Friday, June 17, 2016

So you want to do book art?

A friend posted to facebook.
This is something that many people do, but this particular post caught my interest.
It was asking if anyone would be interested in doing some artwork for a book he was writing.

I have always thought that it would be fun to do this! Illustration isn't one of those things I went to school for, but I've always loved doodling and drawing. So doing more in it is always interesting to me...
So, I said I was interested and he offered me the spot of drawing 3 maps for the book. I thought, how perfect! I love drawing maps, my dad and I used to draw maps for fun, I'm totally, completely prepared! Hah!
Did you know there is a difference between drawing maps from your head and drawing maps of the existing world? The difference is that it's hard…
Where would I begin?

The first map needed to be of the world (from France to Mt Ararat)
getting the profile of the world is difficult, so I started with a clean map…
Clean? Man, shores are hard!
I then remembered that the inside art was black and white… no blue?! What do I do? Well I have, black and white to work with, let's do black!
I unfortunately don't have much of the rest of this maps process pictures, but here we jump a few steps:
I think black turned out pretty good, you may also look at some of the continents that aren't near the routes and go, um Michael they don't totally look right. This was actually intentional, the time period of the book is during the byzantine Empire. Though this is a great Empire, I wanted to make a map that someone might due during that era. Maps of the past are really interesting, (look up a few), some are really well done, some lack some accuracy, most are really only focused on the main thing related to that particular map. I wanted some things 'wrong' to give the impression that the Cartographer's concern was the parts related to the route from France to Mr Ararat. Though it's a minor detail I enjoyed throwing it in! 
I cleaned up the colours and added names that were important, and boy do I like it! But boy did it take longer than I thought it would! 
Moving on…
Constantinople is the next map. When researching this place (which you can't find today, Why? well listen to 'They might be Giants' Istanbul song and hear for yourself), I found many maps. Many MANY  Maps! They were similar yet widely different! 
I chose to do another unique (in my opinion) approach to the angle:

I really enjoyed this view point and I really liked how it turned out, so many walls!!!
Moving on!
Map three was the nicest for creative purposes because it was a specific place, but with liberal interpretation of what it might have been like back then.
See in St. Albain France is a Castle currently called the 'Chateau' though there isn't much left of the old Castle (it's still worth looking up), I got to take what was there and add to it!

This was fun! Making the Castle was such a delight! If you draw and have never drawn a Castle, you should, it's quite a bit of fun…

Anyway after some talking the author asked me if I'd like to do the cover as well!
Oh man, I wasn't sure I could do it…
But I wanted to do it!
So he gave me a description, and I got to work on some rough ideas…
He mentioned that he liked the middle most sketch (which happened to be my favourite as well)!
So then I went about taking that, and making it bigger and such that I could use it in Photoshop… Did I mention we don't own Illustrator?
So I typically draw something, scan it, work in photoshop, then print off things and draw on it and scan it again… it's a lengthy process but works decently well…

This is an example of this process, if you look you can see where I erased things that weren't drawn well and needed changing (you can also see where the scanner messed up the side)…

After a draft, Thomas (the author) asked if there could be more rocks… so I printed off this, so I could draw rocks to add in…

To the right you can see where I drew the profile (which fit the last picture's frame)
Then I photoshoped rocks…
Nothing to impressive so far right? But process is fun to look back on and go, wow, that's where it all started!?

What's this you say? This is a picture of my wife holding a lamp. I needed a model for the person holding a torch (not the British version, you know flames and such)
I had the hardest time getting a torch to look right with fog. It doesn't do what you would think it would do… I thought it would light up everything really well… it doesn't. Really flames on sticks only light up a small area around themselves… so then I got this…
My wife is cute...
Doesn't look good yet, right? But it's coming along…

Finally here is an almost finished copy

She looks great right? Non-descript, person holding torch, check!
Big tall cave like structure, check!

Door with symbols, check, fog and ice, check, rocks, check!

You may be wondering as to the top of the image, yeah this was added to make room for the title of the book and the author's name. I'd forgotten originally to have a space for that! Silly me! That's kinda important!

ooooh ahhh...
I was actually surprised the day it all came together and looked like this… I was like, wow, did I do that?! So cool!

But wait there's more!
A back cover!

Notice all this white space around it?? Yeah I forgot that for the longest time, and I probably drove the Author crazy, everytime he asked me to put it in, and I kept not understanding it's importance… it's part of the printing process…

But there you go! The book is out now too! So if you'd like a copy for my art being in a book then order it! If you want to read it, I'll take a moment to mention that the author has two books!
(also if you click the link and for some reason it's only a link to buying the digital copy, then wait a bit, I'm told the ability to buy a physical copy will show up soon).

I Had a lot of Fun doing this! So many thanks to Thomas for hiring me to do it! I hope you all find it exciting enough to buy a copy (support up and coming authors)!!!
And if you have a project that needs art work for it, let me know! I'm sure between my super talented Wife and my aspiring to be like her talent, we can probably make you something pretty great!