May 5 2016 - Another way too long of a post
After being critiqued over and over again about so much for the work I did for Beauty, I took a risk and made a book cover as a final piece. I discarded one piece because I didn't want to be bothered with it anymore. There were issues I saw too late, and the time it needed to be re-done, was just too much. So I moved on. I feel that having a layout in my portfolio is a great way to say to publishers, " Hey, I can do your art AND make a powerful statement with it for your story!"
January 21, 2016
So, as I finished the pen and pencil work for the Beauty pieces I felt it necessary to show them before I apply the watercolor. The pen and pencil really help me lay down my values. I am still having trouble fearing watercolor, so doing this helps the process easier to understand.
Here are two examples:
Sept 4, 2015
Well it has been a bit since I have updated/worked on Black Beauty, but that was because I was working on all of Black Beauty and all of Aesop's Fables at the same time! I wanted to be sure I finished 10 of my 15 final sketches for my thesis before I started classes this Fall. I am a work-a-holic, and I like to know I am all planned out before hand, so I am not rushing in the end. Here you can see both my final sketches along with the thumb nails. I will say, my thumbnail stages are very loose. I try to put down my general ideas first before I look for reference so that I know exactly what I am trying to narrate and in what perspectives I need to be looking out for. Some of my thumbs gave me, like I said, very general ideas, where the reference material lead me to another way of interpreting my idea. My references are very important to me. I want to be sure I get my horse anatomy correct from all angles since I am one of those audience members who always look for awkwardness in others' horse drawings/executions.
Each is an interior drawing that will focus more on pen than watercolor in the final stages. They are somewhat big. Average size is around 11x14." That is a lot of surface to cover with pen!
Looking at these right now I know there is some adjusting to do (straightening, some character's need to be worked on a bit more etc), but all in all, they are my visions of the chapters I have chosen to work with.
Chapter 6: Liberty!
Chapter 12: Stormy Day
Chapter 23: A Strike for Liberty!
Chapter 32: Horse Fair
Chapter 45: Jerry's New Year
June 2, 2015
Just a small drawing/painting for the header. But this one I didn't want to do a 'current' character design of Black Beauty. What I mean is, the book begins with Beauty's birth and growth with his mother. Yes, the majority of the book more so focuses on his older years, but he was a yearling, a colt and so on. This drawing is the stage where he is a an older colt, around 3-3.5 (the age common for horses to be introduced to halters, saddles, bridles, human training etc). His legs are thinner than his full grown self, since his body is now catching up his younger legs, head is a bit bigger etc (that awkward middle-grade stage). Overall, not as muscular as his mature self, but still him.
May 23, 2015
I am getting myself organized. Seeing how I have several different segments to my thesis, I figured it would be a great idea to use my summer to plan outlines, develop characters, develop my website/portfolio, and establish a plan/goal to achieve before I head back to San Francisco in the fall. First thing first, I need to understand how I want my characters to look. Ever since I took Character Design for Children's Books in Fall 2014, I've been wanting to create my characters in a formal sense. Last Spring was very busy, with Mid Point and classes that involved working on my weaknesses, I had a hard time fitting in Thesis work.
In terms of this Thesis Segment, I was so excited to get started on my interpretations for my main characters in Ann Sewell's Black Beauty. Although her story/characters have been done over many times, I had different ideas in terms of their visual appearance:
Black Beauty has always been a symbol of not just beauty, but power and spirit. He was always taught to do the best he can in all things. He was willing to work his hardest, even if it meant bringing himself to a point of near death exhaustion. Therefore, I always felt him to be elegant in build, with a strong muscular structure to support his strong heart. In terms of his diamond shaped star on his forehead, I didn't want to go small like many interpretations beforehand. I always felt that the star represented his spirit, and his spirit is grand. In some ways, I felt this idea of 'big' markings brought me to the connection I established with my horse, Spirit. He had a bold white face, from the top of his poll (where forehead meets the neck), through his eyes, and encompassed his whole nose. His spirit was full of life, and that showed in his face everyday I saw him.
Ginger was mostly portrayed either as too skinny, too red, or too round (in my opinion). I always felt that Ginger held a sort of pride about her structure, along with her past and her personality. Although both Black Beauty and Ginger were Thoroughbreds, I felt that Ginger was not a pure bred. I felt she had more of an elegance to her, therefore, I derived structural influences from the Saddlebred/National Show Horse breed. This breed was established as a breed in 1981, but that doesn't mean this type of horse wasn't around at the time Black Beauty was set. That breed's biggest characteristic is it's thinned structure, perfect for the needs for performance perfection in Dressage. I found giving Ginger a thinner structure reflecting that bred, mixed with the height and muscular structure of the Thoroughbred, gave her more personality.
Merrylegs has been pretty much depicted the same overall. Some interpretations had tints of tan in his color, some had spots on his rear. Yet, in short, I always saw him as a pure Welsh Pony. In the novel, there was not much in terms of description of breed other than being a short, pump, white pony. The Welsh breed was strictly founded and stud recorded in the United Kingdom in 1901, later by the United States in 1907 when the first Welsh Pony was brought over. But the breed was surely being established in the United Kingdom before then. This breed has many different variations of colors, yet, the book stated that Merrylegs is White; deriving strictly from his white and black Arabian ancestors that were breed with the Cob breed that then established the Welsh pony. Therefore, I stuck to the book, gave him, as I put it, a child-like complexion of pure playfulness.