Meet Moolectro the wonder cow. This is a sketch and colour test for an children’s editorial article I’m working on. It’s about using cow poop to generate electricity. I’m using a new technique to generate ideas, which might sound a little weird. I’m not reading the article first. I’m just taking the basics, cow poop = electricity and riffing in my sketchbook to see what I get. Then later I’ll read the article. I could be way off, but hey, who doesn’t love cows and superheros.

Meet Moolectro the wonder cow. This is a sketch and colour test for an children’s editorial article I’m working on. It’s about using cow poop to generate electricity. I’m using a new technique to generate ideas, which might sound a little weird. I’m not reading the article first. I’m just taking the basics, cow poop = electricity and riffing in my sketchbook to see what I get. Then later I’ll read the article. I could be way off, but hey, who doesn’t love cows and superheros.

The Sad Toe Creative Process

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The Project: This is the final illustration for a personal project where I re-illustrated, Wondering about ingrown toenails? from The Washington Post kid’s section. I didn’t see the actual illustration that went with the article until I had finished my interpretation. It was a story about how you get ingrown toenails and had a tie-in to soccer. Now…on to how I came up with the final.

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Concept #1: Watching the game. I had to tie-in the story to soccer so I imagined the hurt foot watching the game rather than playing. The other toes are all mad at the big toe because they can’t play in the game. Fun, but too much going on I think.

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Concept #2: For simplicity, this was just a foot with a giant foam we’re-#1-hand on one of the toes with a sad ingrown big toe. Although funny, this didn’t have as strong as a connection to soccer as the first concept. I did get a nice foot character here though. I kept it and moved on.

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Final Concept: Back to soccer! I boiled it all down to just my foot, and a soccer goal. I like this much better and created the final illustration with a few tweaks. It’s china marker and graphite on tracing paper, coloured digitally with my own customized photoshop brush. The big toe is ingrown, but only a little.

The Actual Concept Used: The original illustration by Alla Dreyvitser is of a foot with a big toe shouting in pain and bandaged up. I think kids would find this very intriguing and would want to read on. I really like how the little toes are shocked by the big toe’s predicament. This is a very eye-catching and effective illustration!

Overall, I learned a lot about simplifying an image and being able to let go of ideas you like but that just don’t work. Also, I think the kids can handle a little more horror! I’ll be doing more of these fun personal projects in the coming weeks.

" Oh!" said the Princess. “No. I scarcely slept at all. Heaven knows what’s in that bed. I lay on something so hard that I’m black and blue all over. It was simply terrible.”  — The Princess and the Pea, by Hans Christian Andersen.

" Oh!" said the Princess. “No. I scarcely slept at all. Heaven knows what’s in that bed. I lay on something so hard that I’m black and blue all over. It was simply terrible.” — The Princess and the Pea, by Hans Christian Andersen.

Another frog prince painting with a complementary colour palette.

Another frog prince painting with a complementary colour palette.

I’m testing out some colour palettes for an illustration of The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm. I really dislike the princess in the story because she is a total princess in every way. I’m trying to make her as nasty-looking as possible, to reflect her true nasty inner self. If I could I would paint her with a boot to the head, but that might be a bit violent for picture books.

This is Royal Talens watercolour with a bit of white gouache.

Gentlemen at the Ballet added to my portfolio. This is graphite, white gouache, and watercolour.

Puss in Boots Process

Well, Puss in Boots was so fun to paint that I took a few photos along the way. I tried a couple of new things, including printing the black linework on laser printer paper and then painting it by hand with liquid watercolour. This is the original sketch in F pencil on multimedia paper.

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This was for a school assignment to create an editorial illustration that fit into a specified shape and limited palette. I used red, orange, black and white liquid watercolour. I definitely prefer this over gouache.

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I also painted a black and white version with acrylic ink. It’s fun but not as translucent as the liquid watercolour. 

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I’m not sure which illustration I like the best, but I think I’d definitely try this process again.

In terms of artwork it would be fun to draw a “bad boy” version of the cat showing him intimidating field workers and slaughtering ogres just so his master can get the girl.

Puss in Boots editorial illustration. I had so much fun painting these in a limited palette. They were drawn in pencil and painted with Dr. Ph Martin’s Hydrus Fine Art Watercolour. This stuff dries quickly though so you have to work fast.

These are some limited-palette test drawings for a picture book illustration class. I made these by hand with gouache, which I’ve just started playing with.

A teensy paper suitcase I made. Illustration prop or gnome baggage? You decide.