  3. great,
    love how you show the whole process :)

  4. oh, I really like this one Vincent, great work, I love how you are showing your progression and process.