Third Grade Textbook Illustrations

I’ve been busy the last couple weeks.  Here’s some of what I was working on.  These images were commissioned by Hart Mcleod Ltd. for a textbook project for third grade.  Click on the images for (slightly) larger versions.

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6 thoughts on “Third Grade Textbook Illustrations

  1. daynesislendesign says:

    Beautiful work as always Karen. The dragon illustration is remarkable. That is a very complicated subject with so many characters. A real challenge to illustrate so successfully. You’ve managed to show a crowd of unique people without confusing the central idea and focus.

    I’ve never done non-fiction or educational illustrations. Do you get all the illustrations to work on at once or is each one a separate assignment. What is the work relationship like? Does the process move quickly on their part?

    • Karen B. Jones says:

      Well, my art rep has a bunch of illustrators that he represents. When he gets one of these textbook projects, he divides the project up among his artists, keeping in mind how many illustrations the artist can finish in the time allotted and which artist he believes would be the best fit for each illustration.

      This is the fourth project I’ve done for him. What seems to be normal (so far) is to get a project with 3 to 8 illustrations. I’ll look through the details and decide if I can do it. If I accept it, I’ll get (usually) a week to turn in my roughs for the images. A month or so later I get approval and maybe a few changes to the roughs. Then I have another week or two to turn in my finals. Then I have to wait another month or so to get paid.

      This one was a little different (and kind of stressful) because it was a rush job. They needed the finals in just under two weeks. Problem is, I was already working on roughs for another project for the same client! So, once that was done, I really only had a week to devote to these six images. Five of them were completely from scratch. I was given a description of what they wanted and I skipped right over the roughs straight into finals.

      The sixth image, the dragon dance, was one I had drawn sort of speculatively as an art sample for my art rep. I didn’t have one quite like this in my portfolio and he wanted it to see what I could do and to have it to show the client. I think he knew that this was an image the client was probably going to need (he knew what projects were coming up) and he thought we might be able to sell it if they did. Only problem was that when he sent me the details on what he wanted for the art sample, he failed to mention the dimensions. So, the original was formatted as a portrait orientation rectangle. Then I did a second version with a simpler background because the first one took WAY too long and I didn’t want the clients expecting that level of detail if they weren’t paying enough to justify the work. That second one (what this was based on) was formatted as a square image. When I got the orders for the final that they’re actually buying, that was a landscape format rectangle! *headdesk* So, I had to modify the square formatted image to be wider by extending the buildings and sidewalk. And, because it looked so empty when I did that, I also chose to format it as a wide oval to keep it tight to the performers and add to a couple characters to the very empty sidewalk. Good thing I work digitally. I would not want to have to redo an entire painting!

      In the end, it really wasn’t worth the work for what they’re paying me for it. But since I originally agreed to do it just as an art sample that wouldn’t be sold at all, I figure something’s much better than nothing. So, I’m okay with it.

      The real problem with this project was that I had to really bust my hump to get it in on time. It was really tight and I was quite worried I wouldn’t get it all in on time. I hate missing deadlines and I can’t remember the last time I did, but I really wasn’t sure I’d finish it on time. But I did. Stayed up until two am to do it. But it got done. I felt very accomplished when I was finished. 🙂

      The original version of the dragon dance was taller, so you saw the second story of the buildings. It included a string of Chinese lanterns and a woman wearing a Muslim headscarf leaning out the window watching the performance. It also had different colors for each building and more varied colors in the crowd. Let’s see if I can successfully imbed the image here… There you go. This version was touchy because the detail in the background was pretty close to overwhelming the foreground. I think I got it right, but it may still have needed a bit of color adjustment. I’m a little sad that the final that I finished last week has no upper story or lanterns. And the building colors are very dull. But I think it has its strengths as well, so I’m satisfied. 🙂

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