Tuesday, August 19, 2008

sally ann thunder ann whirlwind crockett!

Hey! It's Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett!

Back eons ago when I was in ye olde illustration school, we had an assignment to illustrate a scene from a tall tale. Somehow I stumbled across the story of Sally Ann, and illustrated her twirling her rattlesnake lasso. And no, I won't be digging that out to share. Earlier this year when we were coming up with ideas for the next batch of stories at Imagine Learning, I pitched the idea of Sally Ann. One of our writers Shar did a great job putting her own spin on the story, and I staked my claim on getting to illustrate it.

So here are a few scenes from the story. Young Sally Ann asks a panther to dance, and they become best friends. A bit older, she runs across this poor feller with his head stuck in the fork of a tree (who knows how he managed that). Turns out it's Davy Crockett! Once she saves him with her rattlesnake lasso, they get married and live happily ever after. Uh... apparently they didn't remember the Alamo.

Technical notes... done in Photoshop. I kept the characters on a separate layer from the background so I could blur out areas. Using the Gaussian Blur (in Filter > Blur...) was a great trick since I could reuse other backgrounds and copy/paste all over the place. I think it helped make the characters pop a bit more as well, so a nice added benefit of trying to save time.

I pretty much stuck with three brushes for these illos. I made a custom brush for drawing the lines. I started with a default preset spatter brush, then adjusted the spacing, size jitter and angle jitter (in the brushes palette) until I got a brush that draws a bit like a crayon. For the shading I used the non-customized spatter brushes, and then did all the touch-ups with my crayon-ish spatter brush.

I also tried making another custom brush using a round airbrush. I used that one to make all the leaves on the trees and background bushes. It didn't work exactly how I wanted, but it got the job done.

Once the illustrations were done, I put a layer of a sandstone-type texture over the top, and set it to soft light. Sweet as sugar!