Another Night of Life Drawing


I have been creating larger life drawings, I’ve always preferred larger scale. This is 18″x24″ on Tan Strathmore paper with oil pastel. I like to use oil pastel now because it’s not as fragile as soft pastel, and I’m doing them in sketch book form.

Gaar Ritual Illustration

It’s getting close to my deadline for the picture book, I’ve been so intent on reaching for that I haven’t spared anytime for this blog. I will try to post more of them once I’m under less pressure.

This illustration depicts the controversial Gaar Ritual, where a boy goes naked into manhood, receiving the trademark lines of the Nuer tribe across his forehead under a blade. The right of passage grants the him privilege to own cattle, marry, and raise a family. It is tradition, and important to the author, but how to illustrate it in a American child’s picture book? I showed him before he goes under the blade. In earlier times their would be more nudity, before the village was touch by the western world. A cow is sacrificed and distributed, he is at least present in the picture. On the right the author is looking back and reflecting on this day. It will be up to the author to decide how to describe this delicate issue.

Scanning Ilustrations

Ultimately illustration done by traditional media has to scanned into the digital realm. Some media scans better than others. Generally a flat surface is better than shinny. Watercolor scan and Gouache are excellent. Soft and hard pastels scan well, although in my experience the tooth of the paper is more visible under the scanner, and changes the appearance. Another negative is the delicate surface, it’s easily damaged.
This is why I chose oil pastel, it’s flat and scans well as shown here. The surface is very durable, and can be touched without damage. It can be harder to work with, but with experience it creates wonderful textures. I am very pleased with the scanning.

Walking to Ethiopia (Final)

“Walking to Ethiopia” illustration from “David’s Journey, A Lost By of Sudan.”
29×12″ Oil Pastel; on Pastel Paper

Another illustration with many people in it. I was happy though that I got it all done this week, because I need to get keep this pace to finish before my deadline. I enjoyed making these trees. They’re so gigantic but seem small without a point of reference.

School Under the Trees

Illustration for “David’s Journey; A Lost Boy of Sudan” 14.5×12″ Oil Pastel on Lt Brown Pastel Paper

With all the people this illustration it was overwhelming at times. It’s difficult to do small figures in pastel, and especially oil pastel. There are a few adjustments I need to make yet, but it’s a relief to have it mostly done.

David and His Village

Here is the completed illustration for David in Khor Wacow. This was challenging in deciding how to render people from different distances like the one of the walking crowd, but this one has a head shot. This works well, but I think I need to back and lighten the ground in the foreground for the text.