I am very excited to announce that Carlos R Gomez (of Robots-n-Aliens) and I have teamed up to create The Process Projects, a web series that documents the creative process. Each season we will chose one project (a book, a game, board game, animates short, etc) and record the entire process, beginning to end so everyone can follow along, learn, engage, and watch it evolve from initial concept to product in hand.
If you have ever had an interest in creating an illustrated children’s book, illustration in general, writing a story or just learning what the creative process looks like, join us at www.theprocessprojects.net and follow along.
ARR! After many battles, a bad case of scurvy, and a long awaited journey over ragin’ seas, the many boxes of treasure doth arrived at me doorstoop. “Captain and Crow’s ABCs” be available for purchase, mateys! Git Learned!
sketchbookjack.bigcartel.com or sketchbookjack.com
It was a long a trying ride but I had a lot of fun doing it. I’ve learned a lot from the process of making this book, so I can move on to the next project with more insight. I hope it can bring a couple of smiles to faces.
Now is your chance to get a SketchbookJack sketch of you, your mom, your dad, grandma, dog, tea kettle, teddy bear, gold fish, or maybe just leave it up to Jack. This is a rare opportunity to get a custom original for only $25 via the “The Island and the Plough”/”Captain and Crow’s ABCs” book publishing Kickstarter campaign. Not only will you get a custom sketch, but also a PDF version of the book of your choosing. Share the love: http://kck.st/1kDaMZ6
There is big news for SketchbookJack. An interactive iPad ebook app is currently in the works. The first app will be “The Island and the Plough.” All the bold, black and white illustrations will come to life with animations, a narrator, and even an apple-catching mini-game. I don’t want to spoil too much, so stay tuned and I’ll post a few more screenshots.
Poor Leopold Angler, suspended for something he probably didn’t do.
Illustration Friday: “Suspend”
Want to know more about Leopold Angler and his brother? Find out some more here.
In The Night Kitchen
Goodnight, Maurice. Thank you for everything. “I refuse to lie to children.” – Maurice Sendak 1928-2012
Be sure to watch the great interview I posted a little while back.
I have the first actual printed proof of “The Island and the Plough,” on its way to me. I am awaiting eagerly for it to arrive. This puts me ever so close to the finish line for this project. Meanwhile, I also am working with a friend who is a developer to release an App version of the book with some fun interactive tid-bits and animation. I hope to have that out soon after the print release. The above is again, just a nerdy digital book mock up, but I will be able to finally post an actual photo soon!
Tell Them Anything You Want
This is the very early part of the process where I begin designing the characters based off the rough outline I have for the story. I usually write the story in conjunction with the design/illustration phase because they feed off each other so well. The raw idea sometimes comes from an image or a drawing of a single character or it can come from a single sentence, or verbal conceptual idea. The writing then instructs the drawing and the drawing feeds back and instructs the writing. I suppose this is the benefit of being the writer and the illustrator as usually the writing is completed and illustrations are filled in after the fact; however, this can pose a challenge as well being that the writing is not in stone and allows for much variation and meandering. I think the visual aspect of illustrated stories (hence being illustrated and not novels or short stories) plays a stronger role than many give it credit and needs to inform the very construction of the story.
Here are the first few pages of the Captain character. Like I said in my previous post, this story has some of the same themes as “The Island and the Plough.” The main characters are going through a similar sort of learning, exploring the world around them, but yet have a bit more wisdom than the naysayer villagers. That said, he needs to be reminiscent of a boat captain, but not too stereotyped. He also needs to seem wise, but eager to learn anew as well. He is not hardened by the bitter landscape or the cynical villagers so his face needs to be somewhat kind. I fear already that he begins to look much like the character from “The Island and the Plough” so it may be that the beard needs to go. This is one of the most fun parts of the design phase, but can also be fairly frustrating. These are just four of the twenty plus character pages I have done for him. If the “what I think I want” phase does not work, then I often go in a radically different direction, maybe tall and thin, or short and beardless, perhaps younger even and begin to veer far away from what I had originally envisioned. That type of process usually helps to refocus what is working, what is not, to bring a vision of it I may have yet thought of but also help show me from what to stay away.
I will post some concepts of the village and landscape next.
What can I say?
It is your day.
If I could,
I suppose I would,
say it in a special way.
But who can do it better
with each and every letter
the way you say what you say?
Happy birthday to the man,
from all his friends and fans.
Learning and laughter you produce
so thank you, Dr. Seuss.
Madame Lynch appears at the Brigham's front door.
Illustration Friday’s topic popped up as “Fluid” and I immediately thought of a past project I was working on about three years ago. The villains in the story shed off black, inky, fluid as they moved about. Unfortunately, this was one of those projects I just had to let die as, every time I sat down to work on it I drew a blank and struggled endlessly trying to achieve what I wanted. It definitely taught me how to learn to let something die. I have to admit that I really want to complete this project, but am not regretful that I dropped it. It allowed me to clear my head and start over on several other projects since. I still love the story and the concept, so I am sure I will return to it in the future. The manuscript actually came together quite nicely with the exception of one plot hole, as did some of the initial pencils of each page. But, when I sat down to some of the very important page layouts, to finish the ink for each page, or do the final treatments (and this book had a lot of “effects” involved) it just never looked the way I wanted it to and unfortunately the mood and plot of the story relied very heavily on the visuals. I hope to add it back into my queue of projects sometime.
The basic set up for this page is that Benjamin Brigham is a rotter and just a really nasty little child. He plays horribly (really horrible, some times life threatening ;p ) pranks on people, is grouchy and grumpy, and puts up a fight to nearly anything his parents or teachers wish him to do. After being thrown from several schools and scaring away countless nannies and sitters, his parents receive a letter in the mail regarding the most prestigious academy for troubled youth that guarantees perfect results. Madame Lynch, the administrator of the academy has come to collect young Benjamin.