Monday, June 18, 2012

The Night Circus Ship

Quick updates:
-My Guitar Train will be in CMYK Magazine #53, to be out in July!
-I now have a Tati Dengo Illustration fan page on Facebook. 
-Electric Keychain Collective is working on a children's book to be published by Matter Deep Publishing. "Like" us on Facebook to keep up with our progress.

Now onto my newest illustration!

The Night Circus is a book by Erin Morgernstern that came out last year.  It's a very dreamy story told in vignettes, about a circus that is very much unlike your traditional clown and balloon-filled colour explosion circus. I highly recommend it. Also, it's been optioned for a movie, so you might be hearing a lot about it in the future.

Recently on the author's Facebook fan page, they posted this quote from the book and asked for artists to illustrate it, so I did: 

“The ship is made of books, its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink.” — The Night Circus

I took artistic liberty with the description, especially with that of the sails, since mine clearly don't have overlapping pages as the quote says. I tried overlapping pages multiple times, from different angles and overlapping in different patterns, yet they always looked too busy and never seemed to mold to the shapes of the sails correctly. Eventually I had to accept that the shape of a sail is absolutely dependent on the wind blowing behind it, and fortunately, that shape just so happens to be very similar to the shape of an open book. Regardless of my sails not sticking to the description in the book, I really do like my solution, especially since it perfectly fits the rest of my portfolio (i.e.: guitar-train, trumpet-hummingbirds, seahorse-hairdryer).

This piece also took me longer than usual to finish partly because I was trying out a new paper I found, called "Bogus Recycled Rough Sketch." Since the colours of the Night Circus are black, white and a splash of red, I tried out this paper so that I would have a set mid-tone from the start. That way, I could more freely and quickly achieve the stark blacks and whites of this colour scheme than if I had started on white paper.

Once I took the piece into Photoshop, the rest of the work wasn't as simple as just desaturating the drawing (making everything grey). Back when I was taught how to paint, I was always told to never use black, UNLESS if I a) mixed the black with another colour so that it wasn't just pure black (this is because of how light reflects off of different colours) or b) made the black out of other colours (such as green + red).

In this case, I had a layer of the original drawing colourized to a deep red, and then superimposed it with a layer of the original black and white drawing. That gave me the wholesome black with a mild tinge of red that you see on the sea. 

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