Cover page, take #1

47/365

Today I drew my first cover page based on the storyboard I completed yesterday. I got the idea that the cover should show Jimmy Jay standing jauntily next to the chimney he’s going to jump down in the course of the story. I want him to look confident and safe. I want the readers to feel that even though he’s going to do something daring and dangerous, he’s going to be okay in the end.

I first sketched in pencil and was about to ink it when I got the crazy idea that it would be faster to do digitally on my iPad. Wrong! After a few minutes of struggling to find a decent Procreate brush to mimic my ink pens, I realized that I’d been overcome by digital was somehow better and faster than old-fashioned pen and ink. I put on the brakes and ditched the iPad. I pulled out a sheet of tracing paper, inked with a Uni-ball liner, and then scanned it. Ooops! I scanned the wrong side of the paper and got a fuzzy, but appealing, scan with interesting texture and a nice blurry glow.

I’ll do take cover page take #2 tomorrow.

Got to work on the crossed legs…the line of action and the center of gravity don’t work together..

Creating my avatar

Day 2/365 I decided to create an avatar for the social sites I belong to. Since I’m an illustrator, I thought it would be appropriate to draw and paint my avatar rather than just show a photo. I really enjoyed drawing this — playing with ink and paper is simply fun.

The process was to: 1) trace my photo avatar; 2) use the lightbox to transfer the outline to my sketchbook; 3) ink it using my Nikko G nib; 4) watercolor it; 5) the clean it up in photoshop.

This was originally color blue, but it looked too “Blue Man.” Thank you, Photoshop, for providing a nice way to change the color to something less cliché.

Drawing, tracing, lightboxing, inking, and painting

Tracing happily away, unaware that tempestuous watercolor gods are about to teach me a lesson in humility.

Today I decided to try my nib pens. I’ve had them for years and I’ve played with them now and then, made a big mess, and then decided they weren’t for me. But I really love pen and ink drawings, and lately I’ve been obsessed with Hergé and Hal Foster, both supreme masters of the inky line.

I created a pencil drawing, traced it with a liner pen, used the lightbox to then trace it onto some Strathmore Visual Journal bristol vellum paper, the painted it with watercolor. All went well except for the watercolor. I’m a brute with a watercolor brush. When I tried to lift some color using a paper towel, the paper started to disintegrate.

So, the lesson again, is be gentle, patient, and treat your paper kindly.

Keep the washes thin and let them dry completely before glazing another layer. And don’t rub the paper, at least not the Strathmore Visual Journal bristol vellum.