Friday, February 21, 2014

Scratching Into the Wilderness

My picture book is based on painter/illustrator (1882-1971) Rockwell Kent's last century stay in SE Alaska with his son 9-year-old nine Rocky. Kent's own journal in book form (Wilderness: A Journal of Quiet Adventure in Alaska) is a close resource in my research.  Written in diary entries, I occasionally turn to it for illustration detail and quick inspiration. The Kents were on the island during the winter months, so it's interesting to see what they were doing on any given day, even the same calendar day I am working!

Final art began this week. All goes well enough so far. Each illustration starts as a puzzle. Questions of blade stroke, white space, face emotion, light source, landscape and historic detail all have to be answered now and this can be difficult and time consuming to solve. It is like entering the wilderness, many unknowns around each bend of the trail.

I am at the black and white scratchboard stage. I am working with x-acto blades and to-size pieces of scratchboard. After transfering my sketch with white chalk to the black surfaced scratchboard and scratching away,  I will scan each finished scratchboard, clean the lines up a bit in Photoshop, then print on to watercolor paper. I like to complete a few scratchboards consecutively, then have a watercolor party with about of six or so pieces at a time. So I can't really say I am done with X, until all these stages are complete. Every medium has its stages.

Back to scratching!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY NINETEENTH, 1919, we have found ourselves— for the wilderness is nothing else.
- Rockwell Kent

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