I recently completed this project and was waiting to scan all the pieces in before I could share it. The project is a Birthday gift to Mrs. P. It is rather belated as it took a while to work on. I'll get to why later.
On the eve of Mrs. P's birthday this year, I asked if she would like to select something I've done to get an art print made for her. I had been doing this for close friends and family for a while now and it relieves the stress and pressure of gifts for everyone, at least I think so. However, Mrs. P asked if I could do something custom for her this year, and since Mrs. P is Mrs. P, I could not say no. I was happy to do something special for her. She requested I create something with 2 characters I had sketched/doodled out from my days in college.
They were caricatures of my best friend, Sue (Mrs. P's daughter) and Lew, myself, but as we might have been if we had met as children instead of almost 20 somethings, like what actually happened. Sue and I had dreamed about writing a picture book series outlining a variety of adventures that our 2 characters would go on. Neither of us ever developed these hypothetical stories... yet, so I never really developed any other sketches or fully realized illustrations with either character. They just resided in my "Morgue," which is where all my random doodles and sketches and sketchbooks go to rest in peace, maybe to be exhumed one day for some use... but mostly not. And that is where the childhood likenesses of Sue and Lew lived for many may years, until now. When Mrs. P requested them, I dug them up, bare bones and all. To be honest, it did take me quite a while to locate them. They were loose sketches and those get stored in a series of deep and full plastic bins in a closet, stacked and stacked and buried with so many others.
When I finally unearthed them, I knew it was going to be a long road from digging them out, to the final illustrations. I began by brain storming ideas for ways I could use both characters in a single art piece that would be interesting enough and worthy of their notorious unfulfilled potential. Among a variety of ideas, I was very attracted to keeping them in their winter attire. The sketches were originally produced after a grand conversation of a story that centered around what happens on a snow day. Schools out and there are all kinds of things that they get into. Among a rather precarious indecision over winter hat. So these sketches were based on that particular story, hence their winter wear. Also, I love drawing winter scenes and winter clothing. I'm not so certain of why those things appeal to me so much, but they do. I sometimes come to a conclusion that I most certainly lived in a very cold place that snowed all the time... or at least that's what I like to day dream about.
So, I wanted to keep Sue and Lew in their winter clothes and illustrate something that might have taken place in that book. Again, I'm foggy on the details, but I want to say that I remember a conversation about an epic snowball fight amongst the neighborhood children. Sue is the captain of one team and I the captain of the other. Since I wanted to focus mainly on the two characters Mrs. P requested, I decided it would be best to not include the neighborhood kids or make a reference to any sort of residential area in the illustration. That way it would be what she wanted, mostly. After doodling thumbnail after thumbnail, throwing most of them away, as I usually do, because that's what you do with rubbish... you chuck it and forget about it. lol. When I was an art student at college, one of my favorite professors used to say to us,"You have to get through all the bad drawing, before you can get to the good drawing." It is a very truthful statement, and it has stuck with me all these years.
Daria Model Sheet. MTV Animation Studios.
Hades Model Sheet. Disney Animation Studios
Anyway... moving on...
Ultimately, my goal was to work in a medium I haven't worked with also for several years and I admit, I was getting rusty. I welcomed the opportunity to work with it again. I wanted to make this a watercolor piece augmented with colored pencil, very akin to the Socks Illustration I had done before. I thought that soft bright punchy color and unique texture would be perfect for this project.
Once I had my final sketch I had a really interesting idea to break the single image up into a triptych that could work together or as separate pieces. Once that was ready, I transferred my drawing onto three pieces of watercolor paper and then began the wonderful and relaxing process of painting with watercolors. I always find it relaxing to do and it was a nice break form the digital work that my head lives in most of the time. But watercolor work is a process that takes days sometimes weeks. I was also working on all 3 paintings simultaneously. You have to work on some areas then swap to the next piece, work on similar areas or like areas that use the same colors, then swap to the next piece and do the same... then.... you.... wait... you literally are waiting for paint layers to dry fully before you can add more, as those of you that work with the medium know all too well.
This process goes on and on until you have finished what you are wanting to complete with the paint, then you wait some more for that to dry. I usually wait a day or two before I then begin working with the colored pencil over the paint.
And that is really the process of how these pieces came to be. I hope that you enjoy them as much as Mrs. P will. I bid you all a nice rest of your day and...
Until next time, friends,Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all,
keep making art.