I met Ethan Long, accomplished children’s book writer and illustrator, yesterday and he graciously accepted to look at a few of my previous dummy books. It was a hard and honest critique, of which I was extremely grateful. Good critique from seasoned industry professionals are very hard to come by. He said he liked my sketch work but not the paintings so much. The books he reviewed were early works so perhaps my new work has evolved to a point that my new paintings are where they need to be. It did make me a little nervous, wondering if I am on the right track with this book. It is quite an undertaking. I’d hate to think that 8 months of work are moving in the wrong direction. Still, I have committed to it and I hate to have an unfinished project so I will press on.
Here is the illustrated page 13, a cleaned up version of the thumbnail that I will re-work in charcoal on the canvas. This is the last painting for my show. From here out I am thinking I will work on all the pieces at the same time. I will do all the cleaned up illustrations, then all the charcoal too the canvasm then all the painting. If it weren’t for the art show and wanting to get some pieces out there in front of people, this is how I would have worked from the start.
I finally finished the page 15 painting, or at least got it where I want it for the time being (are these things ever really done?) It took me a little while with many comparisons to the cover illustration to get the color where I wanted it. I’m almost hoping I don’t sell these at the September show so I have something to compare the later ones to.
I finished the charcoals of my page 15 last night, the scene where Ruby June finds the Voice of the Sea. Or at least I think I finished them. I kept stepping back and wondering if it was where I wanted it. At the time it was but I find it always better to sleep on it and come back with fresh eyes before commiting to spray fixing. It was close enough that I could scan it and start work on digital color studies.
I’m starting work on page 15. I felt pretty confident in that composition and thought it would make another good stand-alone piece for the September gallery show I’m doing at the City Arts Factory in downtown Orlando. It was a choice between this one and page 13 (I just liked the look of those deep ones.) In the end, this one one out for the next piece. Here is the gridded off refined thumbnail… which is more of an illustration at this point. Later today I’ll start work on the charcoals.
I finally got around to fixing the few thumbnails that were bothering me and I managed to lose 1 and keep the story pretty cohesive in the stand-alone visual read. I wish I could lose more visual pages as the fewer pages the more cost effective the book will be… not that I want to skimp on the visuals. If I thought people would shell out for it, I’d make the book HUGE! Anyway, here are the revised thumbs… not too different. I think I can move forward now and be happy.
It took a while but I finally knocked out a set of thumbnails I’m happy with. The only problem now is figuring out which are absolutely necessary and how to divide up the accompanying text. I’d like to bring the page count down to 12 spreads but I know that isn’t going to work for me so I’ll content myself with as close to 12 as I can get and still live with myself. Here is the thumbnail sheet of all the spreads I have to choose from.