Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cricket Magazine: Giant Worms, Colossal Fun

Greetings, Adventurers.

A couple weeks back, I was contacted by Cricket Magazine.  While doing research for an upcoming article about giant worms, they came across an illustration I drew for "Programs and People" magazine about the Giant Palouse Earthworm:

I did this illustration in the Precambrian era, so go easy on me.

Anyhoo, the good folks at Cricket asked if I would be interested in doing an illustration for their article.  And of course, I was all like, "Do worms love dirt?"  I tend not to be particularly fond of my old work, so I was happy to have the opportunity to get a kind of "do-over" with this illustration.  I'd be striving to put right what once went wrong, like on "Quantum Leap", accept with slightly less time travel.

The first thing I did was draw up some concepts.  Well, actually, the very first thing I did was sit down and think about how I wanted to approach the illustration.  I read the article, looked at reference photos, and wrote down a pile of ideas in my illegible note-taking scrawl.

Then I chose the three ideas I thought were the strongest.  And THEN I drew the concepts:

The crew at Cricket looked over the concepts and decided they liked the first one the most.  I then moved on to phase two: the official layout sketch.  This sketch is typically more detailed and full-size.  I rarely draw concepts at full size or full detail unless there's a deadline breathing down my neck.  The official layout is more precise.  A decent amount of editing happens here as well.  Not usually anything catastrophic, but noticeable:

After that, I move on to the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross 9 Stages of Illustration: Outlining, flat color, shading, struggling, second-guessing, editing, changing, more shading, and finally, acceptance:

It's interesting: I can't actually remember when I drew the original "Giant Palouse Earthworm" illustration, but the difference between the two illustrations seems stark to me.  Time, more practice, and changing taste meant that I made different decisions this time around.  Overall, I'm satisfied with the way the new one turned out.  I think the craft is strong, the composition is decent, and the colors are interesting.

There are always at LEAST a few things in every one of my illustrations that I dislike.  And I could list them, but I'm not going to.  Not this time.  This time, I think I'll just accept that I had fun with this project, that it turned out pretty well by my standards, and that I'm happy with it.  And I'm going to leave it at that.

Don't worry, I'll be back to my usual, overly-critical self soon enough.


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