Monday, March 24, 2008

Surprise Monday : Week 4 : Composition

Welcome to Week 4 of Surprise Mondays! First of all let me say, I can't believe it's already week 4!! It's gone very fast, but I got a lot done this week so feeling good. I have one more double page spread to do, and then a few single page/spot illos and then I'm finished with the roughs!

This week I thought I'd focus on composition by taking a double page spread from storyboard to rough, and discussing why I made certain decisions.

As I talked about in my previous post, I start off with very quick storyboards that are only a few centimetres in length and take me about 30 seconds each. I might do upwards of 20 of these as the composition comes together. This spread is of a little boy who has just emptied his toys onto the floor, and his mum gets down a book for him to distract him.


I knew I wanted this illustration to take place in a kitchen. From this perspective we feel very far away from the action.

I brought the viewpoint a bit closer in.

I wanted the little boy Thomas to be more the centre of attention, so made him a bit bigger in the frame.

This is getting better, Thomas is more important in the spread because he is closer up, we are getting some good perspective in the cupboards, but they are leading our eye to the fridge, which is not very important in the spread! (maybe if the fridge was featured in an illustration later, this would work as a 'foreshadowing', but that isn't the case here)

Change of perspective to see if this works - (text in the bottom right hand corner) - this is nice as the cupboards lead our eye from Thomas to his mum, but then there's just a big hole at the end where we fall out of the illo. no good.

Tried a 'galley' style kitchen. This is good. Our eye starts at Thomas, leads into the illo, and then back out to the mum. The kitchen feels enormous though!

Brought it all in a bit closer. Feeling good.

Took out the cupboards in the upper left to make a bit more room for text. This is working! Time to go to the 'rough' stage.


I print out a page template that has the exact dimensions of the book pages, and start where I left off with the storyboards - I sketch everything in very lightly and loosely, focussing on the major elements.

I start sketching in the characters more, and some of the angles. I have decided to go a bit 'quirky' with the angles and not worry to much about exact perspective. This has been a lot of fun and has let me be a lot freer when sketching.

This part was interesting. In all my storyboards, I had the mum reaching up to get a book down for Thomas, because that is what is in the text. But when it came to draw it, I couldn't make it work - it didn't seem right to have her back to us. I erased and redrew, erased and redrew, just couldn't get it right. As soon as I turned her around and drew it like this, it was obvious. And now it's got this nice playfulness of the boy giving her his toy and her giving him the book.

Done! Added a few details of his toys on the ground and trees out the window, but not much more at this point.

Did a few little fixes in Photoshop - I moved Thomas more into the centre of the page, and made both him and his mum a bit bigger.


Well I hope this has been interesting/of some use to you out there? Or this is just way too much information? Please let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like me to talk about in this process too.

Have a great week!


Danielle McDonald said...

Hi Kim! It makes me feel better to know that other "freelancers" are working on Easter Monday too! Sorry it's been so long since I dropped by! I have well and truely been out of the loop! Crazy days of late!! Working full-time as well as freelancing is already taking it's toll!
CONGRATULATIONS on your book deal! I am so excited for you and am really enjoying reading about how you go about things. I love when artists share this little insight. Good luck with it all and I am looking foward to reading along as this project progresses. I am really keen to catch up with you for that long overdue cuppa too, so we will have to try to make some time for that!

Isabelle said...

Hi Kim,
Thank you for being so thorough! It really covers the process (at the same time reveals just how much work this is!) I love the spread and cannot wait to see it done. I was wondering if you could talk about how you decide which "moments" to illustrate, if you talk this out with the author or if you make this call. How much of the finished layout of the book do you worry about at this point?
Thanks again, will be back next monday! Have a great week!

Tom Barrett said...

This is great stuff! I really appreciate you take the time to put these posts together. Your thoughts on leading the eye through the page are very helpful.

Looking forward to next week!!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

This is all looking really good.

lil kim said...

Good to see you back Danielle! I'm sure you will get through your freelance jobs with flying colours and then be able to focus more on your job. Exciting times! Yes, look forward to a catch up soon.

Thanks for your comments Isabelle! I will think about your questions and include them in my next Monday post. Cheers!

Thanks Tom! Glad it is of some help.

Thanks for checking in Jean-Luc, great pic of you. ;-)

Kimberly said...

Hi Kim,
Thanks for sharing your storyboard process. I love seeing how it all comes together! :) - Kim

Alicia Padrón said...

This is great Kim. You are doing an awesome job posting about this. I love seeing how you sketch all the compositions. a lot of work but the end result is wonderful!! :o)

lil kim said...

Thanks Kimberley and Alicia!

roz said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. It's great to see an illustration as it is being developed!

sketched out said...

I just love watching your progress on this. It's really coming along. Wonderful!

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