Winter 1990 – Where the Wolves are Red and the Foxes are Black

The little girl flashed a gap toothed smile. She patted the fur of the wolf skin. She said, “I killed him myself. Stupid wolfs. He kept trying to eat me. I don’t know why. I sure that squirrels taste better than me. I had bites all over. It hurt. Apa would try to catch him but he was faster and hid better. I gots tired of it. So I ‘cided to chase him. I got fingers. I got smarts. I got swords and knives and axes and clubs and I throws hard and fast. We friend now that he a hat.”

Little Red: Detail Work

Once areas of flat color have been laid down I can work on adjusting the details. If I don’t like a color I can adjust it. I use the colorization feature of Photoshop to change tones and shadows from their original grays to whatever hue fits best with main color of that area of the illustration.

I’m not quite finished with this illustration. I have a few small areas where I need to add or adjust colors but it felt done enough that when Nizzibet asked me to send her a copy I was happy to do so. Little did I realize that she ulterior motives. She used it for a present for a friend’s birthday.

New Hat Cup

I think it turned out pretty well. Any further adjustments I make will probably only be noticed by me. And any changes I make just make this cup more of a unique object.

Little Red: Flat Color

Laying down flat colors is the least interesting part of creating an illustration. Sometimes it’s fun but mostly it’s a matter of making sure that you’ve filled in all the little spots where you want a certain color or made sure that all the large areas are outlined properly so that you can use the paint bucket tool to fill the middle. I put all the colors on a separate layer than the black and white art. You could do your coloring on the original art layer but making any changes if you make a mistake would be next to impossible.

Little Red: Shadows and Tones

I Needs a New Hat GraytonesI prefer to finish as much of an illustration as possible on paper and save the computer for touch ups and special effects. I really like having a flat file filled with with completed drawings. I’ve used gray tone markers to shade the ground and Little Red’s skin. I used a B pencil for the fur and her dress. If I were intending this illustration to be black and white I might consider it done at this point.

This is a color piece, however, and color means Photoshop. I’ve got a shoe box filled with colored felt markers that rarely get a work out. I save them for the illustrations that I plan to give to people. When I’m creating an illustration for print or the web I do the color in Photoshop. It’s not because I think the program is better at color than the markers. I use it because it allows me to change my mind.

Tomorrow: Flat Colors

Little Red Inks

I Needs a New Hat InkedYesterday I posted the pencil drawing/sketch of this illustration. Today I’ve posted the inked version. I sometimes do illustrations that are just pencil drawings but, for the most part, I like to ink at least part of the drawing. Ink gives good strong lines and areas of black that pencils generally don’t. That helps define the illustration and give the rest of the art something to react against.

If I were doing a simple black and white piece I’d ink in a few more details with a pen and be done but this is a color illustration so there’s a lot more to do.

Tomorrow: Shadow and Tone

First Official Post: Little Red Sketch

Happy New Year! And welcome to my website. I’ve been posting sketches, drawings, illustrations, cartoons and various rants and rambles over at since 2003. I’ve owned and since 2007 but until recently those addresses were pointed at a blogspot site that I really wasn’t giving much attention. I’ve got an gallery, a gallery, a account, a myspace account, a facebook account and I’ve posted art here and there around the net. I’m a regular scattered 21st century netizen.

I’d also like to be more organized and easier to find. So, while I’m sure I’ll continue to update at my various other web addresses,  I’m going to be focusing most of my attention here at Skookworks. There’s a lot to be done to get this site into the sort of comprehensive shape I’d like so if you run across a page that seems unfinished it probably is. I’ve got three galleries posted (see the Galleries page for direct links) and have more in the works.

For my first set of posts I’ll be doing a process series; showing and discussing the stages of an illustration from sketch to finished art.

I Needs a New Hat SketchMy first step in any illustration is usually a noodly little thumbnail sketch to figure out the basic composition of the illustration. Usually that little sketch is a barely legible thing and I almost never scan it or post it. I generally don’t think about scanning anything until I’ve done the pencil sketch that I’ll actually use for the final illustration. One of these days I’ll try to remember to document the early stage sketches.

The character in the sketch above is currently named Little Red. Her name may change if something more unique comes to mind. You can see a finished illustration of her in a couple of the header banners for this site. (They’re set to post randomly so she may not be featured in the one that’s currently showing. Click the refresh button if you’d like to see the other banners. There are currently four available.) She’s a character I first created in an illustration I did for Nizzibet’s birthday. We both liked her so much that I’ve adopted her as one of the mascots for this site and have a number of projects planned around her. I’ve done a few other small pieces with her but this is the first large one and the first in which she interacts with other characters.

Tomorrow: Inking.