Monday, May 07, 2012

Far Far From Home

Far Far From Home- a tiny little bug!

I’ve been quiet on the blog front because I’ve been using what beloved NZ writer for children and teens Fleur Beale calls ‘bum glue’. This is what you need as a freelancer to keep you stuck at your desk until the job is done. And the job in question has been illustrations for a new picture book by Elizabeth Pulford, called ‘Far, Far from Home’published by Scholastic. It’s a delightful story about a very tired little bug trying to get home to his family. And the glue worked- I’ve finished the body of the book (just the cover to go).

For this project I’ve tried a new approach- one I learned largely from my time as a costume illustrator on The Hobbit movie. I have drawn the line work with pencil on tracing paper. It gives a nice quality to the sketches I’ve found, then scanned them and imported them into Photoshop. Then I created textures using paper and paint and scanned them in too- plus a few nice handmade papers I found at Gordon Harris my favourite art supply store. The next step was to digitally clip the textures into the sketches. This takes much time using many layers. Think of it as collage, but on screen. Instead of cutting out bits of paper, you cut out bits of scanned paper and ‘glue’ them down with pixels. Digital illustration is no faster than traditional ‘hard’ media (unless you are using oil paint which takes some time to dry!) But it’s so much fun and allows for lots of depth and luminosity that I knew I couldn’t achieve in wet media (paint). Plus if you don’t like where you put a tree- you can move it!

In my next post I’ll tell you how I created the character for the little bug. Those who follow me on facebook, you’ll have seen a little of this process. But this time I’ll show my early working drawings as well.
The illustrations are now with Vida Kelly the book designer who gave me invaluable art direction. Once again, as with The Red Poppy, I have had the fabulous experience of working closely with the designer to create something really gorgeous.The pic I've posted here is just little taster of the book to come, but to see the whole'll just have to go to a bookshop when it's out!

1 comment:

Mary McCallum said...

Fifi - thank you that! How interesting - when you said to me you did it digitally I had no idea what was involved - fascinating....