These are two finished illustrations that I completed for an assignment for my Illustrations for Picture Book class. One of the things we’d been talking about in class is the idea of adding to the written word in order to create a mood. Since I’d done a very cartoony Little Red Riding Hood painting previously—bizarrely enough the last time I’d taken a course to do with children’s books—I really wanted to go in a different direction with this one and try full on spooky.
One thing I remember not being satisfied with in previous digital paintings of mine is the lack of texture. Even when I spent a lot of time laying in highlights and shadows as I did in my Hunter’s Best Friend webcomic, there’s a kind of flatness to the image that makes places like it feel emptier than I would’ve liked.
What I did with both of these two images was to overlay large photo textures to just create a little bit of “noise” in certain areas. I’ve got a folder on my hard drive that’s leftover from my computer animation days that’s nothing but high quality photos of things like wood, glass, metal, brick and so on that were meant to be used in 3D modelling. I dug into these to find a lace image that I put in to increase the detail on the curtains and a bit of painted plaster to get that ‘dirty snow’ effect between the trees. With each of the texture photos, I desaturated the image, increased the contrast and then used Photoshops blending options on either ‘darken’ or ‘lighten’ to create the overlay effect. I also knocked down the opacity by a lot so that the texture is just being hinted at.
Overall I really like the look, particularly in the first image where I spent a lot of time on those trees in the background. Initially the trees were just boring, multi-coloured stripes but with the textures in there they became my favourite part of that image. All in all, I definitely want to explore this technique further.
Finished: March 2013