January 24, 2011

Illustrating The Hobbit: codename BOLSÓN

Have you met Ben and Andy? This past month Ben invited Andy and me to join him for a project, illustrating the Hobbit, a challenge as exciting as terrifying, to the point that I took a whole day to think if I should join them or chicken out, but the possibilities are endless, the growth assured and honestly I've been craving a group challenge with close friends for almost 2 years now and Ben&Andy are the perfect partners in crime, so it's a yes, even if it takes me way out of my comfort zone, so far from it that I can't even see it at all, which is good.

The challenge is finishing 14 illustrations, one every 3 weeks. I started late and planned on catching up by the second mark (the 6th week), I wanted at least to have a final list of all the moments of the book I'd like to illustrate by now, but somehow I'm still rereading the book, still at the middle of it, the good news are that so far I already have 11 scenes.

Also I've just noticed that my book is in spanish and I have no idea which are the original names to most of the creatures and places, or even how are the original descriptions, so who knows how I'm going to put my list of 14 scenes up here without making a fool of myself. That's why I'm gonna tag this whole project as "Codename: BOLSÓN", because Bilbo Baggins in spanish was translated as Bilbo Bolsón, yes, don't even ask...

I didn't get to see Andy at the starting point of this journey, I turned around just on time to see his trail, filling his sketchbook with several thumbs (which I call well developed concepts) and some character designs already. Not long ago Ben took off too with some character designs. I'm still here at the starting point but will follow their lead really soon, I'll make sure they know I'm with them, maybe they won't see my trail but sure will hear me panting somewhere right behind.

Since I have no sketches to share yet I'll set up a couple of personal goals, weaknesses that I hope to improve with this project:

- Storytelling/Narration
- Character design
- Cohesion in a group of paintings - series.

Also I'm rethinking the schedule, this last year I've been reading a lot about how to create a picture book and a lot of illustrators have in common one procedure, instead of making each page from start to finish and then go to the next one they work on all the pages at the same time, advancing one stage at a time. I think that's a really smart way to keep things cohesive so that's made me rethink my approach here. Instead of 1 finished illustration every 3 weeks I´d like to spend the first ones getting a cohesive group of scenes and start painting them only when I have all the base drawings for the illustrations nailed. Then finish each illustration in full color in one or 2 weeks instead of 3, that would balance the overall schedule. Of course that's just an idea that I still have to ponder, and yes, this is me getting all cocky when I haven't even finished rereading the book and the first 3 weeks mark has already past, hmmm...


Irina said...

Good luck, Teresa! I know you will do it great, you are talented and very brave. Just (from my experience) do not talk about it much, somehow the inner power flies away with words)

Pat said...

What a challenge!
Look forward to seeing what you do with it.

Crystal Cook said...

That is seriously cool! I've always wanted to illustrate Tolkein. :) Can't wait to see your sketches!!

Sadami said...

Dear Teresa,
First, "Congratulations!!" on your joining the project. Great. Second. "Not easy, but hang in there." Given time frame is quite tight(*that scares illustratros!) and lots of work amount. Already, you are struggling and still rereading the text.
Third. "Stick to your goals!" Smart Teresa has already found the answers for 'how to handle the project' and set them for her goals--that impress me very much. Keep them all. You're gonna be a winner! Teresa, go, Teresa, go!! Please pass my best wishes to your nice friends.
Love&Smile, Sadami

RH Carpenter said...

Ooooo...how cool is this??? I'll be watching and waiting for updates but no pressure. You will do an excellent job (your imaginative creations are always very good, always charming, and I know the Hobbit work will be good, too). Now this is really giving you a kick in the pants for the new year!!!

Andy Smith said...

Brilliant idea, Teresa - choosing to work on the illustrations as a group and advancing them all in stages. I really look forward to following your progress and your thoughts on whether this approach has its merits. Really digging your goals too - storytelling and cohesion of large groups are both absolute musts for this project - so thank you for articulating that and bringing it very much to the forefront of my mind.

Great to see you making your first blog post on our project. I am so excited to be doing this with you and Ben! More sketches tonight for me!

ironhenry said...

This is really shaping up to be more challenging than I ever realized. However, I think I will concentrate on completing the work and not set my goals too high by thinking every artwork needs to be a hard-won masterpiece just because it is Tolkien.

I applaud you for rereading the entire book. If you need any help with the English translation of passages or names I’d be glad to do it. I feel confident that I can match them up. But Bolsón? How weird!

Your approach is something which I had never even considered. In fact, I never desired to have my pictures look like a cohesive set. Maybe I should. Hmmm. Nah. I really want to try new stuff on each piece. I probably will bounce around the months though.

I can't wait to see your first drawing, Tere!!! In the end, we may not finish on time for a calendar, but at least we will make SOMETHING super cool!


Ann Buckner said...

Wonderful project, Teresa. Staying tuned to check out everyone's offerings.

Teresa Palomar Lois said...

Thanks for the support Irina, I know what you mean about trying to define things so much that the flame goes away when you try to capture it on paper.

Pat glad to have you on board through this one :)

Crystal, girl, just do it! this year! I'd love to see your vision of these worlds

Sadami thanks for the endless support and positiveness, my mates will surely have read your cheer :D "stick to my goals", I'll surely try hard

Rhonda, after reading one of your latest emails I'm in the middle of a turning point in my approach to the challenge of this project, love you this much![_____________^_^_____________]
looking forward to your critiques too

Andy I sure will rant about my chosen approach as soon as I start, I'm almost sure of it, but don't worry, I'll blame it all on Ben for being the mastermind of this all, I can't wait to start sketching! Almost finished the book :D And now I'm in the middle of taking your Bilbo with the watering can illustration out of my mind, it made a strong impact on me and I don't want to be influenced by it, gotta block that image asap

Ben oh Ben, you know how I grind through things but I'm going to do my best, at least we will some laughs. I see what you come from when you say you want to go completely different, in a way that's a completely different approach but the same goal, getting off the comfort zone and try something different to learn and grow grow grow. This is going to be a blast, I'm sure I'll rant and point fingers at you when I'll become frustrated and will blame you and call you names (probably) BUT I'm sure too that I'm gonna love each single moment of it all, thanks for starting this all *smooooch*

Ann, I hope to get some hard critiques from you and all the pals, you know how much I appreciate your eyes :)