You probably haven’t noticed that I’m really bad about blogging, because there hasn’t been anything to notice. My excuse for not blogging recently is that I’ve been chin-deep writing and illustrating my newest picture book, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild…which I just finished. HALLELUJAH!!!
I was very late with the art for Mr. Tiger, which is a bad habit I’ve gotten into over the last few years. The reason I’ve been late is that I’ve been experimenting with the art style of each of my last few books. I like trying new materials and styles, but it takes time to refine each new technique. So I end up spending a few months experimenting when I should really be working on the final art of the book. And when I finally DO begin the final art, I’m already behind schedule because of all that time I spent experimenting. This is exactly what happened with Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. It can be kind of stressful.
Anyway, I knew I wanted to use watercolor for Mr. Tiger. Watercolor is just inherently beautiful, the little swirls and imperfections make it interesting and organic, with lots of happy accidents and gorgeous mistakes. But I didn’t want to do traditional watercolor paintings, I wanted the illustrations to have bold shapes with interesting patterns and rich textures, so I had to come up with my own way of using ink and watercolor.
In Children Make Terrible Pets and YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! I used a technique where I made tons of little pencil drawings, scanned them into Photoshop, and then colored them and layered them and combined them into the finished illustrations. I really loved that technique, so I thought I’d try something similar for Mr. Tiger. But instead of making tons of little pencil drawings, I made tons of little watercolor and ink shapes (as well as a few pencil drawings and handmade textures), and scanned them into Photoshop where I colored and layered and combined them into the finished illustrations. It took a while to figure out my new technique, but I’m pretty happy with the finished result.
So here are a few pieces I did while developing the art style for Mr. Tiger, as well as one final image. I’ll share more of that final art another time. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild hits bookstores in Fall 2013.