A couple of years ago I agreed to do a number of black and white interior illustrations for a book for young readers. It was the story of two brothers from a faery village who are forced to undertake an adventure to save their people. Along the way they make several allies as well as enemies and, as such stories usually go, they learn a great deal about themselves and the world around them.
During the six months or so of character development and finished illustrations I learned a great deal as well. I learned that I could reign in my ADD tendencies and remain focussed on one story and repeating characters long enough to complete a book’s worth of art. I learned that my first ideas were not always the best ones and that the layout for the words and images was as important to communicating story as any other aspect of the book.
Most important of all, I learned that I could fall in love with simple pencil illustrations again, and even though most of the traditional art world undervalues the common pencil, that doesn’t mean that I have to. Sure, after completing so much B&W I was going crazy to do some color work and I basically took most of the last year and a half off to work almost exclusively in color on personal art, but because of the book project (as well as a some conversations at Pac Con) I have gone back to the simple pencil recently and I am really enjoying it. I’ll post more soon on this and where it is leading me. For now I’ll leave you with the drawings in this post, which are some of my personal favorites from the Faeries book.