I am back on the illustration trail again doing some work on a new book on the English Civil War in Ireland and Scotland, I think, and I have started strangely will the cover of the book first. So this post is about the design process, who am I kidding about design process, and the decisions that i make when creating an illustration, gosh I hope that I dont bore you all too mush and I promise that I will get back to painting miniatures shortly.
When I received an commission for work I usually get a petty loose brief, like in this case "I need an Irish Musketeer at the three quarter view in traditional Irish soldiers clothings. Now I am lucky as I know a bit about what the Irish soldier wore during the Confederation Wars and the English Civil War, so I could draw on my experience and knowledge there but I was also given some photos on new research and finds and these were to be included in the illustration. Now bare in mind that this is the sketch for the cover and it is going to be coloured over the weekend.
So I first get the pose that I am happy with and basically draw the clothing on it, this chap has an Elizabethan style short jacket that has been recovered from a bog in Ireland recently, Irish trews or narrow trousers and a hat strange looking sack hat that is based upon Montero, a common hat worn by soldiers of the time. A Montero was a round peaked cap made of segments of woollen cloth with a skirt running around the edge that could either fold down for protection in bad weather or up for a stylish peak. So this was my first illustration of the soldier.
Now the pose and hat were correct but I needed to make a couple of small changes to it, manly that the trews were too baggy, loose the turnbacks and made the gun more like a matchlock. So I make the changes and here are the results.
Now you can see, I hope the different between the first and second drawings but that the knapsack needed to be moved to the back and I corrected this and heres the result on that.
So I moved the knapsack so that it is just showing over the right shoulder and moved the sword too and made the matchlock look like well a matchlock. Now I have to admit I think the last drawing is a better competition than the first one and the little changes that i have made, like rolling the top of the sleeve reducing the number of bandoliers, etc, have made it a better illustration in my opinion and the opinion of the person that I am doing this for.
I actually cannot wait to get some colour on his and bring him to life. I hope I havent bored you too much with this but I think it was rather an interesting project for me and I thought I would share it.