I'm excited to be working on a pair of new projects this spring for Feiwel & Friends. Liz Szabla, Rich Deas and I had such a great time putting together It's Raining Bats & Frogs that we've reunited for two more titles: All Kinds Of Kisses and How Many Hugs?. I don't want to give away too much at this point, but let's just say there's a lot of critter love going on.
The illustration style for this project is pretty different than the work I did on Bats & Frogs - really unlike anything I've done before. I suppose it's a little like The Hanukkah Hop in some ways, but it's a bit more... "painterly" than that. As usual, I've worked out all of the initial concept sketches on paper. Starting with pencil and paper helps carry forward a looser feel than I seem to be able to get with purely digital tools, although I do render the final colors in Corel Painter.
The main Painter tool I've been using on this project is a modified Impasto brush. To get different stroke effects I've been switching up the paper textures rather than changing brushes, and I've set the Impasto mode to Color rather than Depth, which I've discovered allows me to get some nice effects working "flat".
Because I'm not using much line work in this style, I'm depending on value and hue to create separation. So after I do the initial rough sketches, I'm creating a color script to help determine the values, layout and color flow throughout the book. That's been a huge help, and something I'll share and discuss more in a future post.
Taking on a new style direction is always a challenge and usually not the fastest way to work, but when it starts clicking it can be really rewarding.