I had a great a great opportunity this year to help plan and attend a great SCBWI Illustrator's Conference in Salt Lake City. We invited Martha Rago, executive Art Director of Harper Collins Children's Publishing to be our special guest speaker. She did an illustrator's intensive workshop where she gave the illustrators a special assigment ahead of time. We sent in preliminary sketches, she sent back comments, and then at the conference she gave us all great critiques. Here is my project and some of the process that went into it.
Then we were to send in the sketches with a finished color sample. Here's what I came up with for the colored sample.
Martha gave me great feedbacck on my character sketches. On the little girl character, Lolly, she said to make sure her anatomy was consistent and proportioned the same throughout all the character sketches. On the bear character, B.Bear, she said he looked way to old- he was supposed to be 5 years old in the book. She also said they both looked way to old in the color study- which is very true! Her comments were very helpful! Above is what I came up with for the second character sketches.
On the next part of the assignment, I was to choose a spread with an interesting composition, and take it to a final illustration for the conference critique. I liked the composition with B.Bear and Lolly walking over the river because of the way the log could be used to make a fun dynamic composition. I drew several more thumbnails of compositions thinking of different angles and which way would be the best for telling what the story was really about.
I ended up making two tight sketches because I liked two of the angles from the thumbnails. I ended up using the second composition, because I felt it focused better on the main characters and what was happening in the main story.
Here is my quick color study. I wanted there to be an early morning feel with the lighting.
And here is the final piece. I am pleased with how it turned out. Martha gave me some great constructive critiques at the conference. Some great things she mentioned were to work on the gesture of the bear and changing some of the expressions of the animals in the background, which I thought were both very good suggestions. I really enjoyed doing this project, and I got some great insight from hearing Martha critique everyone's projects. It was a great experience, and I'm grateful I got to be a part of it!
You can see a larger version of this illustration on my Behance portfolio!
You can buy a print of this illustration at my Print Shop!