Ready for a challenge. drawing the background on the deer picture in Enchanted Forest had left me itching to create my own art. What better book to use than Kerby Rosanes’ Animorphia. Many of the pages in this wonderful invite you to add your own doodles to Kerby’s picture but I wanted to do more than just little doodles. So I choose a page that would give me more room for something a little more creative. I was also in the mood to colour in with my favourite colours… teals, blues and greens. The waves would be perfect! Below is an image of how the picture I’ve dubbed ‘Wave Ponies’ appears in Animorphia. As you can see one side of the double spreed is complete with kerby’s distinctive style. The other side is blank apart from the shape of the waves and the froth/plume on their leading edges. (‘Skegs’, Aussie for surfers, might know the more technical names.) Lots of potential in this picture for arty fun.
For the first ten minutes or so I stared at the blank spaces mentally trying to ‘jigsaw’ in a number of ideas for the characters i was planning to inhabit them. I wanted to continue the theme of a mass of living things crammed in together gradually getting larger as we headed to the far right of the page. I knew I wanted more ponies and variety of sea life along with a few originally created fantastic creatures. I knew from the start that I didn’t want to emulate Kerby’s style. Rather I wanted to tweak my own style so that it would marry almost seamlessly with his. When some of my mental jigsaw pieces started to fall into place I picked up my non-photo blue sketcher pencil and began to rough out their design. When i was satisfied with the basic shapes I refined the sketches with a graphite pencil. When I was happy with the detail I went in with my Unipin 0.2 and 0.1 sized fineliners to finalise the artwork. I worked in batches completing one area at a time. I also added the texture and shading to the waves following Kerby’s style.
The above picture shows both the blue rough sketch and the beginning of the graphite refining stage as well as completed sections. I moved about the page doing the sections i had the strongest feelings for, leaving the sections I was less certain about til last so that i could balance their content with the rest of the picture. I erased the pencils lines as I completed each section.
After completing the line art I went through and erased most of the pencil lines. I didn’t get too fussy as I found that erasing also affected the line art lightening it so that i was forced to go over many of the lines to get them nice and black again. I’m not sure why this happened as I haven’t experienced this issue with my pens on other types of paper.
Looking at the work I feel that I have accomplished what I set out to do… that is match my style with Kerby’s to create a collaborative piece that works. Now for the colours.
I started by looking up pictures of waves to find the sort of colours that I thought would work. I wanted more yellowy greens to give me some play time with an interesting but still wavelike colour gradient. I decided on the outset to use budget priced pencils. I have been doing a lot of art with high end pencils and it is fairly easy to achieve great results easily with them. But I wanted to push my cheaper pencils to see just how much I could get out of them. I coloured these waves with seven different shades selected from my Micador ColouRush, Fun Stuff, Faber Castell Classics and my new Colleen pencils. I decided that the ponies would be part of the water given form and life so they would be white with blue shadowing and the manes and tails would match the water.
With the waves completed I concentrated on finishing Kerby’s half of the picture. As I completed this in several different locations I decided to put my other pencils away and stick with just the Colleens. The pencils gave me 60 colours for half the space and I am still in love with their softness and easy layering qualities and bright colours despite the breakage issues. I stuck with my colouring style of leaving white highlights and adding interesting coloured shading which I feel works well with this book. Note with the ponies how I have avoided taking the blue shading right to the edge, choosing instead to leave a line of white before the line art to give the ponies a shiny look. I found it really relaxing coming up with the different colours for each individual critter. Then it was time to move onto my side. 🙂
This project took several weeks on and off and I seriously enjoyed every minute of it. It’s hard to pick a favourite part as I kind of like everything I did. (A rare experience!) I like the colours on the red, cream and blue fish, the surfer girl and the first pony prancing on the left. I also like my little purple cuttlefish. What bits do you like? Leave me a note in the comments.