The hardware store scene

I go through a few versions of a drawing for each page and I wanted to add them in here just to document the process for review later. I know I have a few pages where I had drawn in and inked the sketches and was really excited to convert them to illustrator, only to look at them later and decide that there was not enough oomph to the drawing. It could be something about the composition, or maybe the vantage point was not exciting enough…I also have this balancing act I have to do now and then with the sketch itself. I am trained and have been working with technical drawings for so long, so I have this inclination to be technical with the drawing-like being detailed in one shot or being too rigid with my perspective. The other side is, as I am working on this book I realize I had this affair at one time with really fluid sketches. I recall tons of old sketchbooks riddled with fluid curves, like a script handwriting version of less technical drawings. These were more imaginative and would probably be better for the book. I have to keep that in mind and avoid being to much of a technical grown up person as I work on the rest of the artwork for this. I think I also need to redo a few other initial drawings where I forgot to relax my fingers and let the imagination jump in.

So here are a few versions of one scene. The early sketches were to study composition and location of characters. I keep telling myself to start the drawing with the kids, so that my final composition is forced to work around them and they are kept the focus even on an unconscious level.

The scene is were daddy and son are in a hardware store purchasing some last minute supplies for a hurricane. My storyboard sketch was them with a shopping cart and some icons on the page identifying the items purchased for parent-child interaction besides the story.

post 05

post 1

I started with a sketch of the boy giving a box to his dad. This was easy to spot and say it did not have enough energy for it. The child reading it would be bored and would have no real need to imagine himself in the scene. The vantage point was static. It lacked imagination and it would not inspire imagination. Basically it was boring.

A couple of tweaks come in and I focus closer to the boys face , dad is in the background and the activity is up front and center-ish of the scene. The first attempts did not have enough of a close up effect, I felt like I almost wanted a fish-eye lens to get waaay close in on the boy and the background happens behind him for additional details only.

post 2nd view

I think this was about when I accidentally got back and recalled a more fluid sketchy feel to some drawings I did years back. This was a good way to utilize that, and so there was some distortion thrown in. A bit of a curve/fish eye on the foreground but daddy and the background are quite straight up.

hardware scene color test

I thought about the details of the items they purchased. It would be nice to be able to nitpick through those and see what emergency items they were getting. I decided to show:

  • propane canisters -always useful and stores forever
  • extension chord-there is a hurricane in the story and this would help in the power outage
  • tarps-good thing to have in a storm, to cover up outdoor items from the rain/wind
  • and the boy of the story is putting in a box of 40watt incandescent bulbs…yes they phased out the 75 watts at the time of this writing 🙂

Here’s where the scene is at right now. I threw in some color, just as a study to help me figure out colors for shirts, hair, what background is needed…I washed down the color and threw in some images of the supplies they purchased in the story. The layout is not final, but the idea is close. Here I think I will throw in a sketchy background of shelves of supplies typical in a hardware. The exercise gives ideas on font and style, composition of notes and where to locate them that would help the children stay interested in the extra information-also help parents to discuss it.



  1. Pingback: Hardware store scene redone | the resilient child book project

  2. Pingback: Grocery meetup | the resilient child book project

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