Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Alistair Art

Before I tackle my SCBWI 2013 Winter Conference megapost, I wanted to brag a bit about how awesome my promo postcards turned out.  I think I've finally figured out how to do the color in my 'Alistair' finals.  I wasn't happy with the watercolor/colored pencil finals I'd done last year - one looked too soft and babyish and the other was a legitimate mess. 

I'd meant to work on them again before the conference, and ... didn't.  Fast forward to this past Sunday and the sort of inspiration that only last-minute panic can inspire - armed with a few new sets of Photoshop brushes, I went to work on one of the most polished sketches in the book.  I finished it that evening and sent it off to Vistaprint immediately.  The postcards arrived Wednesday evening (thank god). I braced myself as I opened the package, having suffered over-saturation and muddy or unbalanced colors from practically every other print shop I've ever frequented.

The color was perfect, with a nice, subtle warmth the internet version above just doesn't convey.* Four for you, Vistaprint!

But back to the actual artwork... contrary to the promo image, Alistair and his sister inhabit a kind of retro, upper-crusty version of New York City.  (Think Eloise, but with sibling drama and rhyme.)  For the shape of the characters, I took my inspiration from the logo of my aunt's former restaurant, La Niçoise. 

(Speaking of which, I feel Pixar owes my aunt, and her late husband's business partners, royalties for the roller-skating French waiter idea.  Alfredo even looks a bit like my uncle.  Just saying...)

Obviously, the La Niçoise logo owes everything to John Held Jr.'s flapper illustrations.  I imagine a little bit of Tintin snuck into my sketches as well.  I "watched" Jeeves and Wooster to keep me company as I colored as well.

The cover still looked a little flat, even with the new brushes, so I merged it with the traditional watercolor/colored pencil version I'd completed earlier.  The earlier final had looked a bit rough in places, so adding the scratchy contrast of the pencil lines to smoother digital coloring added just the right amount of texture.  I'm looking forward to doing more images in this style! 

*As I was apparently too lazy to convert the file to RGB before saving it for online use.