August 5, 2007

> Thumbnails, graphite on bond, 8.5 x 11".

For this month's Fables cover assignment, I was given a bare indication of the plot -- basically, Ambrose fights a giant troll. I had to find some point of interest and conflict beyond a simple confrontation between a knight and a giant creature. After some sketching I decided to have the troll emerge from a waterfall, which would not only heighten the drama but help play up the sense of scale. Also, this idea would differentiate the image from the multitude of troll illustrations done throughout picture book history.

> Thumbnails, graphite on bond, 5.5 x 8.5".

The idea was set, but I had trouble finding the right composition. I was moderately happy with the thumbnail on the lower right, so I scanned it in and comped it up in Photoshop.

> Sketch, graphite and ultrachrome ink on bond, 5.5 x 8.5".

I enlarged the thumbnail and printed it out in light blue. At this point, I came up with the idea of turning all the stones in the piece into troll-like faces after having done some research in Wikipedia. The wiki entry included a picture of a stone worn away by water to resemble a troll, believed in folklore to be a troll "petrified by sunlight or curses." Such providence that I started out with a waterfall.

> Sketch, graphite on bond, 5.5 x 8.5".

I abandoned the sketch since it looked quite boring, and quickly redrew it into something much more interesting and direct.

> Painting, acrylic on Rives BFK, 15 x 22".

Working monochromatically, the painting took 2 days to finish. Memories of Iguazu falls guided me in creating the water effects.

> Finish, Photoshop CS2, 7 x 10.5", 600 dpi.

A few minutes in photoshop, and we get some verdant, mossy stones as the troll emerges from the emerald waterfall.