Working on Plates

Working in pen and ink requires a commitment – after all, there’s no erasing a mistake on the final art and it’s always been important to me that I have a finished piece of art (as opposed to simply a computer file). It’s truly a headache to have to start all over due to a silly mistake or not having thought through my composition and thus I spend some time working out the larger illustrations before diving right in.

This is a good example of how I might work – a combination of sketching, manipulating my own drawings to create something like this palanquin, and using objects such as the chairs and rug to help give me the sense of of how to balance the room. While I’m sure there are Photoshop gurus who use things like perspective grids, I’m hardly a guru and thus I do much of the perspective by hand and simply endure the tedium. Ultimately, the sketch is almost like a mixed media piece – it combines lots of different tools and techniques to get the image I want. Once I’m happy with it, I’ll use a lightbox to trace its key elements and start working on the final piece.

FYI, this particular plate is a scene from the upcoming book, The Maelstrom. This particular illustration really requires a sense of scale – not only the size of the demon relative to its human audience, but also the surroundings of Founder’s Hall. I’m happy with the look and feel and can’t wait to dive in with my pen, brush, and bottle of ink.