Saturday, December 08, 2012

"While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping."

 Today I am very honoured to share with you all a guest post from the Illustrator of my books. My dear friend, Clair Caprice! You shall now have a chance to see the work she goes through for her drawings.

Salutations. I am Clair Caprice, Miss Jack's illustrator. She has probably mentioned me, but maybe you weren't quite clear on who this elusive personality happened to be. Let me 'splain.

No, it is too much. Let me sum up. And pay attention, because there will be a quiz afterward.

I write, primarily. Nothing you've ever heard of, because I've never published any of my work. But I write. And every once in a while I stop to eat, or sleep a few hours, or go on a secret mission. Everyday stuff that I'm sure all of you also do. And if I'm not writing, I'm probably watching a Disney movie. 

When I started illustrating for Miss Jack, I dropped out of the write race for a few months and concentrated mostly on drawing. That is not to say I am some kind of professional -- not in any sense of the word. This is me when I draw:

You can see Cheeta Anita creepily watching me in the corner.

Today, just to give you a peek into the mysterious methods and techniques I use, I am going to draw a portrait of the lovely River Song, played by Alex Kingston on Doctor Who.

First I find a picture I like. Usually I draw from memory, but since I want this one to turn out really well, I'm going to use a reference photo. I always used a reference photo when I was illustrating Haphazardly Implausible.

I don't have any special equipment, and I don't need any. Here is my trusty mechanical pencil, stocked with plenty of lead (I use 0.7 because I'm picky and diehard), and a sheet of sketch paper (I don't use a particular brand because I'm not picky, and I'm pretty flexible).

I get a few loose lines down to mark the general shape of her face. River's face is almost a perfect oval. Ears go between the eyebrows and the tip of the nose. Eyes sit right about the middle of the head. By the way, I've darkened the picture just so you can see -- the first few strokes are always much fainter than this. It makes them easier to erase later on, or cover up with shading.

Now I darken and define prominent features, like the bridge of the nose and the curve of the ear and the line of the jaw. River has soft lines, not harsh angles like the Doctor. 

Now for detail! Eyelashes, eyebrows, lips, hairline, etc. River has very expressive eyebrows. They convey a lot of emotion, and in this picture she's giving us a really sassy look. The little smirk on her lips also says a lot. (I feel like I sound really cheesy...)

Shading!  This is the best part. River's about to jump into 3D. The light is coming from her right, a little above her eyeline, so the shadows will fall on the left of her face. Her earring that's showing doesn't get shaded, though, because I want it to stand out and look sparkly. I like sparkly things. I forget what it was called, but when I was about eight or nine, all my friends were wearing this glittery stuff on their skin. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

The background is nice and boring, so I don't have to spend a lot of time on it, and the lack of detail prevents you from being distracted from the main subject. And that's pretty much it. Ta da!

For the illustrations, I often did have to add in a complicated background. I'm better at drawing faces and hands than buildings and roads and such, so a lot of times I used a sort of 'map' to help me with things like foreshortening and perspective. After I had the basic background down, I added in the silhouettes of the characters. Drawing the characters was always the best part. The hardest one to draw was probably Tony, though Kirk's kilt did take a lot of work, and the easiest was Darcy. 

Here's the finished drawing next to the original still (which is from Time of the Angels in case you were wondering).

Many thanks to Jack for talking me into this; it's been lovely and I hope you all enjoyed it.
Au revoir!

 The quote is a line from one of Poe's works. *Grin*

Enter to Win a Free signed Copy of Haphazardly implausible!!

 Through the weeks of December 1st - 13th post about a book which has stood out to you recently - it would be preferable if this is a new book just coming out or which hasn't been out very long but it is't required.

 In your post, tell about what drew you to this book. (Cover, summery, author, website.) Tell others about it, and if you've finished it, you can tell us what you enjoyed about the story.

 (If the author has a website or blog, you might even leave a comment there to tell them about the post. Not required.)

 Once the post is up link back TO THIS PAGE. DO NOT leave the comment on my blog or it will not be counted. (As I won't be able to keep track of them)
 Leave a comment at the bottom of this page along with the link to your post. (I will be reading all the posts.)
 The comment will enter you in the giveaway.

 You may enter more then once, but you must do a new post for each comment, and it must be about a different book.

 Spread the word about new books you've discovered! 

 The winner will be contacted on the 13th. Their book will be mailed out the 14th so it will reach them at the same time as the others. I am excited to read your entries!



  1. You're a wonderful artist, Clair! I've loved seeing all the pieces from the book that Jack has revealed, and I really like this one of River--you captured her perfectly!

    I look forward to seeing more of your work!


  2. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe! I love that poem! :D

    And the illustration is very good. Makes me wish I had kept up with my drawing. :)

  3. Wow! Clair you are very talented and amazing! My drawing skills can be summed up in two words: stick figures. I loved the tutorial though, and you make it sound like drawing is so easy! ;) Good work.

  4. Did you use a quote from The Princess Bride, Clair? XD And you art is AMAZING! O_o

  5. Quoth the raven, "Nevermore!"
    I wish I could've met that man. What a fascinating mind.

    Clair, God's given you a Gift. I mean, seriously. Wow.

  6. The tutorial was nice, and seemed to coincide with how I draw (though I don't use mechanical pencil) so I must be doing something right in the way I'm self-teaching myself xD I must admit, you have a lot of talent Clair. Keep on drawing!

  7. Wow! Fantastic, as Nine would say. It really looks like River! Clair, you are absolutely amazing at shading. Wonderful! I liked the step by step process.

  8. Does Cheeta Anita have anything to do with Jungle Jam? Just curious. (If you've never heard of Jungle Jam, it's a Christian Kid's music CD that I listened to a LOT as a kid)

    And your artwork is TERRIFIC, Clair (I love your name, too, BTW). Jack is REALLY lucky to have you, especially since you, since you're also a writer, understand the writing process.

  9. Clair you are brilliant :) I love your drawings. So life-like!

    God Bless

  10. Wow. That's fantastic! :) I need to work on copying from pictures. I was really into it for a while, but I preferred just sketching. I think if I'm going to become an actual illustrator I'm going to need to buckle down and really work on different techniques. *sigh* I am such a lazy. Even things I love, I'm lazy about.


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