This weeks topic for Lilla's course was picture books. One would guess an easy one for me maybe, as I have illustrated a few books. But you are wrong! To be honest it has been the toughest assignment so far, maybe just because I already did picture books and vowed to push myself in this class. It took me almost all the week to figure out how to approach this weeks assignment.
One reason was the story, which is not a typical picture book story in my opinion, but perfect to stretch the brains in new ways. Lilla gave us "The Snail and the Rose Tree" by Hans Christian Andersen. We could choose to either do a spread or the cover but also do hand lettering. As the story is a bit morbid and kind of has a sad touch to it the thing I struggled with the most was deciding on the style of the illustration. We were to develop a snail character, that is engaging and would carry through a whole picture book. I new I did not want to do a simple snail so I pondered what my snail could be like and how to show that best. In order to not just make it the grumpy old fellow I kind of heard at first when reading the story for the first time, I came up with a hopeless artist snail, a musician that is a bit depressed by nature. Maybe not too original either but I somehow liked it and more importantly liked him. Another thing that needed to be figured out was the character of the rose tree. The story has a lot of dialogue between the snail and rose tree so I wanted to really personify the rose tree. Just one blossom with a face did not seem right though, so I gave my rose tree a rose tree fairy that sums up it's rather idle personality.
I also kept to my vow to work more traditionally so the piece you see below was created in watercolor, colored pencil and ink. The only thing I added in Photoshop is some highlights and I changed the hue of the hand lettered title, as this was done in black ink only originally.
I feel very good about this piece, as I think I pushed further but also stayed true to my voice. Hope you guys enjoy it too!!!