I haven't posted for a few months. Been busy at work, but have also been trying to cross off one of my bucket list items - getting one of my drawings published somewhere. A logical fit seemed to be the covers for the O'Reilly books (www.oreilly.com
). I use these books at work all the time and have always admired the covers. So what they heck, I contacted them and asked to submit a drawing. I thought this would be a no-brainer - I do animals all the time and most come out pretty well.
They initially said they were looking for drawings of a Saiga Antellope and a Tamarin Monkey. I did quick drawings of each to get feedback:
I knew the monkey drawing wouldn't work because it was too tall and narrow so I didn't put too much effort into the face which came out poor. At this point I was just looking for feedback. The feedback I got was that the pictures were fine, but that they wanted more of an "engraved" look and feel instead of pen and ink - could I change my style? As an example they gave me the following from one of their covers:
Ok, I said, I think I get it. I really studied this drawing and couldn't figure out how it was done. Some parts definitely look like pen lines while other look like an engraving - white lines on a black background. I did some research and decided to try a drawing in scratchboard. After a few tries, here's what I came up with:
I knew this drawing wasn't up to the level they wanted, but I sent it off for feedback anyway and basically heard what I expected - a little rough, particularly around the hands and feet, and the face was too dark.
Determined to get this one right I drew this guy about 5 more times and just couldn't come up with something I really liked. Very frustrating. In the end the best I could create was below:
Even though the tail wasn't visible in the photograph I was referencing, I tried to add one in for good measure:
I crossed my fingers and sent this one off. As expected though it didn't have enough of the engraved look so no go. I don't think I'm getting closer to their desired style so I'm going to hold off sending anything else unless I have some big breakthrough. Oh well, it was worth the try.
In the end this has been a great learning experience. Much tougher to change your style than I realized. I also had to draw a lot more from my head than just from photos to get the right composition. I still think I can get there, but I haven't crossed this one off the bucket list yet!
I think I'll go back to creating a few drawings just for fun again.