A couple of months I was invited to be part of a group show that will be on exhibit at the Brooklyn Central Library at Grand Army Plaza from June 11 - September 25, 2015. The theme is Fairytales and the show will be located in the children's section of the library.
I did a piece illustrating a scene from The Pied Piper of Hamlin. Here's a little bit about my process. First, I thought about what colors I wanted to use. It is a rather dark story, and in this scene, I wanted to show some ominous undercurrents in the illustration. I liked this color palette that was inspired by a Tea Collection clothing catalog. Here are some of the clothes and colors that caught my eye:
I also did a lot of thumbnail sketches to figure out the composition. For awhile I was going to do something like this (see below) in which the viewer is looking down on the piper and the kids following him.
I did a preliminary color study in Photoshop using a scanned in hand drawn more finalized sketch.
I decided it wasn't working for me, so I started over. I wanted something more simple and graphic. I envisioned dark shadows and silhouettes of the plants to signify a threatening conclusion to the story.
I did a second piece illustrating a scene from The Spider's Thread, written by a Japanese author, Akutagawa Ryunosuke. In it, Buddha attempts to help a sinner climb out of the depths of Hell when a spider's silk thread dangles down within his reach. The sinner, Kandata, once spared the life of a spider when he was alive. However, as Kandata climbs up to Heaven, he sees others trying to escape as well and he yells at them to get down. Because of his selfishness, the spider's thread breaks, and Kandata falls back into Hell.
As I am writing this, I am realizing that it is also a very dark fable! I guess I am just drawn to such tales -- I don't know why!
Here is a preliminary thumbnail sketch I did. I decided that a long narrow composition would be best to highlight the distance between Heaven and Hell.
Here is a more finalized sketch which I edited in Photoshop:
I did a color study and used the same palette as the Pied Piper piece, but used a lot more reds and peaches.
Here are some of my scanned in ink paintings of the mountains and plants. (I painted the trees and plants of the Pied Piper in the same manner).
Then I assembled and colored parts in Photoshop. Here is the final piece:
If you are near Grand Army Plaza, visit the library! It is beautiful and there are other interesting exhibitions there along with this one!