Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Brief History of the Pumpkin Dream: (Part 6) - Swing You Sinners!

Continued from:
A Brief History of The Pumpkin Dream: (Part 5) - Monsters from the Id

Okay, so finally, I found my way to the end solution for illustrating this book project - Inkscape (a vector-art freeware program). Contrary to the shading and modeling of images occurring in the previous blog (with Corel Painter 11), the actual goal was to create simply-designed characters that could be easily manipulated for every eight lines of the poem, whenever a new image was needed.

Coming from years of working will Adobe Illustrator (and still a bit sad about Illustrator not being compatible on the new system) the learning curve was frustrating. I slowed down quite a bit to read the software instructions, and decided to at first just try to work with simple shapes - combining them, splitting them, playing with the line points, etc - which wasn't too far from my final goal. And here are a couple of the early character drafts with Inkscape :

Our main character here in mouse outfit.

her name was Olive Green...
Trick-or-Treat Witch
(Olive Green absolutely only accepts coven-approved sweets).

a worrisome pitchfork in troublesome hands...
Duo of Trickster-Treaters

Also, at this time, I was re-ingesting lots of 1930s animation for inspiration (see end images part 4). In particular, I have always been fascinated with 1930's Fleischer Studios (Koko the Clown, Bimbo, Betty Boop). I would set the screen on freeze, and pencil sketch the images.

The next test was to see how well I could recreate characters from source sketches. I had sketched the tree below from a great little piece called "Swing you Sinners" (see YouTube video below) that involves a character who finds a soul full of trouble when he gets caught in a graveyard. The character below is one of the singing trees in the graveyard, and it turned out that InkScape was nice for pen-tracing sketched characters with the Wacom.

swing you sinners

So between the tree (with a few borrowed and scattered limbs), and maybe the walking house near the end, etc., together with tons of old school Halloween inspiration... the image below was my first of a few versions that finally culminated in the final style for the imagery:

north wind (version)
(The North Wind (Peter Max ala Saw) was nixed here for a more Halloween-ish sky).

Whew, well this generally decided, this then started two months of intense illustrating! For every eight lines of poetry,  my goal was to create a drawing - 37 illustrations in all...., so, as far as the blog is concerned, I think from here I'll take a break on this whole "history" of the book set-up and maybe just dabble in a bit of postings about sketch to digital translations... perhaps...

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