Monday, 30 August 2010

Alternative techniques: white on black

Here is some more stuff from the Children's book illustration course. The teacher April spent some time introducing us to alternative techniques. Her rationale was that children's book illustration is highly competitive (like any field of illustration), so it was an advantage to have a wide range of techniques, so we spent a module on techniques that works white on black. 

Among other things we tried scraper board techniques.
I like the look, but this was a tedious technique and quickly made my neck ache. More fun, though also slightly more dangerous, was chlorid-based bleach on ink:

It is the kind of bleach you would use to clean your toilet or similar. First we painted a sheet of paper with ink, and then added the bleach. Because the ink is based on blue and orange, the bleached spots look somewhat yellowish or orange, according to how much ink and how much bleach was used. It looks quite nice, like lights in the night. However, the stuff is poisonous and a bit tricky to work with, so I don't think it is a method I will use again.

The thing about both of these techniques is that, well, you could probably do this much easier on computer. You probably wouldn't get exactly the same effect, but something that was similar enough, to make the effort in doing it by hand worthless. It is very difficult to get the "light in the night" effect with water colour, but you could probably make an ordinary watercolour drawing, scan it and subtly create the lights. As for the scraping board, see this beautiful webcomic, Digger, which is computer drawn. It doesn't look like scraper board, on the contrary, it has more layers than you could make with a scraper board. When I made the bird above, I realised I began to mimic the effects from digger in the chest area, but it was difficult to get the same multi-scratch effect without ripping the paper beneath.

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