Sunday, March 22, 2015

Itchy Mitchie - About the Illustrations

The illustrations in Itchy Mitchie took a great deal of patience, and countless hours to complete. Every picture was created with meticulous detail, using only hand-cut pieces of paper, with a small amount of drawn ink to fill in some of the small details.
The first step, was creating all my characters by drawing them all out on a paper exactly the way I wanted them to be in my book. I drew front, side, and action views of Mitchie and some of my other main characters. I also drew out each of my other big objects that would be in my pictures, such as a schoolhouse, flower, or bed, etc.

Next, I needed to decide on backdrop - hill, sun, clouds, fences - their shape, color, etc. I kept the same general shapes for these on all my images while changing up the color variations. I didn't necessarily trace these all out, I just cut a lot of it by eye and pasted it all together.

To actually get what I drew with pencil into my selected scrap paper, I used a light tracing box that I bought on amazon for like 30 bucks. I outlined the shapes of my drawings onto the scrap book paper I wanted to use for the color/design. For paper that was too dark to see the drawing through, I had to trace the drawing on white paper first, then put that tracing on top of the dark paper to cut.

Is this even making sense? Wow, seems kinda complicated, but not too bad, just tedious... very tedious. 
For Mitchie, I had different colored paper for his head, neck, shirt, sometimes sleeves, pants, socks, shoes, and hair - all of which needed to be traced and cut out in different paper, and then glued together. And that's just one character. I tell you what, it was a lot of work, but for me, the result was worth it!

 Just a couple illustration examples (before color correction/edits). Every single piece is hand-cut paper, including the spray in this one:

This one was really tough because there were so many components to each of the different characters. Putting it all together took a while:

Some during/after pics of 2 other illustrations:

So here's why I liked working with paper for my illustraions:

1. I could pick out patterns that create texture that I would not have otherwise been able to produce by hand.

2. I feel more comfortable with cutting paper than I do just drawing and coloring/painting an image.

3. I loved having the physical color/texture of the paper in my hands and being able to re-arrange and layer it, seeing the results instantly.

4. I really liked the artistic feel of seeing uneven ends where I didn't cut perfectly - I felt like it added character to the images.

5. Layering paper adds real-life depth to the image.

6. I could rearrange my paper cut out pieces (characters, trees, furniture, sun, clouds, etc) easily and as much as I wanted until I was completely satisfied with the illustration.

So if you are not the best drawer, but like to scrap book, keep this type of art open! Maybe you can create your project using paper too!

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