Crow Not Crow - Color Scripts

I've been teaching my students at Hollins about Color Scripts. They're something animators use in Hollywood - planning out the way the color/palette of light (or atmosphere) changes over the course of time in a film. Well, picture books move through time too, so they also need Color Scripts. Here is a Color Script for Crow Not Crow, the picture book by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple that I'm illustrating for Cornell Lab Publishing Group. Here's how my first one looks. It's a little rainbowy at this stage. Much of that will be eradicated in the rendering.
     I'm doing these partly to relay the passage of time, but also to help me figure out the color of my background washes. It also a good opportunity to test out different papers and noodle out how I want to render my layouts. For instance, these are tests with a yellow background and a scarlet background.
I don't know if you can see the issues, but I can. The scarlet didn't pull out enough, making the house very pink. That could be fixed as I layer watercolors, fixative, and varnishes (which then require a varnish/watercolor mix as straight watercolor won't stick to varnish). The sky is a mix of watercolor with varnish, which is why it stands out better. But it seems like an uphill battle in which I'd lose a lot of my original line drawing. Hm.
     The method is inspired by Bernie Fuchs, and demonstrated by Mary Jane Begin this summer at Hollins. I saw a work-in-progress image by Bernie online, and it looked like he blocked in various color washes in his backgrounds, rather than doing one color wash. So, I'm trying that. Everything I'm doing is by hand - no digital! I'm loving it, but I'm also learning, so I'm getting all of my mistakes out of the way at this stage. Here's an experiment on a burnt umber wash. Hm. I'm not getting the light that I want.
Looking at my Color Script above, I can see that I'm going through three or four basic stages, from an Antwerp, to a Yellow Ochre, to Cadmium Red, to Ultramarine. Keeping in mind that warm light creates cool shadows and visa versa. So, I'm trying another Color Script, using those colors as washes, saving some of the white paper where I want serious light to shine through. (This time on Arches 140lbs paper vs the Fabriano 140 I used for the first one, and the 4-ply Bristol I used on this burnt umber one.)
Truly, this is all experimentation at this stage, but I'm having fun. My goal is to not have many/any decisions left to make when I get to the big finals. It will be interesting to see how fast this goes as I'm thinking about doing them production-line style - washes first and then slowly building them up from there. It will help to keep them consistent.
     I have to admit, I love what's starting to happen here, even if they aren't quite working yet. You should see them in person! Jane did while she was in town for the book festival and she loves them, thank goodness! This will be the first time I've done a picture book where I have actual original art to show when it's all done - wow!
Update: Dangit, the Arches 140lb hot press really is superior to the Fabriano...and about twice the price. UGH!


Jane Yolen said...

I loved seeing these in person and also having this record of them here.


Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

:) e