First, I wanted to try my hand at illustrating an extreme viewpoint. So I decided to do a "worm's eye view" of this "boy pirate". I thought this view point would give him a majestic and grand quality, and hopefully lead the viewer to wonder what is he looking at through those binoculars? And where was he?
First I took a few reference photos by lying on the ground and shooting straight up at my models(OK I used my kiddies, they really like to pose for me).
Then I did a few sketches to work out the perspective, and tinker with the foreshortening. I broke-down the body into simpler geometric shapes and included my perspective lines for reference.
Once I was happy with that sketch, I moved on to sketching a tighter, more detailed "boy pirate".
Then I started the background. I always smear plasticine onto illustration board first.Iin this case since I knew the sky would be above the "boy pirate", due to the worm's eye view, I didn't need to do an "under painting" and block in my colours, I could just use the sky blue I had mixed and cover the entire surface.
I wanted to give the illustration some dynamic movement and help to bring the eye back again to the central character, so I decided to depict the clouds diagonally across the background and with reflections coming off the underside of the wispy clouds to help show that we are viewing the sky from below. I actually lay down on the dock for a while to study the clouds....OK and relax a bit too. I think it works nicely to gives the piece some energy, and the subtle convergence and divergence of the clouds leads the eye around in an elliptical path back to the center.
Next I added the very bottom of the "ship". I purposely didn't show much of it as I want to viewer to wonder: what type of ship this boy pirate could own?Or was he in the crow's nest? I also needed to show a portion of it to ground the character.
I then started to form the individual pieces of the character. I usually work from the background, and work forward, but sometimes I like to do a few foreground bits so I can place them on top, as I go, to ensure I'm staying on track with my proportions. And I really like doing toes, so I couldn't resist! :)
It can be a bit tricky when there are a few different layers of plasticine on top of each other, with a foreshortened image. And it can start to look wonky if I don't carefully flatten out, or cut out the plasticine bits that will be directly behind another foreground object. So, I find it can be useful to have the foreground parts set aside to then be able to trace around them and make the exact cut, so it isn't noticeable.
Here he is, the "boy pirate", after a bunch of tinkering and sculpting, I think he is almost there. I usually like to put it away for a few days and then take a look at it again and tinker a bit more. It lets me look at it with a fresher set of eyes and spot any other problems.
As always, I'd love any feedback, good and bad, it is always so helpful :)
I also worked on a close-up of this little "boy pirate" and used it for Illustration Friday this week. I wanted toshow him saying "ARRRRRRR!", but not in a scary, mean way, but in a playful way. Here is the sketch I came up with:
I recently purchased this amazing book by Mark Simon called Facial Expressions of Babies and Teens. It is such a great resource if you need to do facial expressions. And it also shows a few models that have posed over consecutive years so you can actually see how the face matures with the same child...very helpful stuff! I hope I succeeded in achieving a playful "ARRR". I must have scraped off each feature and started again like a million times??