Traditional painting exercise

I used traditional watercolour and brushes to brush up on the process that a child may use to draw their favourite characters. I selected a minor player in the Kitten Mews series of picture books that are in development. 

The elephant’s Gerald, who will have a sibling (also an elephant FYI, as you know I’m above creating unnatural chimaeras in the laboratory of my imagination). The musical family duo, ‘Elephants Gerald’, will be playing somewhere in one or more of the stories.

Development artwork

Watercolour playground

I used an elephant drawing in a text book for reference and replicated the watercolour style to understand the paint flow and ink line interaction.

Traditional watercolour painting of a cartoon elephant
Traditional watercolour painting of a cartoon elephant with markup for the next version

This development piece brought out some considerations for the final character design as well as how the paint should look and behave.

Sketching Gerald's pose

For the digital version, I changed the pose and introduced Gerald’s trunk just in case he needed iton his journey to Kitten Mews.

Pencil sketch of an elephant character carrying a suitcase
Gerald Elephant and his trunk, his suitcase and a ticket to travel to Kitten Mews

Final artwork

I used Photoshop to colour Gerald, drawing on the traditional media experience. I added paper texture to complete the pseudo-traditional feel.

Digital watercolour of an elephant character in a suit with a case
Elephant Gerald packing his trunk just in case

Look out for Gerald and his sibling, Gerald[ine?] performing in your town!

Jeff West

The J in the FayJay world

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