First of all, let me begin this post by giving a shout out to all my classmates at Lilla Rogers School. Seriously, this past week has been a huge challenge for a lot of us, but you all worked so hard like a champion, and I am so humbled browsing all the works that you did. You guys ROCK!!! :)
So without further due, let me show you what I did this week. For the third week at school, Lilla covered this market:
This is a market a lot of illustrators are either very interested in, or are really intimidated by. I have done a few books for Hallmark, but those are all in-house jobs and I don't really have a lot of external experience in this market, so I am just as anxious as a lot of people in the class about this week's assignment. But as you've already known from my past posts, Lilla gives us a mini exercise on each Monday to ease us into the actual assignment given on Wednesday, and on this past Monday, we were told to draw snails. Yes, snails. I am sure a lot of us were expecting to be asked to draw something like bears, pigs, kids... after all, it's for children's books, but I don't think any of us was expecting to be drawing snails. But that's what's so great about this little exercise. A snail is not that hard to draw, comparing to most animals, plus they have no arms or legs, so it's a bit more challenging to show their characters and emotions.
So as usual, we were encouraged to draw as many snails as we could between Monday and Wednesday, without worrying about the actual homework. We were also asked to do some hand lettering for this phrase: "The Snail and the Rose Tree". Here are my unedited snail doodles. The first one are pencil sketches, and the second one were done with a brush tip pen.
After I was done with all the snail doodles, I picked my favorite little guy and sent him in Photoshop for a quick study in styling and coloring. I also did the hand lettering on the phrase, so I put them together and pretended I was making a book cover, just to see how it might look like.
(Did you notice the water color texture I used on the snail's body and in the tree? It was from the watercolor experiment I did last week. See, nothing gets wasted.)
So, Wednesday came, and lo and behold, what was the assignment? You guessed it! The assignment was to do either a book cover or a double-page spread for a story titled "The Snail and the Rose Tree". Yay, right? But wait, here is the curve ball: it's an actual fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, and it's not a happy story at all! (If you are so inclined to read the story, here it is.) I actually really love the story after reading it, but none of my happy little smiley snail doodles would work for the assignment now. I still thought parts of my book cover sketch could work, however it definitely needed some tweaking to fit the darker mood of the story.
Looked like a simple tweak, but it took me two nights of work to get it right. I went back and forth between a green background and a red background, and finally settled with the red one. After I submitted this one to our class's Flickr pool, I wanted to do another one that's a little more lighthearted. I did a quick rough sketch to show my classmates to see what they think, and they liked it. Here are the rough sketch and the finished piece.
This second version took me even longer than my first one; there were a lot of back and forth in editing, changing colors, and styling of the tree. I also had the hardest time making decision on which one to submit as my final. My designer self likes the first red cover I did, but my illustrator self would rather be doing a whole book in the style of my second cover, so that tells me something. At the end, I made the switch and chose my second cover as my final piece, and I am really happy about it.
Man, that was a long post, isn't it? I hope I haven't lost your interest. If you would like to see other beautiful covers or spreads done by my fabulous classmates, I have picked some of my favorite ones and they are under my Flickr's Favorites. Go browse and be wowed. Enjoy! :)