The Crystal Shop

So for background painting this semester we were given the choice to illustrate backgrounds for either the children’s book, Jerome the Frog, or The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  I went with The Alchemist mainly because I wanted to do more desert themed stuff.  (Maybe one day I’ll even go back and re-redraw VC or something, can always hope.)

Anyway, I ended up picking the scene in the book where it introduces the crystal merchant and how the hill his shop is on has recently been avoided by the local shoppers and that sort of thing.  I still have some editing to do on the final piece, but here’s what’s been done so far, plus my awesome commentary.

Crystal Merchant - Line Drawing

I think I spent about six hours working on the line drawing, but I’m not sure any more if that included the hour or two spent correcting perspective and the like.  It was dip pen on tracing paper, and I was really surprised I didn’t completely screw up too badly on it.  Overall, I really enjoyed the experience.

Crystal Merchant - TonalNext was the tonal.  The original was done in markers, but I beat it with a stick in Photoshop until it looked pretty.  I really liked how the markers acted on the Hammermill digital copy paper (I think that’s it?  It has an apple!) as opposed to the Canson marker paper, go figure.  It really absorbed the ink (read: eats money), but overall looked better because of it.  There were a few changes digitally to the line art — along with kicking all the lines back so they weren’t as obtrusive — but otherwise generally kept to the drawing.

Crystal Merchant - Color KeysNext were color keys.  These were done on an early revision of the tonal background.  Huzzah.  I ended up basing things mainly off the middle one.  Printed, they’re a bit more desaturated.

Anyhoo, shall post the edited final at some point.

As an aside, one of my biggest gripes about the book was the fact that nobody had a name but Santiago and Fatima.  Yeah, sure.  They’re important and awesome and all, but I like names; names are cool.  It also takes a lot less time to type someone’s name (most of the time) than it does to type out “the crystal merchant,” which becomes especially important when writing essays about the book.