I finished all of the art!!!
I'm ecstatic. You really have no idea how much this thing has stressed me out and weighed on my mind. If you read this blog, you're probably aware that my mother passed away on Thanksgiving but before that she'd asked me to illustrate a short story she had written so that my son, Finn, could have something to remember her by. My mother had actually asked me to do the book probably two years before she died. Working on it prior to her death always seemed like a morbid acceptance of her impending death and so I avoided it and told myself there'd be more time or she would survive. It was constantly on my mind though and I ALWAYS felt guilty when working on other projects during that time. Admittedly, part of me was very grumpy about being asked to do something I hated, knowing that I wouldn't and couldn't say no. I'm also one of those artists who doesn't care to see his work hanging on his walls. I think it would make me sick to my stomache. I dreaded and continue to dread the prospect of regularly reading a book to my son that's full of my artwork. I imagine it will have regular sidebars along the lines of, "daddy apparently had never seen a rabbit before when he did this one." It wasn't until near the end that I started doing some of the illustrations. After she died, I cleared my illustration schedule as soon as I could and worked solely on this book because I knew it had to be done and I didn't want the guilt eating me up for forever. At the same time, I think I also switched to working so hard on it to take my mind off of losing my mother.
I was frustrated with having to draw cute rabbits (mine may not come off as cute) and little girls and trying to find a style for this sort of thing. There was the temptation of being cartoony but I was afraid trying to find an entirely new design language and style would end up devouring more time than using reference and rendering. Trying to be really realistic presented a problem as well since I don't have any rabbits or little girls laying around to easily use for reference and I don't have much experience with rabbits to draw from memory. So the resulting style is somewhere in the middle and still lacks the playfulness that familiarity with the style or subject matter would have granted. I also didn't have much experience with having to carry the likeness of character and critters across 26 illustrations. Proved very difficult and I may well have failed.
Another part of mom's plan was apparently to have a bunch of copies printed up and have me at the book fair in my hometown where it's all local authors. She used to take me there as a kid and we'd pick up books by Barry Rudner. So I guess I'll go through with the booth there. Mom knew I didn't make much off of this fantasy art so I think she was hoping that this would make me a bunch of money and persuade me to pursue children's books. She always thought I'd write children's books.
Anyways, I'm done now. Ada is going to do layout and then I'll have to find somewhere to have some copies printed. If you know a good place for the printing, let me know. Buying ZBrush today and am going to focus on it heavily for a bit. I had been holding off on purchasing it until I was done with the book because I was afraid it would distract me.