This image was originally intended to be a Christmas card, and I drew the basic shapes of it out months ago but just never got round to painting and finishing it. The other day I cam across the image again and decided I amy as well finish it and upload it here and I’m quite happy with the final result. The image was only A4 so I struggled to include a lot of detail, particularly when painting, but I tried my best with pencil detailing after the paint had dried. The female is based on my design for Winter in my Selfish Giant project, basically the season in human form, and so this give me good practice for my Selfish Giant project in terms of painting winter scenes. Also, as this week’s illustration Friday is ‘Wood’, I’m thinking of submitting this for it.
So I’m currently working on illustrating Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Selfish Giant’, a project which I started during my time at university. There are quite a few things about the project I want to change and so I’ve sort of gone back to my sketchbook to work on colour and composition for the project just so I can be better prepared when creating the actual illustrations. For now here are a few sketchbook images of some paint experiments I’ve done for the image backgrounds, which were inspired by the images I had seen during my research into into medieval, and renaissance art, the work of Fra Angelico being a notable example. I will try to post more regular updates of the project as I continue working on it.
A few weeks ago I heard from a company called Thortful who liked my work and invited me to design cards for them. Their website allows anyone to upload their own designs as cards which can then be bought and so it was very exciting to be approached by them personally and I am very grateful to them. I began thinking of Christmas and winter themed cards for Thortful and wanted to emulate the work I had done for my Selfish Giant project and for one of the cards decided to use my design for Frost from the Selfish Giant for a winter themed card. The design mainly incorporated the imagery from my Selfish Giant project but I did alter the colours, opting for cold blues, greys, silver and whites instead of greens and gold to create the wintery scene.
I have more designs and other work to upload here, however my laptop recently died and so I can’t upload them yet, but hopefully will be able to asap. In the meantime, to see some amazing card designs please check out Thortful’s website here: https://www.thortful.com
And here is my profile on the website: https://www.thortful.com/user/56390398e4b003693a3f39ee
Now that inktober is over I really want to get back into my Selfish Giant project and get the ball rolling again. I have had difficulty with this as there are a few things I want to change about the images I have already made for the project and so I thought it would be best just to go back into my sketchbook to practice the visual elements for the project. One way I began this was just painting medieval inspired plants that will be featured in a lot of the background of the illustrations ust to help get back into the project, and, as this week’s illustration Friday is Bouquet I thought it would fit in very well with that theme.
Over Easter I decided to paint one of my Selfish Giant images so that I could get an idea of what they could look like as a set of illustrations. The illustration depicts a scene near the end of the story where the Giant discovers the child in his garden and due to the religious tone of the scene I based it upon the religious imagery I have been researching. The process involved a lot of layering of watercolour and gouache, creating the desired colours and look and afterworks I worked back into the image with pencil and gold and silver ink to create detail. I am extremely happy with the outcome of this images and it has motivated me to balance my projects and to finish painting the other images as well.
For the colouring process of my Selfish Giant project, i tried out a few different things inspired by the research I had done. Firstly, I drew some images of medieval patterns, arches and pillars using a dip pen and sepia ink, a process which I used in my original Selfish Giant project. I did this in order to get any idea of what the work may possibly look like if it were outlined with sepia ink, something which I don’t think I would use for the entire illustration and may just use for the detailing of certain areas such as the faces and hands of the characters.
I then began working on possible colour ideas for the illustration, focusing mainly on the plants of the Giant’s garden as I believe they would have the most variety of colour. I looked at a number of different images in order to achieve a certain colour palette, including, the artwork of William Morris, Persian manuscripts I had seen at an exhibition in Oxford, European folk art and medieval art. I used the colours as well as the style of these different influences in order to achieve the desired look.
At this point, I had begun looking at the work of Fra Angelico and was very inspired by the way he had painted the scenery in many of his paintings and wanted to explore this way of working myself. I started with a dark blue, green colour for the background before painting on top of it with yellows, greens and oranges to create the look of grass, flowers and plants. I think this look is my favourite of all the colour experiments I had done, however I think in order for it to be more effective the base colour needs to very flat and not streaky like how some of them turned out. The very first image in this post I my favourite and is closest to the look I would like to achieve, however, I think I could also try combining some of the other ideas with this one in order to create a more luscious, enchanted garden for the Giant.
