Posts Tagged ‘big bad wolf’

A Peek at My Process: Little Red Riding Hoodie

Filed under: Illustration,Shanda's Journey | September 3, 2012
20120903-140907.jpg

This past weekend I attended my first “Illustrator’s Day” with the Southern Breeze SCBWI illustrators! It was just as amazing, if not better, than the pricier conferences (which are geared mainly to writers) that I go to twice a year. And as you can imagine, this day was geared specifically to illustrators. It was also extremely affordable. Anyway, more about Illustrator’s Day in my next post :)

I was fortunate enough to be one of the first 12 folks to sign up for Illustrator’s Day which qualified me to participate in a month-long mentorship with the amazing illustrator, Michael Austin! (He has a new book coming out soon called “Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg”.)

Michael challenged us 12 with depicting suspicion in the context of one of these three classic stories: Rumpelstiltskin, Three Billy Goats Gruff, or Little Red Riding Hood. We discussed sketches over email and phone calls. Michael Austin truly has a teaching spirit! His emails were very detailed, and he really took his time with each of us. I learned a lot! He says there are three things in which he feels is most important in an illustration: action, emotion, and connectedness.

So here is a series of photos of my work progressing from sketches to a final painting…

20120903-141004.jpg
These thumbnail sketches let me explore my options a bit. To see what floated my boat.

 

20120903-141058.jpg
I took to this one right away. Something about that curtain was very suspicious to me- which was the goal!

 

20120903-141116.jpg
I developed the sketch more so I could send it to Michael and he would have a clear idea of what I was going for. This sketch still has Red in her classic hooded garb.

 

20120903-141129.jpg
I was growing tired of Red Riding Hood cloak imagery, so I tried a hoodie instead. Michael challenged me to enhance the action and emotion. So, I let her hand reach to touch the wolf’s feet and she looks more scared. The wolf’s feet are about to pounce too. I also added glasses to Red. Michael brought up the question: why can’t Red tell this isn’t her granny until it’s too late?

 

20120903-141149.jpg
At this point I just jump in. For some reason, I have the urge to paint on wood lately, so I did :) This sketch really got me excited. In some ways I like Red’s face and expression in this sketch better than in the final piece, but sometimes you just have to move along. And since I’m not a digital painter, I can’t just go back. What’s done is done for the most part. The mouth, eyes, glasses, and gesture in general is strongest here, but I’m still happy with my finished piece.

 

20120903-141207.jpg
I start adding paint. Unfortunately, things start looking a bit stiff here. And she starts to look older again after I had finally gotten her to look younger in the sketch above. The work sat like this for two days, and it itched at me bad- all I could think about was how I could “fix it”.

 

20120903-141230.jpg
Finally I got some time to myself again to paint. I was happy when I got it to this point. I think she looks younger again. And I was loving the purple drape!

 

20120903-141249.jpg
This is a big jump in the process, but when you get on a roll you just have to go with it. I’m especially proud of the way the background turned out. I tend to avoid backgrounds so this was a huge leap for me to do one effectively that didn’t compete with my foreground images. Tints and shades. Tints and shades.

 

20120903-141304.jpg
On the last day, I pump up the contrast in several areas such as the hands, hair, and basket. I also completed the newspaper and made the wolf’s head’s shadow more transparent and a different shape.

So there you have it! I think it turned out pretty fun! This piece is a little more child accessible than some of my other work. I’m definitely evolving, growing, learning. ┬áIf you have a chance I’d love to hear what you think!

 

Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author