The Chapter 11 illustration is probably the most ambitious one yet so I thought I would make a post about the process! People like that stuff, right? I hope you like that stuff.
I had a vague image of the city as a complicated, squarish M.C. Escher-looking place, and did a lot of obtuse little thumbnail drawings to figure out how to convey that in a way that made sense. Sticking to every single detail of Baum’s elaborate description of the place probably wouldn’t make a very readable image, so I tried not to do anything that deviated from the text too much, and focused on what I saw as the most important aspects: shining stone and metal and general opulence, a sense of total otherness from every previous location, and some shops and people walking around. Also a sort of sterility makes sense, in light of the characters’ experiences in the city and discoveries about it. A kind of interesting paradox I’m figuring out: if an illustration is to serve the story, it isn’t always the best thing for it to illustrate every single detail as written in the text.
I penciled and inked the final drawing at 8 by 12 inches— I pencil very loosely because I don’t like things looking too neat, usually. The inks are done with india ink and G-nib, which I have really only started using with this project and I like it a lot.
Inks are cleaned and colors are done in Photoshop in several layers: flat colors to designate everything its “local” color, and then one Multiply layer for general shadowy stuff, and then a few layers of soft light, hard light, overlay, or any other sort of thing to be tweaked endlessly until I am sick of it. This version is adjusted a bit from the previous one and I think it looks a little better! I will probably mess with it again.
A couple more chapter illos will show the City, so we’ll see a bit more of it. And it is really fun to draw, so I am looking forward to that!
Did you know! I have a new book out!