Saturday, October 8, 2011
Illustrating "The Ice Castle" -- Initial Sketches
Of course, it all starts with the manuscript. Once I get those, crisp, new pages in my hands, I read the manuscript several times. The initial reading is done quickly so that I can get the overall feel of the book. The second time, I go through the text more carefully, marking up the typescript and making notes to myself about possible illustrations. During the third review, I refine my list and make visual and written notes about the look and feel of the characters, costumes, and the settings. Most of The Ice Castle takes place in the imaginary "Land of Winter", so creating a fantasy world that is grounded in reality is very important to the integrity of this story.
I was given a lot of leeway and creative freedom by the art director. She did urge me to tell the author's story visually -- in other words, it should be clear what the story was about without reading the prose. The Ice Castle is full of action, mystery and rip-roaring adventure, so it really lends itself to a cinematic illustration style. I was able to exploit unusual angles, close and medium shots and interesting POVs to underscore and heighten the action and emotion of the scenes.
The next step will be to submit those edited sketches and, once they are approved, I'll be able to begin on the finished illustrations.
In my next entry, I'll talk about deadlines and timelines.