Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Marks The Spot

In my humble opinion, I believe that, as an artist, the quality or the character of the marks you make is what makes your something more or less interesting. Study of mark-making has longtime been something of real interest to me. So it's no surprise that these test sheets (that are left over from each finished book I illustrate) are so compelling. I don't know if anyone else who may/may not be reading this gets anything out of this or no, but it gets me going.

First up, is a collage of color studies I did for the 4 main characters of this book. I printed up laser prints of each character (that had 4-6 of each character repeated on a sheet) and tested out a ton of different color combinations in watercolor. It was a real fight. Once I got to a happy place for each, I'd cut him/her out and tape down to a blank sheet. I went chipping away at color for each, until I had this little collage, here, of everyone taped to one page (to see how all the colors would work together). Also note the color wheel scribbled in upper-middle area here. I must've scribbled 5 or 6 of these throughout the job. Helps in developing color palettes. Anways, this was my master sheet for color matching from then on. Whew! (As usual, click on image(s) to view larger--in more detail.)

Next, maybe my favorite of the bunch. I love punchy black/white art. During inking, I keep a blank watercolor sheet to my side to test stroke my pen on before I brave drawing on my final sheet. Sometimes, too, I dip a bit too much and get way too much ink on the nib. In which case, I have to shake off some excess ink on the test sheet (see spots). Also did some test drawing here at times, and a few color tests when I ran out of room on other color test sheets.

I hit a snag when I was inking this drawing below (incidentally, the one I laid out my production process for, in a previous blog post). I ended up attempting to ink this thing 4 different times, if I remember right. Anyway, this is one outtake, but I never waste a good sheet of paper. Even if the ink job is a bust. I always keep a good sheet of same watercolor paper to my side to test the color and color density of the watercolor on the brush before I hit the brush to the final page. Color test sheets. I used this bum drawing to test color with here on out.

Color test sheet, to the max.

One of those other ink outtakes, with some scattered color test all around. There's actually some acrylic paint here, where I had to make some edits over the top of a finished watercolor illo. This was a first for me, but my color match skills as a printer came in real handy. Thanks to my old pal, top printer Sam Wilder!

And... One more color test sheet. Again, to the max.

Fun to look back on. Or is it really just me?


Anonymous said...

even the color test sheets are cool. thanks again for sharing. love seeing what's behind the curtain.

Matthew Cordell said...

Thanks for sticking with the blog!