Ten years ago I made a series of six race car collages that screwed up my brain. See, I draw. I’ve always drawn. The idea of making images with cut paper seemed so foreign, and making these race cars was so crazy fun and weird and maybe 10% scary. It’s not digital, there is no undo, and it’s like trying to learn to communicate effectively in a different language. I know how a car looks when I draw it, but how does it look if I make it with paper and glue?
Mainly, I loved the process and I couldn’t wait to do more. But somehow ten years and about 35 books went by and I only periodically messed around with the technique. I have stayed in touch with collage, from afar. My friend Kevin Mercer makes lovely work, and I’ve read a bunch of books and seen some exhibits while I waited for the opportunity.
Well, waiting for opportunities is dumb. You don’t wait for them, you make them. So after finishing a picture book a few weeks ago, I blocked some time and got to work. The excuse here is an alphabet book I want to pitch, and these are practice images. Both are cut paper on pine boards. One is 10×10 inches and the other is 12×12. Both utilize magazines, comics, scanned images from an old plumbing and heating manual, and other printed ephemera. And the enjoyment has not slipped away. This is fun stuff and I can’t wait to make more.
Here are some process photos of how these things come together. The two pictures of the book are from “Audels House Heating Guide 1948” which was used for the robot parts in the rear of the blue truck, as well as the rear of the truck itself.
I was staring at the DKNG blog this morning looking at screenprints and came across an entry about Kevin Cyr’s vehicle paintings. I was, of course, slack-jawed and teary-eyed. I have collections of photos of cars and trucks, obviously, and my favorites that seem to transcend their purpose as reference for Everything Goes drawings are the ones that have some personality to them. Graffiti, decaying signage, special purposes, etc. Kevin Cyr paints these vehicles and my my my are they lovely paintings at that.
My favorite of course is the Ice Cream Truck series, one of which was on 20×200 a few years ago.
The cover design had to be indicative of the work that’s in the book, and I do believe it is. Cars and trucks, bikes and motorcycles, buses, construction vehicles, trains, and whatever else made it in the book and on this cover. Vehicles going this way and that way, all kinds of people riding and driving them, and even a friend’s blue and white striped Mini Cooper.
Once the final sketch was approved, I use that as the basis to create the inked drawing. I usually try to create my illustrations to the exact size that they’ll be printed. Everything Goes is going to be a big book — twelve inches tall and ten inches wide — so this was no problem. I draw the illustration using a big lightbox on nice Strathmore 500 series bristol with watered-down india ink, and use white gouache to carve out areas and add details.
If you take a look at the close-up image below, the wheels of the train, the white outlines of the train windows, the railroad ties, and the wing of the small black bird are examples of where I paint the negative space, or the white areas. When I inked the drawing, the area under the train was solid black. This part of the process is easily my favorite, as it’s a real joy to see these details appear and everything come together.
You may also notice that there is no type on the black-and-white line drawing. This is because when I do work like this I always draw the type and add it digitally.
Once these are all complete, they get scanned into the computer where I use Photoshop to color everything and piece it together. When it’s complete, I save it as a TIF file and send it to the designer at the publishing house (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in the case of Everything Goes).
Everything Goes: On Land is scheduled to be released on September 13. I’m currently working on book two of the series, which is called “In the Air,” and which will be published a year later. Lastly, “On the Sea” will come out in 2013. I don’t have the covers sketched for either of these two books yet, but they will be similar in idea and business to “On Land.” And of course I’ll post here about them when they’re ready to make their way into the world. Stay tuned!
I got done drawing and inking the pages of Everything Goes just in time, as it was really starting to be a tedious chore. Oddly, the inking part of a project is always the most satisfying part of a book. Especially after the ink goes down and I get to use the white gouache to carve out the details. However with the small brushes and the lightbox and the 8 hours a day doing this, my arm was hurting. Like really hurting. So I was greatly relieved when the final touches were put on the trains and I could move on to the color.
Coloring a book like this has its ups and downs. Right now its all ups and I’m really liking the way it’s looking. Here for a little Christmas bonus are cropped sections from two of the big spreads in Everything Goes. You get taxis and other cars “with jobs” and you get trucks.
I’m in the downhill run of completing the first book of the Everything Goes series. Everything Goes: On Land will be published next year by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins. I thought I’d post a few pieces of the illustrations as I complete them. These are just line-art and aren’t colored yet. They are small snippets of these huge 20-inch x 12-inch spreads that are just full of all kinds of trucks and cars and bikes and cars and motorcycles and more cars. And trains. But I haven’t got to the trains yet.
A year or so ago I drew an illustration of cars and trucks and stuff on a spaghetti-tangle of highways. This was commissioned by the fantastic toy-maker/card-publisher/gift-creator Mudpuppy and their art director Cynthia Matthews. I’ve done a few projects in the past for them, including the Air Land Sea puzzle and the scribbling monster journal.
Here’s the puzzle itself.
This puzzle got delayed a bit in the production, but was finally released last week. It’s in a really nice little box and I’m very very pleased with the results. I got my small box of samples on Friday and immediately set to work putting the puzzle together. Furthermore, I recorded this process and made a movie which you can watch right here. Then, after you watch it, you can go to Mudpuppy’s website and order a dozen or two of them.
I’m asking for a favor with this post. I would like to know if anyone can think of a kind of truck that begins with the letters K, Q or N. For instance, a Firetruck would be a letter F, a Moving truck is M, Elephant truck would be E. You get the idea. I need K, Q and N trucks. This can be a type of truck, like Pick-up truck. Or it can be what the truck transports, like Milk.
Just leave your idea in the comments. Much appreciated. You shall be thanked heartily.
A while back I made a big puzzle for Mudpuppy with the theme “Air, Land, and Sea.” Recently they asked me to make another puzzle, a little smaller for the 3+ crowd, with more cars. Last night this thing got finished and will be out June 2009.
As you probably know, I really really like drawing cars and trucks and things that go.