Thursday, July 13, 2006

Legend Of the Christmas Stocking/Title Page

This is from my first fully illustrated childrens' book, titled The Legend Of The Christmas Stocking, published by Zondervan in 2005. I didn't write the book, but did all the illustrations. It is set in New York in 1815 and is a sweet morality tale about the spirit of giving. My favorite image from this book is this title page. I really got into showing a South Street seaport kind of place. I love History and doing this scene in a place I'm familiar with, set back in 1815 was a thrill! I took liberties with the place, of course, widening the street and making up storefronts and things in a romanticized version of what it might have been like. The boy in the foreground is the main character.
All the images were designed in Photoshop, Cararra, and Poser, and then painted in oil on canvas. I love the feel of paint and I have more control over color blending, but it's hard work. Plus, no "undo" button! I photographed a boy dressed in a costume for the front cover, but all the other pages had made up figures. On a few pages I found it helpful to use Poser to get the basic forms of the people and also play around with interesting viewpoints, but then I just drew & painted. It was quite a change from working with very photographic reference for clients who demand high realism, to trusting my hand and eye. It taught me a lot about trusting my abilities.
I used to work directly from my imagination and still do that in lots of areas on even realistic images, but for many years the emphasis has been on realism,- in the paperback industry at least.


Jen C said...

That's a reallylovely illustration - I hope that the book does really well for Christmas.

james Griffin said...

Jen c, Thanks for you comment!. This book was out for last Christmas, but like many of the Christmas books, they reappear year after year.