Saturday, 30 March 2013

Book Character Illustration

It's the night before Hogswatch. And it's too quiet.

There's snow, there's robins, there're trees covered with decorations, but there's a notable lack of the big fat man who delivers the toys...

He's gone.

Susan the governess has got to find him before morning, otherwise the sun won't rise. And unfortunately her only helpers are a raven with an eyeball fixation, the Death of Rats and an oh god of hangovers.
Worse still, someone is coming down the chimney. This time he's carrying a sack instead of a scythe, but there's something regrettably familiar...


It's true what they say. 
"You'd better watch out..."

For this project i chose the character of Susan Sto Helit, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, featured in the novels Soul Music, Hogfather and Thief of Time... i chose the version of her from The Hogfather. Once id re-read the book, taking notes, i compiled a few mood-boards looking at outfits worn by governess' figures as well as variations of the types of clothes worn by the character (hooded cloaks, formal dresses)

For early sketches i looked at capturing Susan's hair style first, it being described as a 'dandelion',  white with a single black streak running from end to end. 
Below are a few sketches i did using markers, as i tried to depict Susan in a few scenes from the book; Her taking a practical approach to the monsters the children are scared of with her poker, her hair rearranging itself in her study and her holding the Death of Rats in her palm. 
'Yes Twyla?'
'I'm afwaid of the monster in the cellar, Thusan. It's going to eat me up.'
Susan shut her book firmly and raised a warning finger.
'What have I told you about trying to sound ingratiatingly cute, Twyla?' she said
The little girl said, 'You said I mustn't. You said that exaggerated lisping is a hanging offence and I only do it to get attention.'

Various costume designs i did, trying to capture the look of a governess. I tried to make it both practical, formal but also quiet stylish, with hints to Susan's heritage as Deaths Granddaughter. 

*The final design for Susan Sto Helit; decided to give her a no nonsense pose, befitting her character. Created the line art by hand then tried out a hatching sketch technique on a copy to see what it looks like... it gives it a unique, 'olde worlde' feel, that i think fits the world depicted in the book.

*Final design of Susan, sketched in various circumstances and poses... tried to capture her practical approach to the mystical world she is so resentfully part of. 

The final piece, depicting both Susan at the forefront, with her grandfather Death stood behind her as an imposing figure. I tried to make Deaths figure not overshadow that of Susan, and in contrast to Susan's white on her costume, the black robe of Death acts as a frame to her quote well i think. As an afterthought, i decided on adding in the city of Ankh Morpork (which is the central setting in many of the Discworld novels), but shown through a sort of stylised 'window' to show how Susan is part of both the ethereal world outside of reality like Death but also still trying to keep hold of her human side. 

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