April 28, 2007

> Sketch, graphite on bond, 5.5 x 8.5. (Click to image to enlarge).

After my run of muted, painted covers, I was asked to make the next cover to Fables more colorful and festive. The story features the cubs' 5th birthday party, quite a change from the lugubrious storyline unfolding thus far. With a group of characters, it's an interesting challenge to create drama and a sense of life with a gaze, the placement of hands, the interaction between characters and their environment, tension between repose and action. The circular, radiating energy of the cakes, the table, and the arrangement of characters is tempered by the verticality of the streamers and chairs.

> Drawing, graphite and blue pencil on Rives RBK, 5.5 x 8.5. (Click to image to enlarge).

Since the last few covers have been painted, I decided to create this image in photoshop where I would have more control over color and lighting effects. As the final drawing was taking shape, the cleaner lines revealed the deficient perspective in the original sketch. Perhaps out of laziness or obstinance, I've always fudged the perspective in my drawings -- sometimes it's more interesting to see the distortions of the hand than the calculated illusion of 2 or 3 point perspective. Even in the shallow space of a Vermeer, you'll find that certain elements don't line up where they should for the sake of an interesting composition.

> Final, Photoshop CS2, 7 x 10.5, 600 dpi., 16-bit RGB. (Click to image to enlarge).

I add some touches of crayon-like marks to the composition, the paintings of Cy Twombly and the scribbles of destructive 5 year olds in the back of my mind.