I remember when Paul and I were first starting to work on Audacious Ignatius (four years ago now!). I was enrolled in a drawing class and was learning a lot. My work was getting better as I learned and practiced and I thought– let’s wait. I’m not ready to make this book yet. I’ll be a better artist next year, and the book will be better! I’m so glad I kept working! I could have waited, but I learned so much from working on Audacious Ignatius. I grow from taking classes, I grow from practicing, and I grow from throwing myself into the project that’s in front of me right now, even if I don’t feel quite ready.
This week, as we put the finishing touches on our second book together, Sorin Starts a School, our designer suggested I draw portraits to accompany our author and illustrator bios in the book. It was a fun challenge! Glad to be tackling another project together, and glad we didn’t wait to begin!
It’s so snowy out there! Looking out my window at the white sky and white rooftops this afternoon, I wondered if I could show the edge of the rooftops using only the tree branches between them. I was nervous as I was erasing my pencil lines, wondering if you would be able to distinguish the edges of the roofs, but I think it worked! The snow makes everything feel a little more calm and peaceful outside, and this painting also has some of that calm for me.
I painted this for the Chicago Urban Sketchers theme of Negative Space, which is the art term for the “empty” space between objects. Staring out my window at the snow, I noticed that the white was like a blank canvas of empty space, with just bits of trees and houses to define the landscape.
Wow, this has been a work in progress! When I first sketched out a storyboard for Sorin Starts a School, I knew I wanted to have a big panorama towards the end to zoom out and give the feeling of wrapping up the story, but I didn’t think through how long it would take to do this! It is definitely the most complex illustration I’ve ever attempted, and I learned so much from making it. (Be sure to imagine some inspiring words that Paul wrote up there at the top of the page!)
This is a watercolor painting, with lots of tiny details added digitally, using the Procreate app.