Thursday, February 10, 2011
Learning from trials and tribulations, illustrating Heidi
I recently submitted an illustration for the Tomie De Paolo SCBWI award.Even though I wasn't the lucky winner the process was fun and a great learning experience. The assignment was to illustrate the first page of Heidi by Johanna Spyri. This is the page where Heidi, wearing several layers of clothes is being dragged up the sunny mountain to Grandfather.It was challenging to illustrate a classic that has been illustrated so many times before. First I read and reread the paragraph several times. Then I found my copy of the book, which I hadn't seen in a while and read the book again to remember more about Heidi. I researched the flora and landscape of Switzerland, doing sketches of Swiss wildflowers such as gentian and edelweiss, that might be in bloom during the month of June when the story opens. I created thumbnail sketches to decide on the composition. I thought it would be a fun idea to see the scene from the point of view of a mountain goat. This would also show the vastness of the mountain she was climbing and the smallness of Heidi, roasting in her clothes. I chose to make the goat very large. I tried it in pastels and then acrylic. Here are my three color illustrations. I chose to submit the acrylic because it is the most dramatic, with the larger goat. I painted these on large boards, then photographed them to create a digital image.