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.

You may also like

The Creature Who Loved Me
Setting out
Quick change
Bespoke Magazine
Shark suit
Three wise men
End of the line
Loose threads
Back to Top