Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Holiday Spirit

© 2011 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

As the holiday is upon us, I thought it was time to do a special illustration to get me into the holiday spirit. Of course, I wanted some humor in the piece so with paper in hand, this is what materialized. The idea behind it is the little boy getting a "special gift" he dreamt of the past year. The big questions are how did Santa get him into the small box and did the boy eat his Wheaties that morning in order to lift him. I think each of us would love to get a monster as gift. Well, if he/she was a nice one.
The entire illustration was created in Photoshop. After scanning in the sketch, I added a gray tone to the drawing in order to establish a light source which came from the top left. This allowed the boy's face to stand out.

I then duplicated the gray layer and used the saturation tool to change the tone to a color. The layer was made to "multiply" the previous layer which gave me a dark base to work the final color.

The next step in process was to block-in the color. I wanted the boy's pajamas to be a cool color against the warm tone of the monster. 

I continued to block in the color with the boy's face and the other features on the monster. 
This is the  final result. Keeping the cool colors mostly on the boy allowed him to stand out against the warm tones of the other parts of the illustration. Final touches were a wisps of hair, lines on the arms and legs of the monster, details on the box, and the highlights. i pulled a few dark blues into the shadows of the other components to pull everything together. The drop shadows need a touch of purple to add some pop.

After completing the piece, I realized that many of my pieces of late have been vignettes so I need to do a series of illustrations that have environments or situations. I like the direction the illustrations are heading by working in Photoshop so time to keep pushing forward.

Last weekend I wend to a workshop in New Hampshire sponsored by NESCBWI. Guest speakers were Sally Mavor who spent 5 years working on the illustrations for Pocketful of Posies. To see her fabric work up close was simply amazing. She hands stitch every piece. There was a giveaway so I won a signed book from her. Jennifer Morris and Carlyn Beccia did a digital workshop where they shared their tricks and tips. Carol Goldenberg shared her process of designing a children's book. Casey Girard and Anna Boll did a wonderful job putting the event together so a big THANK YOU to each of them.

Time to enjoy the weekend so I will leave you with this quote:
"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." ~ Walt Disney


theartofpuro said...

Love it:)I know a lot of children happy to find a cute monster in Xmas gifts:)

Russ Cox said...

Thanks! I know my kids would have loved one when they were younger.

Helena Juhasz said...

Love the breakdown of your artwork and your great portfolio (ie. the colours, layers and dynamic composition and especially the monsters)!

Caryl said...

Thanks for describing how you do this artwork. It's really neat to read about the process. And what a great picture -- love it!

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