Way of the Waves

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The sequel to Riddle of the Runes by Janina Ramirez is out next week, so here are some illustrations and behind-the-scenes thingies.

Having developed a line and wash technique for the first book, I was obliged to stick with a similar approach. It involves drawing on very rough and heavy watercolour paper with a Faber-Castell Pitt Pen, splodging it with water and then dropping diluted Indian ink onto the appropriate areas in the hope that interesting effects transpire.

Stage one for each picture begins with a rough…

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Then a pencil outline is drawn onto the watercolour paper…

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Once the line work is done, on goes the water. I try to keep it away from areas I want to keep light (like the moon).

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Once the Indian ink is applied, it’s time for a spell of drying time in front of the fire…

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One of the pleasant aspects of working in this style is watching the watery ink create its own shapes and textures. I can control it a little by adding darker blobs or dabbing some away if things get out of hand, and if it gets really messy a cheeky tweak in Photoshop will get me out of trouble. Also, before it dries, the ink has a lovely sepia tone which gives the paintings a sense of depth whilst the work is in progress. You can see the effect on this tree’s shadow…

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Here’s a rough of the interior of the Anglo Saxon York Minster. Much research was needed before I could confidently reflect the architecture and decorative elements of this long-lost building.

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Here it is finished…

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Some images required more detailed roughs before I could plunge into the finished illustrations. Once again, I spent a lot of time finding out about costumes, musical instruments, buildings, market stalls and everything else that made up life in a 10th century Anglo Saxon town.

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Lastly, a smattering of other pictures from the book…

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Way of the Waves is out July the 4th…

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