Okay. I think it might be time to admit defeat.
For the last few weeks I've been working on my Inkscape vector art skills by taking the original artwork of my favorite children's illustrators and trying to recreate them in a digital medium. And while most of the time things work out great, for heavily hand-drawn or hand-painted works like the one from my friend Ludwig Bemelmans here... it's a challenge.
I usually set an informal timeline of no longer than a couple of days to complete any particular work but this one has taken weeks to just get this far. And while I know I can definitely get it to a state of "pretty good" I'm also an incompetent enough artist to know when I am simply out of my league.
I'll never get anywhere near as good as the original, and that's fine. That's what makes Bemelman's work so iconic. If it was easy to replicate there would be lots of other books out there illustrated in the same way.
So while I may be admitting defeat for this particular challenge I learned a LOT while trying to figure out how to digitally recreate a beautiful painting. So in a way, maybe I'm a little more competent (or at least a little less incompetent) than I was before.
And that's really the point of the whole exercise. To practice, to learn, to improve, and to try again.
My favorite children's book author and illustrator of all time is James Marshall.
He wrote dozens of his own works and illustrated over seventy books but my favorite out of everything he has done are his "George and Martha" stories.
His use of words and lines are deceptively minimal but they convey an amazing amount of story and movement.
I thought it would be fun to try and figure out how he was able to do this by recreating some of his artwork using more modern vector graphics.
And since I was re-doing the line work, why not change up the color palette slightly as well?
James Marshall's early books often contained only three or four primary colors due to limitations of cost-effective book printing at that time. So while there are hatching lines to indicate shade and depth, often the colors in the original books are muddled and blotchy. So I thought it would be great to try and add depth, shadow and a slightly greater color palette to the same artwork.
This is my first attempt but I've had so much fun I'll definitely be adding more soon!