Sunday, 1 March 2009

Comparative Research: Colin McNaughton

Specifically his illustrations for the poetry anthologies 'One of your legs is both the same' and 'Another day on your foot and I would have died'. These are admittedly fairly old since they're from my childhood...1994 and 1996 I think but they stand the test of time in terms of illustrations. I love the simplicity and expressiveness of McNaughton's characters in both his spot illustrations and his picture book. He proves that you can do both. His work has also educated me in some aspects of spot illustration:

1. Keep it simple. This isn't the same as a picture book where the image is equally if not more important than the text. Here the prime focus is the text and the images should just accompany/compliment it. Its also fair to point out spot illustration needs to be done much more quickly since generally the pay and turn around is alot less than a full picture book (Woody Fox who did the spot illustration for Astrosaurs said it usually takes him about 3 weeks, a week for roughs, 2 for finishing- and thats an entire book, averaging a spot every other page).

2. Avoid getting too close to the text. A danger with spot illustration is that your pictures will creep into the text. I think that might be the editorials problem however, the person who puts the book together.

3. Keep it fun. Obviously these are kids books- don't take the illustrating too seriously!

Also I think its fair to say its easier to do something like an anthology of poetry than it is to do a kids novel because you don't have to consistantly draw the same characters, if that's something you have a problem with.

Here are a few examples from the books.

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