Illustration angst

One of the characters in my book is supposed to have a dark complexion. That’s how I described her in the narrative. I did six illustrations for the book, beginning last summer and finishing up last month. Yes, that does seem like a long time for just six pictures. But I did them in colored pencil. (I also re-wrote the book twice during that period.) One illustration is a picture of this particular character, the one with the dark complexion, standing all by herself and smiling warmly at the viewer. Basically, it’s just a portait — a portrait of a fictional person.

A couple of days ago, out of the blue, I realized that I didn’t make her skin dark enough. Or I suddenly thought I didn’t, anyway. I had drawn her with jet-black hair and dark eyes, but her skin wasn’t really very dark. 

I started feeling jittery and uncomfortable about the whole situation last night, the way I always do when I find a new thing to worry about. So I sat down on the couch and worked until about four o’clock in the morning, trying to make her skin a richer shade of brown.

I should have left the stupid thing alone. Whenever I put a dark color on top of a light color, it never goes on smoothly. I know that. I don’t know what I was thinking. The dark color and the light color always mix together like oil and water. In other words, they don’t. Now the girl’s skin has a rough, grainy texture. Her face looks like it’s made of oatmeal. I went to sleep feeling angry, disappointed, and defeated.

Luckily, I scanned the drawing a month ago when I first “finished” it. The earlier version is still in my computer, so I can use it like I was originally planning to. And it really doesn’t look that bad anyway.

My good friend Trisha told me I’m just worrying too much because it’s almost time to upload the book to Kindle. I think she’s right.

A little muscle under my left eye has been twitching all day long. I think I need some sleep.

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2 thoughts on “Illustration angst

  1. I know it’s easier said than done, but I suggest more rest and less angst. Love you! Besides, “dark” is relative. Right?

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