I was asked to illustrate an article entitled ‘Beacons and Birds’ for a recent issue of Wildlife in North Carolina. After reading the article it became clear that the realistic watercolor style I usually do wasn’t going to work – we really didn’t want to show realistic images of dead birds lying on the ground after having crashed into the lighthouse. I thought the colored scratchboard would be a good way to go since it is somewhat bold and abstract, getting the idea across without the gory details.
I first did pencil sketches for size and placement.
Once approved, I did some rough marker comps to work out blacks and whites.
After the marker roughs, I did the finished black and white scratchboard art. I use white scratchboard and ink in the areas I want to scratch away – this is much easier than using black scratchboard.
Next, I made good quality copies of the black and white art, mounted them on a sturdy board and hand colored them with watercolor. The finished art was then scanned for production.
Here are the spreads that appeared in the magazine.