Sketches from Illustration

These are some pen sketches I did in Illustration and Illustration Style.

And this, which is for 3 Cups of Tea, a book that reads like an early 20th Century adventure novel. It's about a guy who goes climbing in Afghanistan and winds up wanting to build schools for the poor people living there. I don't think this came out too awesome, though the girl looks like a cross between a purple ninja and a Medieval Virgin Mary.


Transgender Day of Remembrance & EcoFest

I made this targeted at people who don't know about the holiday and who aren't really aware of any problem, so I kept it really simple. I didn't intend to make a dichotomy between being trans, and being gay or straight, and I hope it isn't read that way. Queer would have covered things nicely, but it is often taken as a slur and would have been confusing. I also know there are many shades of lavender between the binary of boy/girl, but how to put that across as quickly and easily as possible for people who don't? Nuanced yet simple? Very tricky.

This is for my college's annual environmental festival. This year's theme is to be food and a sustainable New York City. Those donuts were delicious, by the way.


The Jungle Book

This was for my children's book project. I wonder if I made Mowgli look more African than Indian, though giving him dreads made sense to me. I mean, I don't think a kid raised by wolves would have silky straight hair. It would get frizzy and lock up in spots even if he were Chinese.

Some depictions of Mowgli are quite pale. There's a lot of variety in skin color with native Indians, but a pale, European-looking Mowgli is weird to me. I mean, one of the cool things about Mowgli is that he's an Indian boy, not a English dude like Tarzan. He's not foreign to the village near his jungle. And there are lots of children's stories about English kids, not so many about Indian ones.

I originally used red to denote shading on Mowgli's body, but then I decided it was better to use a 6B pencil. Pressing harder on a regular pencil gets you darker, but with a colored pencil it just makes the color more saturated, which doesn't work well for shading. In fact, I went back over Mowgli and added yellow and pale brown (same as the tree) to his skin, after the intial round of red and 6B, to correct my problem with saturated shadows.

The second problem I had with Mowgli is that I inked him after coloring him, and it looked bad. I thickened his outline, then selectively thickened the lines within his body along more raised forms, like his cheeks. I still think his eyes need work.

I used black ink for Bagheera to distinguish his black fur from Mowgli's dark hair and pencil shadows. I think that was a good choice, because otherwise there would be too little contrast.

The two layers of jungle are cyan with green over it, and yellow with green over it. I didn't have access to much variety of green pencil, so I had to mix it on the paper.


Urban Animal Alphabet

I had to design an alphabet for my typography class. I had many ideas, such as a hair alphabet, and a face alphabet, but the professor liked my drawings of animals.

There are a lot of alphabets based on animals, but I tried to base mine not on exotic jungle beasts or zoo animals or farm animals or anything like that, but on the pets and pests we have in New York City. Originally, I used a human as my Z, but my professor insisted I keep my alphabet "consistent".

Sometimes it was tempting to get a bit uncommon, with bats or red-tailed hawks or owls, but I restrained myself. The least urban animals I included were a chipmunk for C and a pet ferret for N. I regret not saving a spot for a roach, but they're not very evocative of any particular letter shape. It was hard enough coming up with a different animal for each letter (though I did include 3 dogs).

The animals are, in order: Rat, pigeon, chipmunk, possum, hornet, dragonfly, squirrel, raccoon, millipede, grasshopper, mantis, mouse, spider, ferret, earthworm, moth, bulldog, house fly, cat, tern, centipede, chihuahua, ant, two-winged thingy, Asian long horned beetle, and spaniel.

Inking this was a bit tricky, because the figures are so small. I usually use a two-tipped marker to do everything, but this time I needed to switch to a micron for the finest details. I used the finer point of my marker for outlines and thickened my micron line for features within each figure's body that could use it, like mouths or tails. I was inspired by the original guy who did Spy Vs. Spy, who I heard created varying line widths using nothing more than an unvarying technical pen.

This is a Xerox of the original, which I have to mount on matte board tomorrow.