The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, cover - this got personal

  • Sis quit
    Ray Kaselau
    Sun 3/31/2019 10:00 AM

    I really struggled this month. It’s helpful for me to know I’m not alone in the difficulties and often lonely process of creating. So when I put pencil to paper to leave my Kansas, I was excited at the beginning of the month with all the possibilities. Then I was quickly overwhelmed, Oz is so vast. To draw this was world building! But I had to focus on this, I had already sketched several concepts for my other favorites, Harry Potter - Azkaban, Pippi Longstocking, but I wasn’t satisfied with my versions of those. If I couldn’t recreate my favorite book Oz then why bother calling myself an illustrator, ouch.

    That is the beauty of this forum, I really value the input and direction to help determine what’s working and what’s not. This month I failed by not asking for input, I thought I would just have a day to hammer it out. That didn’t happen, not in the style I was thinking anyway. I didn’t "have the brain" to ask for help sooner. Warning: More Oz reference to come.

    The challenge for me is often deciding on a direction, which image, after all the thumbnails, then how to approach it, where is my brick road to follow? I need a good witch to point me! Or an art director! As long as I can recall I’ve had difficulty asking for help (a good podcast topic specific for artists?). I find that the forum here and Instagram artist I follow will inspire me, while also really making me feel inadequate. So I knock myself down before I start, then pick myself back up by drawing until something clicks. I believe in learning from others, and we steal like artists, but often if I look at the genius artists before I start, I begin with a broken heart. Warned ya 😉

    Finally, I made my way back to “Kansas” (Wisconsin, but just as many comments of living in a “nowhere”). So I went to the tools I use in my professional paid life, graphic design. The final cover I used Illustrator, Photoshop, and Procreate. Honestly, I feel like I cheated. I didn’t illustrate much, no iconic characters, no specific scene. A shortcut to hit the deadline. Finished, not perfect..? I could click my heels the whole time and be done? Poof, feels like I skipped the hard part. Well, I didn't teach myself illustrating that's for sure. Just big beautiful text using a font called “Trajan Color”. I feel like a fraud, a humbug. But somehow I’m satisfied with it as a concept - that it’s mysterious. It doesn’t give away too much of what amazing things happen inside, it lets the characters and places live individually in our minds. Shifting to our own wonderful visions. The best covers and movie trailers aren’t spoilers. But mine certainly doesn’t feel children’s lit, some scenes in the original story where definitely teen by modern standards.

    Ultimately, it’s important for me I do this, I share, I learn, I grow. I often put on a brave face say I’m an artist with conviction, but I daily need to keep trying and have the courage to face the vast white page. And make friends along the way.

    With that here’s my month in visuals. Thanks for sharing everyone, you’re amazing and you populate the world with beautiful imagery!


    ![OZ_covers_Artboard 2.png](/assets/uploads/files/1554048334187-oz_cov
    OZ_final_cover.jpg ers_artboard-2-resized.png)

  • @Raymond_Kaselau That's a lot of work in a month!
    I appreciate your sharing the images-and the internal journey you went through.
    'I had seen this image first while cruising the book cover thread--and it caught my eye for it's very strong visual elements-I love the brick road going through the "O"-brilliant! I liked the font-but didn't get it at first why it was bent--then I saw the house. I think the idea works--not sure that the rendition of the house works for me.

    I "cheat" or make-do with some things that I just can't do as well as I like at this time-and hope to bring my skills up in those areas in the future. For me, I can only assemble knowledge and skill as fast as I can. Somedays I'm more ok with that than other days.

    Do you listen to the SVS podcasts? You might listen to the most recent one--Lee talks about "discounting" ones work. I took his words to heart.

    Keep going!

  • @Susan-Marks Thanks Susan, good idea to revisit this project at a later time. I agree the house needs work. Ultimately I want to do a version where I create the whimsical text from scratch vs typing it out. The bend in the text felt a little forced just to make it feel playful. Thank you for the comments!

  • SVS OG

    Hi Raymond, thanks so much for sharing your journey with the March contest. I totally empathize with your frustrations. Next time you're struggling with a concept, or on the fence about something, I would encourage you to share your WIPs. I've found that this has been a very supportive, safe and helpful community, and it's always good to get a fresh perspective.

    Re: your thumbnails, the last one with the dead witch and her red shoes (only skirt, stockinged legs and shoes visible) would have been hilarious, bold and unexpected, and I bet you would have been able to render that faster than the concept that you had chosen initially (the characters traveling on the yellow brick road to Oz). Next time, I suggest you share your concepts at thumbnail stage and ask for help choosing. Even if you don't like any of your thumbnails, someone might say something inspired by your thumbs that sparks an even better idea or direction in your mind.

    Lastly, congratulations on completing a cover illustration for the March contest! It's a bold, graphically simple solution and the falling, burning house silhouette is my favorite part. The overall feel is mysterious and dark. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

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