October 10, 2011

The tree of imagination

I walked out of the studio today, proud of how far I've gotten so far on my concept for a Children's book cover. There is still more to do, but first I need more input from the author, Clorinda.

What are your thoughts Clorinda? 

click on the image to see it larger

Ideas: I might put in the characters in a variety of ways, there is this little dragon guy named flint that could sit atop the stone or put the evil character 'Count Palavar' could be perched on it.  The little girl, Eleanor,  can be climbing the hill to the right toward the tree or actually up in the tree. I can also put a glow on the stone, I'm visioning purple or magenta to enhance the mystical spell that is cast upon it. I also want to add some large mushrooms to the foreground.  The more I think about it the more great ideas that come to mind ;)

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The first step was priming the birch panel with clear acrylic primer, 2 coats with sanding of 150- 220 grit sandpaper between each layer. I left some texture to grab onto the paint.  Then I used charcoal to sketch out the main structure of the tree. The drawing was sprayed with workable fixative before applying paint.


The next step was to block in the main areas of color, starting with the background sky. I wanted the piece to have some life and flow like the wind was blowing, and that kind of whimsical energy seen in a Van Gogh painting.  My intention is to have leaves blowing off the tree like they do in fall.


The sky is in and I've roughly blocked int he darks of the soil. I usually start with the darks and shadows because the opacity of these tones is less that the brighter colors mixed with white that will sit on top. I left the tree and some leaf areas bare, you can still see the birch panel.


I know it's a big jump, from the previous image to this one, but I worked for many hours in the studio on this day. I didn't take a photo of the stage between the start of the day and the end. But you can see, I have painted in the high lights an texture of the trunk, the many details of the ground from grasses and moss to fallen leaves and a magical s Stone of Amajara, in which the character in the story must find on her journey. I had to take a step back at this point and let my eyes and hands rest. I tried to paint the owl character twice but couldn't get it right, it was 2:30 am and I needed to hit the sheets.


Upon waking, I saw how the next part could come together. I was so excited, I woke up early and raced to the studio to get back to work.  My concept is developing and as you can see I have blocked in the owl.  He is going to have a bright yellow beak, brown body, a downy white head and a peculiar feather sticking straight up out of his head. My idea is to have the tree slowly dying from the top and the leaves turning brown and falling.  This will make it feel much more dark and ominous. There will be a visual transition from night above to day below as there will be from winter and death of the tree to fall colors and spring below. It is a metaphor for the journey the main character must as she encounters the conflicts on her adventure to save the 'Maginaries' world. I plan to work on the moon a bit more and add the lighting effects and shadows. I have left plenty of room above and below the tree for the title to be placed digitally.

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