My artistic goal for the beginning of 2017 is to create some portfolio pieces that represent the kind of work I'd really like to do. Last year I realized that my career was veering off in a direction I didn't want. It was time to make a course adjustment. Quitting the Explore the Bible series was part of that; making new portfolio pieces is another part.
Every time I visit a bookstore, I find myself drooling over the middle-grade books and feeling intense envy at every artist who gets to illustrate them. I was inspired to make this portfolio piece after a recent "inspiration-and-jealousy-tour" of the local bookstore. I wanted to make a cover designed to appeal to girls, with a pink-and-purple color scheme. I don't remember where the idea of a Egyptian princess came from, but her cat friend came from a desire to try my hand at drawing anthropomorphic animals.
Originally I had a sparkly, magical flying cat.
I was feeling uncertain about the drawing at this point. I couldn't decide if the flying cat looked cute or just kind of cheesy. The pose of the princess was definitely too cliche, too much like the cover of a comedy movie. At this point I almost gave up on the drawing, and set it aside for several days.
After looking at more book covers, I changed the setting to look more like a palace and less like a balcony. As far as I can tell, ancient Egyptian architecture didn't really use arches like this; that's a bit of artistic license on my part.
When designing book covers, I will sometimes add text on top just to make sure that I'm leaving enough room in the illustration. I've never formally studied typography, but I enjoy playing around with fonts.
I also put together some sample interior illustrations for this story, which I will show in my next blog post. Hopefully this is just one of several new portfolio pieces I'll create this year.