Jeannelle Pita | Getting to Ang Ink
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Getting to Ang Ink

I am now an inkie! Ang INK or Ang ilustrador ng Kabataan is an organization of kid lit illustrators from the Philippines. I’m so happy I got accepted this year. This was my second time applying. I didn’t think I’d get accepted- the existing members are so sooo talented. And so when I got the response for my application, I didn’t read it immediately just in case it was bad news

The story we had to illustrate was “Bully Big Pig” by Katti Sta.Ana. It’s a funny story about a naughty pig that terrorized a town by peeing. Let me tell you how I came about the final design.

Three years ago, the first time I applied, I submitted the first thing I came up with. I would make a few thumbnails sketches, select the one I liked best and then made it into a painting. This is me thinking that spontaneity is the best approach (and maybe a bit of laziness and wanting to get things done quick). While this is fun to do- it didn’t really expand my thinking and approach on the project and thus it resulted in a poor output.

And so this year I took my time with my application. I read and reread the script and highlighted the parts that I thought will be fun to draw. I began to make A LOT of thumbnails for these parts- nothing sophisticated as you can see below but just whatever came to mind. Just very loose drawings. The point was not to make things look good but to get my ideas on paper and experiment.

I realized that I tend to draw more slowly for the compositions I like. Repeating some elements and adding details here and there. The ones I liked best I redrew again as a thumbnail  using blue pencil and then traced over with a traditional graphite one. This is because I find it easier to make my compositions when my drawings are small. I would then scan these thumbnails  then enlarge in photoshop to the final size. Then I make my final sketch in Photoshop based on the thumbnail, scan these again and then trace this drawing into the watercolor paper.

The idea for the design of the people in the story or the Uli-li was from an old doodle I had in my sketchbook. The story was quirky so I wanted my drawings to look quirky as well. I rubbed a dot of of water soluble graphite onto the paper then smeared it with water using my finger, and a regular pink ballpoint pen.

I also made several character studies for the Bully Big Pig. At first I was thinking of including his wee ‘lil penis (hehe) since the story talks about his peeing A LOT. But in the end I decided it might be too obscene for a kids story.

And then I had to decide on the color palette that I will use. Again I made some thumbnails to decide on the color treatment of the streets. Here are some of the color tests I made.

Some experiments for the Ulilis and the pig
The final look for the Ulili’s and Bully Big Pig. I cut them up so I can put them on the color test of the street scene above to see if the colors work.

Once I decided on the color, I proceded to the final art. Here again I made some thumbnails of which colors would go where.

Here was the initial work I did for the statue. I ended up not liking this even after all the color thumbnails I made. I thought it looked too plain and not weird enough to sort of represent the tone of the story. So back to the drawing board.

So I made another batch of color tests. In the end I ended up limiting my palette to 3 colors. Green and pink contrasted well and so I made the pig green to contrast with the pink people. And then tones of gray for majority of the street scene.

I didn’t see that there was a size requirement for the artwork until about two days before deadline. And so I added the pink background. This was unplanned but I honestly think it looked better because of it. I also removed the white drops I painted on the scene where the pig pees on the drunks and stuck with some dark drops.

This post came out a bit longer than planned but I know that when I read, I like nerding out on details. And hopefully someone finds this post helpful or maybe interesting but definitely detailed. hehe Thanks for reading!

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