18 November 1999

Atypical Style Experiments

Watercolor and colored pencil were the tools of choice for this history assignment on the Pan-Africa movement for a children's magazine client in November. The above illustration turned out much nicer than the accompanying two page spread pictured below for the same article.

I used a similar style, but much heavier on the colored pencil details, for this 'puzzle page' assignment set in 'Neptune's Castle' for the same client this month. (pictured above)

I took an unusual approach to my routine scratchboard style for a black and white assignment that I had for a children's fiction digest this month. I wanted to convey a dreamy surreal atmosphere and capture the fog shrouded mountains of the story, so I used a graduated watercolor wash for the background, and then cut my scratchboard lines out of the background tones, then went back with another layer of watercolors after the fact. An interesting experiment, but I had mixed feelings about how it turned out, and rarely went back to this approach in future assignments. In the original, the top of the illustration on the left continued across the top of the page, with more sun and clouds that went behind the title and author for the short story, but I've cropped the image to better fit this blog page layout.

Also this month, for the same client, I had another trio of illustrations for a different short story in the same issue. They wanted a slightly different style for this one, so I tried something kind of new, using a rough sketchy pastel approach, a bit different than my usual approach to this medium, which is to build up the image using a lot of sketchy parallel lines. I chose a 'grainy paper' pattern and let the materials and the paper grain build the lights and darks. This story was about a friendship between a couple girls 'from different sides of the railroad tracks' who meet at a menial summer job. I wasn't too crazy with this style and didn't go back to it again, other than a few more times.

One of those 'other times' that I returned to this style, was the same month, where I had an illustration assignment for a jesuit publication regarding 'women in the priesthood'. I think this one turned out a little better than the fiction assignment above (less grain in the paper I think for this one).

And finally, this month, I had an illustration for the 'lifestyle section' of an east coast newspaper. I don't remember the story behind this illustration, but I once again tried for a 'painterly' effect, using the oil pastel tools in my software package.

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