Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pooh Book Illustrations

Seeing the recent Disney Winnie-The-Pooh feature made me think back on the series of books I'd illustrated for Readers Digest back about 10 years ago. I like the Pooh characters, but I must admit I find them deceptively simple in design, as they're actually quite hard to get just right. (And nobody can draw Tigger absolutely right since Milt Kahl retired from animating - he's really tough to do well!)

This was perhaps my favourite of the handful that I'd illustrated, as I really quite like drawing Rabbit. Perhaps I relate only too well to his curmudgeonly attitude! The fun for me was in keeping Pooh and Rabbit in character as best I could, as well as trying to paint the backgrounds as faithful as possible to the watercolour style in the films. I drew the characters as separate elements, scanning in the pencil art and colouring them in Photoshop, then placing them on top of the hand-painted backgrounds that were done with diluted gouache on illustration board. This process helps to keep the illustrations looking much like cel set-ups, resembling the look of the films as closely as I was able to achieve. Anyway, here are all of the interior pages from Happy New Year, Pooh! - some are single pages, others are double page spreads. The simple text is laid in afterward on top of the illustrations in the wide open areas. These books were available in a book-of-the-month-club format aimed at very young readers.