April 24, 2013


My Illustration Friday topic planets are aligning relative to the project I have been working on, so this post is doing double duty in that it covers the IF prompt this week, "Wild," as well as the follow-up to the posts I did showing the little bit of "Urban" and the sketches from "In the Works
So, as promised, here's the rest of the story--
Our Western Washington SCBWI conference is this coming weekend.  I signed up for the Illustrator Intensive, "Keeping it Fresh--From Sketch to Final Art" with art director Patti Ann Harris (Little, Brown and Company). We were sent two manuscripts with instructions to pick one, and illustrate a two-page spread from it.
The process:
Part 1- develop a sketch and send it to Ms. Harris for feedback. Part 2- produce a finished illustration based on her suggestions (and, presumably, keep it "fresh").  I chose a spread from a manuscript entitled MR TIGER GOES WILD.  It's a simple story about a tiger who, bored with his stuffy  friends, takes off for the wilderness--something he ends up regretting.
Here is the sketch I submitted:

After a few weeks, I heard back from Ms. Harris.  She indicated that she liked the feeling of isolation and loneliness my sketch conveyed, and suggested that for the final I "fill up the page" a little more by perhaps putting the city on a hill, maybe adding some bushes, and turn Mr. Tiger's head a little more in the reader's direction.

So here's my final.  Do you think I kept it "fresh?"

By the way, we had no idea whose manuscript it was...but someone found out that it was none other than  Peter Brown's. The book is due to be released in September, and you can see his version of Mr.Tiger on his blog, Peter Brown Studio.  I'm glad I didn't see it until I was finished, although I don't think it would have mattered . . .
. . . since, obviously, Mr. Brown and I have different visions of tigers ;)  


  1. Lizzie, I am just floored. Thank you so much for letting us in on all of this background detail for the sketch. May the SCBWI conference go smoothly for you. You have earned your spot among the greatest illustrators to which I have ever been exposed.

    I'm also so happy that you showed us the original sketch before the modified, beautifully-textured, rich final. Honestly, you are amazing at what you do. Go forth, girl.

    1. Just showed this to Shawn, braggin' on you. :)

  2. Interesting assignment and instructive.

    (is it okay to say that I like your tiger better..?)

  3. Oh, poor poor Mr. Tiger.
    You make the sentiment of lost and lonely come across so well Lizzie. My heart feels him.
    All that other Mr. Tiger says is "Hi, I'm Mr. Tiger."
    Your work always makes me feel.

  4. Two totally different styles for sure! I have to say (no offense meant to Mr. Brown) I like your style better. Yours has more ‘heart’. I feel empathy for your Mr. Tiger. IMHO (not that I’m prejudiced or anything, lol)

  5. I like the concept and it was nice to read through the post..got to see two completely diferent styles!

  6. Not only did you keep it fresh, you made it even fresher by my lights!!! The composition in the final feels livelier, and that, combined with your lovely light touch with watercolors, the spring breeze and buds, and poor Tiger's more palpable melancholy, makes the whole scene come alive. The city looks so inviting in the final--you can see why he'd miss it. Thanks for this fascinating look into your process!

  7. Well, I prefer your tiger, Elizabeth. You are an original. Your style is warm. Let's face it, everyone's doing that flat, fifties designer art nowadays.

  8. you tiger is so sweet :) i really like it.
    he has personality of his own, and we can tell it.
    nice work and thank you for sharing :)

  9. So very lovely! I really like your style. The poor poor tiger is so so sad. I'm a traditionalist at heart so I like your version better too. I did a tiger too, but she's a little crazier...http://www.bitsnbaublesstudio.com/apps/blog
    Best luck!
    Amanda Sorenson

  10. Hi Beth. I could see/sense your tiger's loneliness and isolation so well in the first drawing. The fine connection to the city with the branch and the upswept cloud is wonderful and subtle. Truthfully, I like you tiger MUCH better, and my "gut feeling" about the head angle prefers less of his face showing; it seems to increase his sense of loneliness. LOVE your work, Beth!

  11. Love the sketch as well as the finished piece! Such great emotion!!! As you know, I love your style. Very fun to see how much you & Mr. Brown's styles & vision for the same story differ!

  12. Hmmm, I think you kept it fresh & followed the AD's suggestions to a tee... but I actually think your first sketch really nailed the distance & loneliness. The final doesn't seem quite as desolate. Then again, I'm not an art director!

    I love seeing different illustrators do the same text. I have more than a dozen editions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, & it's absolutely fascinating to see all the different approaches, both of style & substance. Tenniel will always be the one imprinted on my brain, but there are some amazing Alices out there!

  13. Oh my- It's just wonderful. The slump of the tiger says a lot. Have a great time at the conference!

  14. What an interesting post, seeing how the tiger earned his stripes. I found both versions fresh and I'm glad I didn't have to choose between them.

  15. Love. That. Face. Seriously, what a face! Terribly cute. And I really do love that city! And she was right, the hill does fill up the space in a very satisfying way. This is outstanding!

  16. This is so lovely! Poor tiger, he does look so sad and lonely...but equally sweet and adorable! I love how you changed the sketch...it looks fabulous!

  17. Interesting to see your version then Book's version. Glad you didn't see the book version, and so went where your heart wen.., and with AD's tips. Tho I could say I'm not bias, I do feel more for your Mr. Tiger and how dear he seems. "Feel" is a good way to describe it.

    Lisa G.

  18. He is so adorable, you really captured his loneliness.

  19. "Mr. Brown and I have different visions of tigers"

    Yeah, I would agree, but that's a good thing. I mean, who ever heard of a tiger wearing a bow tie? A Princeton Skinny or a Jefferson Stripe sure, but a *bow* tie? How gauche. ;-)

  20. I like your first one. I like the shape of the space between the tiger and the tree. I also like the way his right paw dangling. The shape of tree makes a big difference to me. It has spirit. It looks Tiger has only this tree as a comfort.

  21. oh what an interesting post! I can't quite decide which drawing I like better ... The city looks warmer and firendlier in the second, but I LOVE the feel of the first - the posture of Tiger, the fact that he really isn't posing for the viewer, the tree standing alone and unobscured, the cleanliness of the empty space, it's beautiful. Well, both are. :)

  22. So nice meeting you in person today! Your work is FANTASTIC! I'm looking forward to seeing future work. Yay!

  23. That is a great assignment. I would love to see that at our local conference. And I love your piece.

  24. It's been a WILD ;) week. I am so happy for all of your wonderful comments. I found it very interesting to read about which one you all prefer and your observations about poor Mr. Tiger. I have another busy week/end coming up, and will do my best to post a conference follow-up next week. Meanwhile, know how much I truly appreciate you ALL!! Thank you :)
    Later, alligators!

  25. ahhhh what a sad tiger. Beautiful illustration Elizabeth!

  26. Interesting post Liz...She was right with the feedback about the space and the end result looked looked better with the tigers face turned. Yours is cool...more painterly, more feeling as opposed to the stark designer feel of the other Tiger...they're both good but in their own ways.

  27. mournful.
    and the composition is appropriately listless.
    the balance is quiet.
    but not dull.


  28. There's that dreamy city on a hill! Who knew sweet, lonely (such a face), tiger's lived there...makes me want to live there even more, if only just to be able to be his friend and comfort him, and give his silly friends 'what for'.
    Great job...
    xo J~

  29. Oh, the city and the cloud swoosh! And, oh dear, how sad Mr Tiger's tail looks. Poor Mr Tiger.

  30. It's a great assignment and it's fantastic to see
    Such different versions on the text. Yours is beautiful
    I love seeing how you dealt with the challenge!


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