This might seem like a bad day to be drawing babies (before we inaugurate one tomorrow), but doing some studies for the “reverse shot” from the moon: the babies’ reactions. Â Lots of sketches, trying to work out the composition, and, importantly, that reaching gesture. Â And the facial expression.
I’ve fallen off the “post every day” wagon this week, so here’s the work I did for this story over several days:
Continuing to work on the moon images for this sequence, as the clouds move over it, and the face is revealed. Â I had penciled the final image (page 7, if the current layout holds), but I went back to work out the previous two (mostly so that I could have the cloud shapes consistent). Â These are all done with black, white and gray acrylic paint, and conte crayon for the clouds. Â A first try at page 5:
I decided to reject this, because I wanted more clouds in the frame. Â Next try:
This (above) is after touch-ups in Photoshop, to darken the black and flatten out the texture of the black acrylic, as well as the warps in the page, which showed up clearly in the scan (as you can see in the top image).
I decided that the eye and smile were too pronounced here (spoiling the impact of the “reveal” on the next page. Â So I went back in with white acrylic and obscured them a bit:
With these done, I went back to ink the final image of the sequence:
Over the next few days (the holiday weekend), I only managed a couple scribbled sketches. Â Since I decided to draw the baby reaching for the moon (literally), after the face appears, I had a new idea for a final page of the sequence, baby’s point-of-view with her hand in the foreground. Â Here is scribble of it, with some scribbled thumbnails next to it as a bonus:
I’m thinking that image might work better without the architecture between hand and moon, just black.
Then, unable to sleep one night, I did a few more sketches, some in preparation for finishing up this baby/moon scene, others in anticipation of the next scene to come. Â This is all quick and dirty, but I’m being a stickler for completism — and also, these little scribbly sketches are an important part of the process. Â So:
Preparing to draw what (I think) will be page 7. Â I don’t really know for sure how the pages will be ordered: though I have a plan, it might very well not hold. Since it’s one image per page, I think there will be a process much like film editing, where I have the “shots” and can play with different ways of ordering them.
Anyway, I felt a little uncertain of some of the perspective (though I’ve drawn this same scene several times by now), so I did a free-hand perspective sketch of the location:
The part I’m finding tricky for some reason are those brick things that slant down the roof from each chimney. Â But I think I have it, more or less, so here is the penciled drawing for page 7:
That’s all, folks (for today)!
Still playing catch-up, in a way, after the 3 month layoff. Â I’ve done pages of moon studies before. Â But now I am a little more purposeful, because these studies are for pages I am actually about to draw: the gradual appearance of the face in the moon. Â This page of sketches is not in the correct sequence. Â I also took the opportunity to use black acrylic instead of India ink for the night sky. Â I think I like the texture of it.
It won’t be a strip like that in the final — though looking at it makes me consider whether it should be. Â I’ll draw the final versions now, taking a little more care with the placement of the clouds, and making their shapes more consistent. Â And lighten up those craters a bit, next pass. Â Of
Completed the new version of page 4, with a more dramatic angle to the roof, and a bigger moon for more “presence” (the page, and the story, are about the moon, not the building, after all). Â I used acrylic paint for the building and the moon, conte crayon for the clouds, and India ink for the sky. Â Here it is, the raw scan above, and with photoshop touchups below:
In Photoshop I darkened the black of the sky, then added more contrast in the roof, and lightened up the craters in the moon a bit. Â It ended up looking like this:
Here, by the way (below), is the earlier version of the page, for compare and contrast. An improvement, I’m pretty sure (though I kind of like the big cloud in the older version better than in the new. Â Oh well.)
One thing or another led to another hiatus on this project — 3 months, this time. Â MICE 2016, plus a big teaching job I had to prepare for in December, and travels. Â Gingerly feeling my way back into the process here: going over old thumbnails and trying to remember which version I liked best. Â It’s nerve-wracking to try and re-orient oneself in a project after this much time, so I am wrestling with a bit of anxiety. Â A few loose character sketches, and then a couple of pencil version of page 4, which I had decided needed re-doing. Â Happily, I now feel ready to proceed:
My first pass at page 4 was acceptable as a drawing, but I felt it lacked the drama I want for the sequence. Â So I’m planning to force the perspective more, to feel the baby’ point-of-view, looking up… Â and enlarge the moon. Â Tried some little thumbnails:
But I really get a better idea by messing around with the actual image in photoshop, skewing the buildings and enlarging the moon. Â Here;s a comparison of the two versions:
The chimneys are kind of messed up now, and the perspective isn’t exactly what it should be, and I think I won’t have the cloud overlapping the chimney like that… but compared side-by-side, I think the new way is better, much more dramatic. Â So I will re-draw it with that composition!
“Inking” with black, white and gray acrylic. Â Plus a little charcoal pencil.
A little white goache for the smoke… and done!
Well, I worry that I may have overworked the bricks and roof… so much patterning it looks like it has some kind of pox. Â Not sure about that. Â But I do start to feel like it, while the picture is fine on its own, it doesn’t have the impact I want. Â I want to try it with a more forced angle and make the moon bigger, so you really feel it LOOMING over you (from the baby’s POV).
So… final version? Â I don’t think so!!
It’s going to take me a while to make any progress though… other deadlines are really starting to get gnarly.