Zimm's renewal mail came through last week, and I realized I had just sat all of 2012 out on Drawger. I'll dive back in with a little process on a book Gina and I recently illustrated. Cherlynne Li from Simon and Schuster brought us the new book by Daniel Wallace who had written Big Fish. She liked an illustration we'd done for Starbucks and Wieden + Kennedy, and felt like something like it would work here. The new book, The Kings and Queens of Roam, is sort of a North American take on magical realism, set in a town that is part harsh pioneer town, part mystical dreamland. The plot centers on two sisters, and culminates on a rickety bridge above a wild gorge with a magic stream at the bottom. Cherlynne asked us to stick to this scene, so we happily narrowed our focus to variations on mood and composition. We started off with a few rough thumbs that stayed between Gina and I, and now you.
Then we moved on to this batch of sketches we shared with Cherlynne. One of the novel's themes is a coming together of Chinese and American characters. This was a perfect excuse to blend the traditions of landscape painting from both cultures with a little of what Gina and I do.
She gave us the go-ahead on a composition, so we went through a few color variations before we all agreed on this one. The novel's pretty dark, and we were heading that way with the sketches. There was worry it'd be too dark, so we went a brighter direction.
Then we were on to paint. This is the type of stuff we'd do on our own, so it was a pleasure to bring it to life.
After sending the job off, I got to spend the night in a magical gorge of my own. Now I have lots of new reference for the next time I get my Hudson River school on. Hope to see you around here more frequently!