The Chestnut King
This is the first part of a self-initiated project illustrating the 100 Cupboards series by author N.D. Wilson. The series consists of three books for children: 100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire and The Chestnut King. I chose to start with an illustration for the final book. 
Step 1
My initial idea was to convey an impression of a man's face using some of the key images from the book. I did a few rough sketches in pencil, then worked up a mockup in Adobe Illustrator.
Mockup done in Adobe Illustrator
Step 2
I wanted the illustration to have simplified vector forms, but also to keep a feeling of the hand-made. The work I do by hand often produces serendipitous results which I hadn't originally planned. I cut the letterforms out of paper and arranged them manually until I was happy with them. Then I created textures using charcoal and watercolour paint and applied them digitally in Photoshop.
Detail of final work
Detail of final work
Step 3
I wanted to have this printed as a T-shirt, so I added 'secret' white elements which only appear on a coloured fabric. The white elements add a bit more contrast to the darker background.
 
 
If you like the image, it is available for sale as a print or T-shirt on Society6.

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