Saturday, March 17, 2012

Young Goodman Brown #1

So I putz and doodle.  I'm always experimenting.  I love that, but I also have no idea if I can have a style or be consistent, which is an important skill.  I've always been inspired by illustrators (i.e. Quentin Blake, Ralph Steadman, and Beatrix Potter), so I am going to try to work on developing illustrations.  Plus, they lend well to ink and watercolor! 

In order to not feel pressured to keep the first style I attempt, I've decided to work on short stories in the public domain.  That way, I can try to be consistent in style with three different images per story, and then can move on to a different "look."  If I don't like it, at least I gave three decent attempts to get the hang of it.  Also, I'll feel less of a burden if I know I can move on to the next story and try again if I mess up.  Hopefully I can learn more about myself now that I have learned so much about others.

Below is the first watercolor of three before adding on the inks.  I am illustrating Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," which is a fantastic read!  Pick it up late at night to really absorb the creepy devil v. Puritan feel.  After reading it twice, I thought about the most impacting visual cues that encapsulate more than a snapshot of the plot and also give the atmosphere.  Then I researched Puritan clothing.  I sketched out lots of layouts and decided on the three with the best pacing and imagery.  Each one will have one color and then gray tones.

I am now at a stumbling block - the inking is where MY touch can really be added.  I'm okay with watercolors and feel that when I'm painting.  However, I honestly PLAY with inks.  It's not art, it's a visual puzzle to solve.  That's where my styling will come in.  Which style though?  Gah?!  Thick lines?  Varied lines?  Wood cut look?  Geesh.

I need to stop overthinking and just do it.

Easier said than done!
Later note: All righty - here is the final...
Lessons learned - 
  • I apparently am going "safe" for the first story - no weird interpretations, basically following the watercolor edges
  • Style-wise, I love adding thicker edges to...
    • The outside of shapes
    • Closer objects
  • Occasionally used hatching, but I am still uncomfortable with it because I can't make reliable lines
  • I used my Ahab pen, which smears like all get out, but I like its flexibility
  • Inking on lumpy cold-press paper is hard for creating smooth edges
    • Maybe try smooth hot-press in a future story?


  1. Great idea to move yourself forward!
    I thought of you today Gray :-)

  2. i love this idea! the first one looks great.

  3. intriguing-I will add this book to my list.