The PDF of my latest book The Story of Three Wonderful Beggars that had its debut at SPX this year is available for purchase on Gumroad now for $3.
This is my illustrated version of the Russian/Serbian fairy tale. It is a PDF of the printed book with all of the blank pages removed (how nice of me!)
60 pages, black and white ink wash.
What better Christmas gift is there?? Go buy one for EVERYONE YOU KNOW.
I was going back and looking at the original ink washes I did after I first read The Story of Three Wonderful Beggars. I remember reading it online and immediately wanting to draw certain scenes.
I ended up deciding I would continue and illustrate the entire thing. But these 4 drawings were the original ideas that popped out of my head.
They all changed once I started actually doing the book seriously, but I figured it would be neat to see the before and after of how stuff changes over time.
The Old Oak Tree
This was on January 7th, 2012. I hadn’t drawn anything in over a year maybe. Had some stuff to deal with. And so the first thing I ended up doing a drawing of was the talking oak tree.
You can see it’s not very good, and there’s really no relation to the story at all. It’s just this gray, drab pic of a tree. But it got the ball rolling at least.
Here’s the scan of the one that got used in the book:
It’s dated 3/16/12
Finally busted out the ink wash with this one. It’s less specific and more hazy than the Mr. Burns-esque guy who made it into the final book. This one is also vertical. And the final book ended up being landscape.
Lots of mistakes here too. But I remember this one also feeling like a dusting off the cobwebs. This was the 2nd drawing done on that same 1/7/12 day.
Here’s the Ferryman scan that’s in the book now:
Less painterly. More cartoony and outlined. Matching the rest of the book’s style. This was one of the later drawings I did when I went back and drew everything. It’s dated 6/1/13.
The Whale Bridge
One of the most vivid mental images from the story for sure. You can see the jank little people I put in there and some awful steps there. Did this one on 1/8/12.
Here’s the scan from the one that is in the book:
Little tiny Vassili made it in finally. All other random people and the jank stairs were removed.
Apparently I forgot to date this one. Tsk tsk.
Tossing baby Vassili off the cliff
I like how certain things were there in my brain from the beginning. Mark the Rich’s curly mustache for one. Angular chin is another. But what’s with the top hat/tuxedo combo? He’s like a circus magician in this pic.
Here’s the scan from the one that made it in:
I did this one only 6 days after that initial drawing. This was also early enough in where I wasn’t comfortable with inking with a brush pen. I think this is almost entirely pen (besides the wash, obviously). I used the brush pen a little bit in the grass on the edge of the cliff but that’s it.
I was so scared of messing up and not being able to fix anything. Took me a while to get comfortable with the brush.
Another interesting thing is I still did this one in portrait orientation. This was a problem when I came to the final book, since it needed to be landscape.
Try as I might, I could not figure out a way to redraw this in landscape and still have the same effect that the huge vertical drop gives. I ended up keeping it as is in the book. You can see the final page below:
Eventually I’ll get around to putting all of the sketchbook stuff together with the process photos here for myself (I’m a sucker for bonus materials/behind the scenes stuff). I try to do that for every project I work on. It makes for an easier trip down memory lane if I go back and check it out in the future. No randomly searching old sketchbooks for stuff.
Ok. that’s all for now.
Hope you liked taking a peek back into my messy process for this book. I’m working on the second printing now, so hopefully you’ll actually be able to buy a copy. GASP.