Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Color study

Normally for my books, I don't do color studies. I just sit down and paint. Whatever feels right at the time, that's what I go with. I've heard about some illustrators who create elaborate color and value studies, and I'm thinking, huh? Must be nice. Not in Don Tate's world, on Don Tate's tight deadlines. To paint an entire book, comfortably, it takes me about 4 to 8 months. Uncomfortably, about two or three. Most times, I'm signed on to the uncomfortable plan.

But, with FARMER, I've decided to to experiment with color studies. Maybe it will save time by not having to repaint a color combination that doesn't work.

Sometimes when I'm working, I'll take a digital photo of a painting and experiment with its color in Photoshop, then I'll make the preferred adjustments to my painting.

I'm hoping — and praying — this image works for the cover. It wasn't my choice for the cover. I think it works great for the inside spread it serves, but on the cover, I was concerned about not showing the character's face. I love faces. But in this case, I'm hoping readers will connect with the back of the girl's head. I'm putting my trust in my publisher's and the author's judgment.

Excuse the sloppiness of the color studies. They're not supposed to be tightly rendered. Just gives me an idea of how I could lay down the paint without spending a lot of time with details.

Oh, and I'm taking Janee's advice and not doing any tedious underpaintings. Yikes! I feel nekkid without my burnt sienna underwash.


gail said...

Cool color studies Don. They have kind of a Ezra Jack Keats look to them.

I find the view from back interesting, leads your eye right to what she's looking at. (And make you wonder what exactly it is!) I think the study with the purple wall works best for a number of reasons. It will be interesting to see what they go with.

No underpainting! :) Tedious as they are, I find I can make all the decisions about value with my underpainting, then just have fun with color. Do you normally work with underpaintings?


rindawriter said...

It's just my own eye, Don, but I like the bottom right painting best! Maybe because it makes the girl in her pink dress stand out the most and thus focuses attention on her. Also, I don't know the story, but if the book IS about farms, farming, etc., in some way, the beige tone instantly clues you in to that as I do not think many farmhouses have brighter purple wallpaper! "Country" to quilters means colors that tend to be more brown-toned. Looks great! WISH I had your talent, brotha!!!