In part one of this post, I talked about creating the art for Miss Brooks Story Nook (where tales are told and ogres are welcome),written by Barbara Bottner, beginning with the sketches and how they build from the very first loose drawings done directly on the text layouts, up to the final pencil line drawings. Below have a look at the final line drawings pinned up in the studio. The room I am renting at the moment is quite small so I must clip them up on a rack I made so I can see them all at once. It’s important to be able to see the whole book at once to see what may be missing or not up to snuff. And when the painting begins it’s important because I work a little bit at a time from one drawing to another. More about that later… the two color illustrations you can see are test images to show the publisher the look of the final art.
As you can see, I do all the final line drawing at once, before beginning the color painting. One big reason to do this is to try and have the the line work look as consistent as possible throughout the book. Believe it or not, I can draw slightly differently from week to week, day to day, maybe even hour to hour.
Below is the final pencil line art for the spread I talked about in Part One of this blog. I used a 5mm mechanical pencil in a B grade (I think), on cold press Arches 90lb watercolor paper. I use Arches as it’s readily available and there’s nothing worse than running out of paper mid job. The thin 90lb paper is because I use a light table to draw the final art from sketches.
As you’ll see later, the bottom illustration is final, but the top image will change before the book is published. Both Missy and Billy will be replaced by new drawings.
Below is the final pencil line art for the right hand page of this spread. It does not change. You can see I’m labeling the art, Miss Brooks Book Nook, not the final title, Miss Brooks Story Nook, but it was the working title I liked best so it was the only one I could remember.
In part one I followed one spread, the climax of the story, from sketches to final pencil art, in which the main character, Missy, confronts her nemesis, Billy, giving him a serious stare-down with her “snake-eye” look.
Above is the art for this spread pinned up on the wall. Notice the two smaller drawings clipped to the page at left. I mentioned I made a late change to the art? Two things bugged me: one was that long coat – I loved it, but decided it was more consistent to have her wear her easily identifiable blue overalls – and I thought Billy should be showing more of how crazy he was.
Here is Crazy Billy close-up.(above) He looked a bit angry before, which he is, but his madness I thought was a better way to play the scene. I’m so glad I did make the change. I love “crazy Billy”. Look at him – he’s crazy!
Above are the two Missy drawings side by side. Right is the new/final one. Like the coat on left but decided on keeping her outfit consistent.
These (above) are sketches I had done to further explore Missy’s “snake eye” smack down with a wild snake scarf. They were put aside when I created the animated sequence on the right hand page. (Can you see the little black arrows above? I use these all the time as a note to my self indicating which sketches on the page I like and want to remember.)
Above is a close-up of the drawing I liked the most. You’ll see later in the third and final part of this blog – Miss Brooks Story Nook, Part three – The Color Art – this particular drawing, and the one of Billy, are not wasted. Due to another late text change, they end up being used, almost untouched, for the new climax scene following the snake-eye spread.
More on the art for this book: Miss Brooks Story Nook – book page.