Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Illustration Frustration

I started doing some illustrations for a small book I've been putting text toward for a long time. I feel pretty good about what's in the book, but the type of illustrations I want aren't completely inside my skill set. It's nothing fancy, just some small bugs that live in my mind.

I've done a fair number of extremely detailed drawings of these characters but I want what I put into the book to be far simpler and very small. I want there to be little Chitterlings in the corners of the pages, sitting at the edge of the text as though it were a ledge, and similar. I want them to be no larger than three times the height of the text unless they are standing next to a header.

It's a statement about the type of creative person I am in general. I like to make things complicated.

Trying to limit myself to as few lines as possible to craft the little guys on the pages. I'm allowing myself some liberty when it comes to rendering things they are carrying, but otherwise they need to be extremely simple. The book is part of my table top RPG I've been creating over the last five years and I'd like to finish it before the end of the year.

Maybe having illustrations at all is just a bad plan.

Gonna take one of my precious days to craft as many of these little guys as I can just to see if I can render enough of them that I like for the purpose. It feels like I spend way too much time with a tablet pen in my hand already. Being a one man crew on most of my projects requires doing a lot more of what I don't like as opposed to what I really enjoy.

Having some off-the-grid creative license in that regard comes with a price you pay in time.


  1. I like the thought of having them all over the pages...

  2. Why simplify them at all? Having these guys appear in printed pages will lend you plenty of resolution for detail. I say draw them with as much detail as you would prefer, then reduce them in size via your computer and see how they look. As long as they're high-res (300dpi or greater), then they should be okay...?

  3. I agree with you Elle. Here's the rub:

    Some of my motivation to keep them simple has to do with the eye-strain problem I'm currently battling. In the last two weeks I've had to take five days off to rest my eyes. Collectively, the game books I've written, just for the basic rules set, run 75,000 words or 250 pages.

    Assume I have even a single illustration every three pages or so and it turns into 70+ sets of chitterlings interacting with each other. Each set, at their current level of detail takes me about twenty five minutes. That's a solid week of doing the very thing that stresses my eyes out the most.

    Being impatient to finish this thing doesn't aid my frustration level. ;-)

    I could probably use some of the Chitterling drawings I've already rendered, something like ten high detail bugs. I need to figure out what's going on with my eyes though. Relative to the state of my projects, this is really bad timing. :-(