Reading by flashlight. This was a rough draft illustration for the new children’s book series we’re working on. I was an experimenting with media types. This piece was done Derwent Coloursoft pencils on Strathmore Artagain coal black paper. I was interested in seeing if I could get away with using the black paper for the night scene.
I have to admit that I was also anxious to see if I could get the character under the sheet to look as though she was actually using a flashlight. Yet another goal was to see how close I could get to the Sfumato style. That is a Renaissance painting technique where there are no harsh lines. It’s difficult to tell if I succeeded due to the size of this image. Each line on the character under the sheet is a gentle line, fading into the area around it. However, I got carried away after I finished the main character. There are harsh lines all over the bed and in the border. By that time I had decided that this definitely wasn’t going to be an illustration in the book. It didn’t do what I hoped it would. So from there on out, my goal was to try out the media and figure out a way to graciously put it on a white page.
I decided to add a border, so I quickly drew a tree, then decided I needed three other sides, so threw in some clouds, stars, the moon, and lastly the city skyline and the tent and campfire. The right side was just a loosely rendered line. It was the tent and campfire were all wrong for this scene. The little girl reading by flashlight is in her own bedroom. Well, actually that makes the entire outdoor border wrong, doesn’t it? Irregardless of that, it was a good experiment and I learned a lot more than I expected. I think I can use the coal black paper and the colored pencils if I use a border for this scene.
It was hard for me to let go of this illustation. I wanted to make it work (until I got the border on it). Somehow adding the border made it easier to let it go. The illustration we ended up using is far better. I wouldn’t have arrived there if I hadn’t taken this road though.