From Palms to Pines

A few weeks back I learned that my friends Abi and Harrison Craig were going to be leaving Los Angeles with their family and heading to Kentucky. Harrison has accepted a job working on the Ark Encounter, a Bible-based theme park that is currently in the planning stages. It is being put together by Answers in Genesis, the people known for the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

You may remember Answers in Genesis here on my blog. Last year I told you about an illustration assignment I did for their publication, Answers Magazine (click HERE to see it again). In fact, I believe it was just recently republished in their special 5th anniversary issue.

Well, Harrison wanted a drawing of his family to commemorate this big change in their lives. His kids have only known California, and they are excited about this grand new adventure that they set out on this week. I thought I’d share with you the drawing in it’s three stages: rough sketch, final inked art, and the full-color final piece.

Working from photographs, I worked out the rough drawing with blue pencil on tracing paper. It went through a couple of alterations as per Harrison’s request, then I made a few spacing and size changes with Photoshop on the computer.


Craig Family Vacation
Click on image for a slight enlargement.


You may notice some details like Noah’s ark on the pennant since they are going to work on the Ark Encounter. And if you noticed a chicken in the van, that’s because while the Craigs lived here in L.A., they had a chicken coop providing them with plenty of fresh eggs daily. Originally I had thought to add some chickens chasing the van, but then the idea of leaving palms for pines came to me and seemed like a better idea. So, one chicken made it into the van, although I don’t believe the same could be said about the real life chickens. Well, leastwise not sitting next to the bellies of those boys. (cough cough)

The next step was to print the blue lines out on a piece of 14×11 paper, and using a piece of graphite paper (similar to carbon paper but using pencil lead instead) under the print, I traced the drawing down onto a nice clean sheet of Bristol board. It was on this piece of Bristol that I hand-inked the art using a Pentel brush pen (a most excellent tool I don’t know how I ever lived without) and Prismacolor black tech pens.


From L.A. to Kentucky
Click on image for a slight enlargement.


Then, it was time to color. Scanning the art into the computer, the color was added in Photoshop. I chose to keep things fairly flat, only really shading the skin tones of the people. The grass and van have some gradations, but by focusing the shading on the skin tones, it draws attention to the characters rather than to the environment.


Road Trip
Click on image for a slight enlargement.


Well, there you have it. The A to Cs of a cartoony caricature drawing of one swell family.

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