For the 52nd cover to Fables, I was told to depict a conflicted
Pinocchio and Gepetto in a forest. Also, there was going to be a backup
story featuring Rapunzel and one of the Crow brothers, so I was asked
to incoporate that somehow into the image. Unfortunately, Vertigo
didn't send me a script to read for this issue, but I tried to expand
upon the concise information I was given.
graphite on bond, 5.5 x 8.5" NFS.
My first sketch depicted father and son gathering wood while
Rapunzel's hair cascades down the background. I liked this sketch, so I
was disappointed to hear that Bill Willingham envisioned something
quite different and wanted to feature Pinocchio more prominently. My
natural inclination was to avoid melodrama and focus on the interaction
between characters -- the feeling and composition created by the
position of limbs, the direction of a gaze. In this case, the drama of
the piece is diminished by its indirectness, ie the way the gaze is
pointed into the picture plane rather than outward, the characters
gathering/chopping wood rather than expressing explicit emotion, and
the surreality of the hair.
graphite on bond, 5.5 x 8.5" SOLD.
sketch was far more direct, but unfortunately it didn't leave room
conceptually and compositionally for Rapunzel's hair, which was
something I hated to lose in the first sketch. But it was approved, and
I blew up the sketch by printing it onto 4 letter size sheets,
measuring 14 x 21".
acrylic on grey Rives BFK, 15 x 22" NFS'
transferred the drawing onto a sheet of paper, drew the figure in blue
pencil, fixed and coated the drawing with acrylic gloss medium, and
proceeded to paint. At this point, I had figured out that I would
incoporate the Rapunzel element in the logo and decided to paint it in
rather than make another drawing and paste it in Photoshop. The colors
were mostly ivory black, white liquitex gesso, and titanium white. I
wish I had used some reference for the wrinkles in the clothing, but I
was pressed for time, and finished the painting in a day.
Photoshop, 7 x 10.5" @ 500dpi
After some quick
color balance and level adjustments in Photoshop, I was done. I
actually prefer the pre-manipulated version, but it wouldn't work very
well in print. "Not enough contrast," as the cover police at Vertigo
Close-up on Pinocchio's face.
There's not much
paint on the face, and a fair bit of the paper (coated with some
transparent ochre for texture) shows through. Actually, this could act
as an underpainting for a much more rendered and fully realized
painting. I've always liked the directness and simple means of
underpaintings, (Mark Tansey's work comes to mind), and sometimes the
beginnings of paintings are more fresh and full of life than the