Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Truth About Witches

The Truth About Witches, a book I illustrated for Capstone Press, is out!

The book, written by Eric Braun, is a fun overview of witchiness–from folklore to the latest Hollywood blockbuster. I got to draw characters from The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretel, Harry Potter and even Tomie dePaola's Strega Nona!

While working on this book I came to the realization that drawing ugly is FUN! Fun and liberating. When drawing a witch, if I made the nose too big – who cares?! Heck, make it bigger! While creating these witch characters, the more exaggerated or twisted the better.

Drawing normal people–and in particular children–is more restrictive. If I draw a child with a big nose, there's a good chance that will age him or her; the child can quickly start looking like a diminutive adult.

I altered my digital-painting approach with this project by skipping a step. Rather than make one last precise and clean pencil drawing, and paint over that, I used my somewhat sketchy "rough" drawing underneath the digital color.

Why skip a step? Partially, it was a time-management issue. Also, I felt that my sketchy, "rough" drawings had more energy and life than the clean, traced versions. I'm happy with the final artwork and am glad I decided to streamline my process in this way.

Copyright page (and cover image) with a couple witches concocting a spell.

What does a Witch look like? This spread sums it up: pointy hat, rotten teeth, hairy wart and a pointy chin.

A witch with her familiar. And a very unlucky centipede.

The Sea Witch and the Little Mermaid. I dig the eels and crabs in the witches seaweed hair!


Bud Green said...

Awesome art as always Robert.

John B. Watson said...

Great work. This is my personal favorite of the books you've illustrated. I love the exaggerated character design and moody atmosphere. Congrats!

Unknown said...

Your illustrations are amazing!

Chuck Dillon said...

Sorry I missed this post. Wonderful work, Robert! I LOVE the illo of the with flying on the broomstick- the atmosphere is awesome.