I have once again been given the opportunity to illustrate a book by Steven Paul Barlow. Steve's latest, "I'd Rather Get Blisters", is now available at Briar Hill Books. I will put a few of the illustrations on the blog in the near future. I thought I would use the first one to show my process for doing a pen and ink wash illustration.
This illustration was for a story where Steve relates his earlier idea for using a mountain bike to get to and from hunting and fishing spots in the wild. Unfortunately, his bicycle skills are a little shaky. I decided to show Steve out of control on his bike. I started with a lot of loose sketches.
At this point I wasn't sure how out of control I wanted him to be. I downloaded some pictures of mountain bike crashes as reference. I decided to have him be out of control but not crashing
(yet). After I came up with a pose I liked (lower right), I drew a tighter sketch. I added a fishing creel and a pole case. I selected the fly fishing equipment because the looser straps would add to the feeling of motion rather than a backpack tight to the body. Actually, I've never asked Steve if he fly fishes and this scene doesn't actually happen in the story. But that's okay, my Artistic License is still valid.
Next I trace the figure and bike in pencil on tracing paper tightening up the lines and adding stuff like the bike rack and boots. I worked on the background which I had only roughly indicated in the pencil sketch. The fisherman in the creek and the squirrel in the foreground are added because of my pet theory that a humorous picture is often funnier if there is someone in the picture reacting to the chaos.