Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cowboy Up!

The last of this rounds kids books featured something I never ever thought I'd have to draw before...Bullriding!

When I got the original comp for this cover that my art director/designer put together it made me breath a sigh of relief that the original idea of them using photos for the characters and me drawing the backgrounds was shot down. While it sounded like less work to simply draw backgrounds for the covers and was certainly sold to me that way when I signed the contracts I had a big wake up call for what they would have expected of me if that idea had gone through.

The comp had a photo of a kid in a cowboy hat and then faded into a background of an old west scene complete with an old western town, cowboys, and even a full horse drawn carriage. If I had had to draw a full western town when the idea was sold to me as easier than the covers I usually create I would have thrown myself off of my third story deck.

So, I'm really happy that idea got shot down.

Of course, now that I had no idea what the cover was about other than a title called "Cowboy Up" and a description of the kid looking like a young Matt Dillon I was left shaking my head again. Was he riding a horse, a bull, was he using a lasso? I had no idea and felt stupid for even having to ask.

It ends up the story was about bull riding. So, I did some reference thanks to Google and came up with a few ideas for the cover. One was approved and I got to work.

I was then told that the kid had to wear a helmet and not a cowboy hat. What a shame, I thought. My one chance to do an iconic image of a guy riding a bull and I don't even get to draw the cowboy hat. I can understand wanting the kids to be safe and have the proper safety equipment but I'm still sad I missed my chance to make a really iconic cover. Ah well, I'm sure somewhere in the interior illustrations I'll get to draw a cowboy hat or two.

For the background I used the same technique I incorporated on the other three covers. I really like this technique and might have to find a way to use it again in some future illustrations. It looks cool, really makes the character pop, and gives these covers a look like none of my previous covers have had before.

Now, with the covers done, it's on to the interiors!


Jeff Lafferty said...

Great piece man, I like the steam coming out of the bulls nostrils.

Sean Tiffany said...

Thanks...and at least now I know how the hand on the rope is really supposed to look...I'll change that for the interiors.