Cut and Paste:
In 2015 and early 2016 many of my characters were drawn with various graphite pencils and ink washes, often in an experimental mindset, then pasted into backgrounds, and colorized with digital software. A sketch from one sketchbook or year might be combined with other "body parts" or "accoutrements" from other years and the result was rather "frankenstein-ish". I was called out on this during my 2015 portfolio critique with Lauren Rille at the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles. First time I had ever been busted for what I knew was sloppy process, but she was completely right in her assessment.
Getting Closer Back to One Sheet of Paper:
In my defense I could say I was spoiled by digital process back in the 90s with the "I can fix anything mindset", but I know better. But I can say returning to the tension that accompanied final production of my designs and illustrations for 20 plus years has required a mind map "reset".
By the close of 2016 I was drawing illustrations as one whole composition on one sheet of paper, drawn in one or two consecutive sessions, after working out the composition and characters, instead of relying on software to "cut and paste" bits and pieces together. The results are illustrations that look more cohesive, and characters that match each other and their backgrounds, plus I have originals now!
I can now say all of the backgrounds created in late 2016 are one single image and the same for the characters. As I have grown more comfortable with the idea of returning to those days when a mistake meant starting over again, I am infinitely more pleased with my work, and enjoying the process more. Next step. . . backgrounds and characters together on one sheet.
Not because I have to, but because I want to, because I want to have complete originals again, something for my sons to inherit, not folders of bits and pieces of tracing paper I have scanned into software and painted with 1s and 0s.
Long Thoughts =
Observations, Step by Step PDFs, General Pontifications.
What's cookin' in the
To Short Thoughts