Here is some rough sketchbook work and ideas from my on going Selfish Giant project, including a rough idea for a book cover, experiments with dip pen and sepia ink and rough ideas for the look of the Giant’s castle, which is mainly inspired by Cardiff Castle. Even though it’s just a rough idea, I’m not too pleased with the book cover design as I think I need something which captures the story more rather than just recreating the medieval style for the sake of it, so this is something that is definitely going to be changed at some point. The dip pen experiments didn’t last very long or really lead anywhere and so I don’t think I’ll be exploring that any further for this project, however it was still fun to use a dip pen and ink again so at some point I may end up using it, possibly for small outlines.
I really struggled with the design of the Giant’s castle and still aren’t too happy with it. I wanted something that combined both my research from Cardiff Castle and my research from medieval manuscripts and illustration and don’t think I’ve quite got there yet, however this is something that I think I’m coming closer to achieving as I’ve continued my research. I think I may have been over complicating the design of the castle and may need to simplify it more. As, well as this, I’ve included two images from my earlier compositions that I’ve redrawn in a landscape form in order to included more detail and to possibly use as a double page spread in the book. I quite like this idea of possibly having one or two double page illustrations in the book and may explore this more later on when I have sorted out my colour palette and other illustrations. I’m more happy with the first image and think that works better as a double page spread, particularly with the castle in the middle, however, I am still working on the finalization of the design for the Giant’s garden and think the second illustration would work better when that has been decided. Also, I believe both would look great with colour, especially because they would feature opposing colours, as one of them is set in the winter, the other in the summer.
Here are some composition ideas from my Selfish Giant project, drawn in my sketchbook with graphite pencils. These compositions took me quite a while to get right, however I’m really happy with the final result and was pleased to receive positive feedback on them from my tutors as well. I used a variety of inspiration for these compositions, all taken from my research into medieval manuscripts and illumination as well as religious icons and paintings, and I have illustrated some of the key scenes from the story. I really played around with the use of nature and architecture in relation to the characters in my compositions, using many resources from the places I have visited as part of my research for this project, and I am pleased with the final result.
Even though I was very happy overall with these compositions, especially since I really took my time with them, there was a few that I wanted to tweak a bit and so I redid some of them which can be seen below. I think I prefer these ones mostly, but I’m still not too sure about The Wall image so I may end up creating a combination of the two different versions. Overall though I have really enjoyed this part of the project and feel like I’m definitely starting to find myself within my work and am a lot more comfortable with how I am working, my next step however is to begin applying colour to my work, and this is something that I also really want to get right and spend quite a bit of time on.
My next step for this project was to draw my characters in more detail and focus on their facial features, which I did using a simple graphite pencil. I tried my best to make each of the characters look individual, particularly with the faces, and found it very helpful to draw their faces in different positions rather than just profile, which I actually found the hardest to draw. Despite this, I think the characters will begin to look more individual when they have different expressions unlike in these current drawings, but at this point of the project, I just wanted to focus drawing basic faces. As I really wanted to use this part of the project as an opportunity to really refine my drawing skill, I studied the work of the Pre Raphaelites in particular, as well as medieval manuscripts, in order to help with my basic drawing skills.
The part of the project was very challenging because I was drawing different people of varying ages and I really wanted to get it right, however it was very worth while as I have gotten used to drawing different people and clothing, something which I have always struggled with, but, I am really pleased with the overall final result and hopefully with more practice I’ll be able to draw like this quicker as well as easier. My next step for this project will be to focus on architecture, and there are many places around Cardiff I can visit to study that aspect.
After my research into medieval costume, I began to design the characters from the story, using the research on costume to help create them. Below are my initial ideas for the characters of the Giant, both young and old, Snow, Frost, Hail and the North Wind and the four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. A lot of the colours were directly taken from my earlier work on the selfish giant as well as some of the concepts of the characters, such as Frost being inspired by a medieval jester.
After these designing these characters, I began working on the children who play in the giant’s garden. These characters were a bit more difficult to design because I couldn’t find a lot of research on what medieval children wore, they mainly seemed to have similar clothing styles to adults, so I just simplified a lot of the adult clothing and applied it to the designs. I wanted the children to have a range of ages and also be a mixture of peasants and nobility while still keeping them as playful children.
After finishing all of the design ideas, I re-worked some of the characters whose deigns I wasn’t too happy with, The Giant, the North Wind and Snow. I altered the deign of Snow the least, but really prefer the outcome to the first deign, while the North Wind was redesigned with more of a winter look, emphasising the fur more. I really liked the first design for the North Wind but felt it didn’t suit the character that much, so I decided to use it for the Giant instead because I liked it that much. I really enjoyed designing all of these characters and am really happy with the final outcome and I think all of the characters will remain as they are for the rest of the project, however there may be some tweaking further on. This work ha gotten me really excited for the rest of the project and I will continue to post more work as I make it.