Monday, April 19, 2010

Plasticine Illustration Part 1-My Process

I thought I'd do a little tutorial of my process of how I go about creating a plasticine illustration. Since it is a bas-relief, I start with the background and work forward. So to begin, I cover a piece of illustration board with a thin layer of plasticine. This gives the other layers of plasticine something to adhere to. I usually choose a colour close to my background, so in this instance it is a light blue for the sky, and brown for the dirt and ground. I basically press and rub the plasticine into the illustration board with my thumb and fingers. I leave a 1/2 inch gap or so, of illustration board around the artwork, so that it can be framed without loosing any of the edge detail. I also cover these edges with "Press-n-Seal" to keep the edges protected and clean until it is framed. 

Next, I smooth out the rough, rubbed-on plasticine with my fingers, and begin to add and blend-in more colours for the background sky. As you can see above, I have added some darker blue at the top, and blended it into the lighter blue. I also added some light yellow, which will be at the horizon-line. I then added  some distant clouds.

From this next image you can see that I have added green rolling hills in the background, to map out the horizon. I added some light texture by stippling with an old toothbrush, and added a bit of warm yellow to the hills in the middleground, to begin to develope some depth to the illustration.
This will serve as the background for my two little mice in rubber boots.  I posted the sketch a few days ago. I plan to have my little mice walking along a muddy, gravel/grassy path, so now I need to develope those elements.

Next, I added some longer grasses, intermixed with some grey gravel. Again I used a variety of tools to give the gravel the proper texture and movement to the grass. I plan to add more once my mice figures are in place, but it is easiest to lay down some ground elements first which will be just behind them, and fill in more as I go. So, you can see how the background is taking shape nicely, and we are slowly progressing to the foreground. Of course, there is always a chance I have to fix something, or something gets smooshed :( If this happens I basically need to tear off the layers on top and do my repairs and then repeat the process to get back to this point.

For this illustration I decided to start to work on my little mice seperately since they are right in the foreground of the piece. I either use tracing paper or a sheet of Press-n-Seal to cover my sketch and work on top to get the proper sizing and keep true to my sketch. In this image you can see that I have begun to work on the dress and head of the mouse on the right. This is the really fun part because I get to add lots of details and textures...which I just loooove!
Well...this is as far as I have gotten so far, so stay tuned for Part 2 when I have more to share! I hope you found this mini-tutorial  interesting, and have now gotten the urge to rummage through your craft cabinets to find some of your kid's plasticine and try it yourself!! 

So go...go now...and try it, I just know you'll luv it too! :) Happy squishing!

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