BEHIND THE SCENES True Crimes From Rhymes Square Pt. 4 - Rough Sketching the Whole Book
Now that we had all the characters under out belt, and a fair degree of the visual style of the book, the next step was to go through every book spread and provide sketch ideas. We had a few images that we had a pretty fair idea what we wanted the sketch to be, but for the majority of the book, the art direction committee--Andy Heidel (writer/producer), Elizabeth Daggar (Graphic Designer for the book, video, and promotional resources), and I--decided to have me whip up with about four variations for each spread image. We wanted a lot of ideas to look at in order to pick the right images for each.
So with the text laid out in the book format, the spaces for the illustrations assigned, and all of Andy's and Liz's preliminary visual notes and ideas in hand, I spent 6-plus weeks filling a sketchbook and a half worth of sketch variations for the vast majority of the book (with at least one rough for a few, but usually four for 85% of the images). So I played around with options that changed the camera view of the image, the character focus,and which part of the story in the related text to pull from. I also did some straight storytelling images along with some more conceptional-driven images as alternatives.
We met biweekly, picking our favorite--or favorites--and debating which was stronger and why. Liz would place our choices in the book template so we would see how each spread flowed into the next, careful of the potential repetitiveness of images following each other. We were also mindful of the "we've already done this" situation too. We crafted spot illustrations to fill in on spreads where the text did not fill out the leading side enough.
And later on, if we really liked an image but it was not relating to the text enough, either Andy would rewrite the text to fit or I would redraft the image to better compliment the text. It was a very exciting time of idea developing or redeveloping.
Below, as an example, are the four concept sketches for the Baa Baa illustration. I played a bit with active and passive images, character focus, and so on.
Below is the final sketch, which will be in the book. We added the Shoe Building in the final (vs the rough sketch) as it was soon to be visited by Friday and September in the story for another witness statement. By adding this element, it sets up an upcoming scene, which is just better storytelling.
After all of the rough sketching was complete, I could now produce some final sketches and some final paintings for the pitch and the Collector's Edition--which would showcase our pitch art in a complete book with the various stages of art from rough images to final paintings. More on that in Pt. 5.