Visited a little cafe today in Inverness called 'Velocity'. It is a joint bike workshop and cafe and although I am not a cyclist the quirky cycling related decoration and knick knacks throughout the cafe area were eye catching and different. It had this interesting little sculpture.
I'm currently working on another Jack Reusen book illustration which is taking up almost every available minute. The title of the book is "Jack Reusen and the Fey Flame". I cannot post any pics as it is all top secret, but delighted to have completed the front cover and spine artwork this afternoon. All that remains is the back cover to be completed.
When I use watercolours I like to test my colours before I start a 'finished' piece of work. I tend to let the colour blend and see how far I can push it with water and how well it responds to the paper. I work with some round colour mixing palettes (The Works is a great place to pick up these cheaply). My brushes are Daler Rowney and I try and buy the best brushes that I can afford. I prefer to paint with flat brushes. I don't always use watercolour paper and often experiment with off cuts and scraps from other projects.
The back cover illustration was created to carry through the space theme, whilst also allowing large portions of the design to have text added for the blurb and barcode.
The process in pictures for the front cover...
Initial pencil rough based on John's initial concept. The figure needed adjustment as he was too small.
The readjusted rough.
John was happy with the adjustmests made on the figure, so work commenced on the front cover artwork.
The cover was based upon the night sky so it was important to add the suggestion of darkness without being scary. I used a variety of blue acrylics, with the transparency being altered towards the focal point of the cover to enable the main artwork to stand out.
With my base colour now in place, I started to work on the main feature. Knowing the colour I was superimposing the figure upon, I was able to continually check and alter the contrast.
Simultaneously painting the figure with the background I began to experiment with imagery to suggest space. John had been clear in his brief that he wanted the character to be looking out from a window into a space like world.
Using intensive pigment watercolours I created a dappled effect, allowing the merging and blending of colours, whilst embracing patterns and shapes created by the organic nature of watercolours. The planets were created in the same way, whilst juxtaposing found surface textures from magazines.
The form of the window was created, simplistic curtains blowing in the wind and the figure were now combined. Creating illustrations is based upon dialogue with the client and throughout the process John was approving each stage. At this stage I was feeling the need to create further interest and contrast between the figure and background. I didn't feel there was enough interest in the background and subsequently not enough contrast.
With the addition of colour and texture on the base background I began to feel there was an enhanced suggestion of space. This stage then led me to trying out ideas for text and composition.
There are times in an illustrators life when projects take your eye and catch your imagination.
Jack Reusen is one of these projects.
John (the author) and I went to school together, although I was considerably many years above him!
I was notified that John was looking for an illustrator to create the cover for his second children's book "Jack Reusen and the Spark of Dreams". Many of my friends children are avid readers of the first book so it was also of local interest to me.
The book is now available on Amazon as an e-book and the hard copy will be published in the forthcoming weeks.