Sometimes It’s Better to Start Over

The above sketch was my first stab at the first illustration of a new project. I’m doing a series of illustrations that need to look as if they were done in the early 19th century for one of the British penny publications. That’s kind of tricky. Early magazine artwork was usually pretty crude. It had to be produced quickly and it had to be simple enough to be mass produced. The art was etched onto steel or copper plates and then printed on the cheapest paper available. Many of the those early illustrations had their figures posed as if on the stage so there tends to be a static quality to the characters.

I got about a third of the way through inking this piece before I decided that I didn’t like how it was turning out. I’m not sure if I can say exactly what doesn’t work for me. Mainly the figures just look too stiff and posed. While that may have been the predominant fashion for illustrations of the time and media I don’t care for my version of it. If I’d managed to completely hide my normal style I might have liked it better. Maybe.

In any case, I’m redoing the illustration. I’m keeping the basic composition but I’m putting a little more life into characters. You’ll be able to see the results on January 1st. Stay tuned!