Why I’ve Been Bad About Blogging

Mr. Tiger

Early Mr. Tiger character art drawn digitally

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!!!

Early Mr. Tiger Art drawn digitally

Early Mr. Tiger Art drawn digitally

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.

Early Mr. Tiger art using watercolor, ink and digital

Experimental Mr. Tiger art in watercolor, ink, pencil and digital

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.

Closeup of early Mr. Tiger art done in watercolor, ink and digital

Closeup of experimental Mr. Tiger art in watercolor, ink, pencil and digital

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.

Final art of Mr. Tiger

Final art of a grumpy looking Mr. Tiger

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.

Categories: Illustration
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19 responses to “Why I’ve Been Bad About Blogging”

  1. All that experimenting was well worth it, the colors are beautiful! Love Mr. Tiger too, can’t wait to read it!

  2. Kim Bauer says:

    Take all the time you need- we will be eagerly awaiting your new book!

  3. Really digging this look! I’m currently in a similar phase of experimentation, and it’s encouraging to see such great results.


  4. Moira says:

    Mr. Tiger looks great.
    Looking forward to the book.

    p.s. I hope you appreciate that I resisted the temptation to say, “GRRRRREAT!”

  5. Núria Coe says:

    LOVE IT!! 🙂 I love your style, no matter what technique you use. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Russ says:

    Beautiful new style!

  7. Marcela S. says:

    Mr. Tiger is fabulous! Gorgeous technique!

  8. Eddie H. says:

    This looks amazing!

  9. Jen Hill says:

    This rules. Style evolution is never boring! Mister Tiger looks like a a fop, a regular Beau Brummel- hah! splendid

  10. Fall 2013?? How am I supposed to wait that long? You are such a great illustrator and storyteller, Peter.

  11. Celia says:

    Oh my gracious! This is GLORIOUS! I love your technique! Can’t wait to buy the new book! If you do a tour PLEASE come to Seattle, WA!

  12. I’ve been undergoing the same process in the last few months, and my blog has suffered as well. I only hope my results are as fabulous as your Mr. Tiger! Well done, Peter. Thank you for sharing your process. I always love learning about how other artists work.

  13. Kim P says:

    Cannot wait to read this. Was hoping for summer ’13 to buy for grandsons birthdays but it looks
    like a perfect holiday book!

  14. will terry says:

    Worth the wait – you have our permission not to blog 🙂

  15. Hey, man. Love your art (and your stories). The Curious Garden will go down as a classic – I’ve given that book out as a gift nearly a dozen times.

    As long as you put something out every once in a while, you don’t need to blog.

  16. Allison says:

    Louis says he likes the art for Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.

  17. Diane Dorais says:

    This book looks amazing. My kindergarten students loved Creepy Carrots, and look forward to purchasing Mr. Tiger very soon. My prof mentioned the book, she was the Caldecott Chair for 2013. Again, terrific work!

  18. Cristina says:

    This book just came across my friend’s desk and I was captivated!
    I love your illustrations – great style. I’m sure your editor didn’t mind in the end that you were late. Great job! I can’t wait to get a copy to read to my son.

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