Sunday, March 18, 2012

Alphabeasts: W is for Wild Thing

Quick post this week, because I still have a ton of Jane Eyre to prep (and The Death Ray, to boot). But here's this week's Alphabeasts critter, which I hope will be universally recognizable:

W is for Wild Thing.

These guys are so fun. I've loved them since I was just a little kid.

Yes, they make everything groovy.

Next week: hard sci-fi not suitable for the wee ones.


Curious Art said...

Wow... I thought you'd tapped into my childhood with the last one, but this is even more iconic & beloved. My brother named his son Max after the hero of this book!

Beautifully done, too!

Sam W. said...

Perfect! From the color choice to the sharp smile, this looks just as it should. Maurice Sendak's design is accurately recreated here.

Isaac said...

Well, I think I set his head a little too far from his shoulders, to tell you the truth. But I had the book open in front of me when I was doing the colors, so it was easy to get them right.

I'm glad I was able to do the Wild Things some justice, though. I really do love that book.

Mike said...

Aw! Despite the claws, scales, horns, and teeth, he (?) looks so huggable!

After your inking triumphs last week, I find it interesting to see how Sendak's basic design looks when rendered very differently, in brushed ink lines with mostly flat tones rather than the heavily-hatched pen work of the original. I like your drawing very much, don't get me wrong--I'm just considering the changes in rendering, not rendering judgment. (Cf. Tenniel's hatchy Alice drawings vs. Disney's animation cels, e.g.)

Last thing: I think I've mentioned this to you before, but what probably astonished me the most from the Sendak exhibit at the Jewish Museum in NYC a while back was the discovery that he (almost?) always works AT SIZE rather than shrinking down his artwork for publication. And my God but that man can crosshatch, as finely and minutely as he wants to!

Isaac said...

It sounds like you're saying you like Sendak's cross-hatching better, Mike—not that I can blame you. But I knew I would only have time for this week's drawing if I did it in the speediest possible way, so the brush pen won out.

As I practice drawing with these tools every week, I'm finding that I have an inclination for simplified forms and the way those forms are suggested by a brush curve. I'm kind of glad I did this guy with a brush, for the curve of his tail or the curve along his back.

Mike said...

Well, nowhere did I in fact express a relative opinion about which I prefer, the brush line or the cross-hatching, so even if you're hearing an innuendo, it's not there to be seen! Really, I was just struck by the *difference*, not interested in a valuation per se. And part of why it struck me was because last week, with two drawings, you adopted two very different inking styles, each closely imitating the source images. This time you chose a different tack, in the interests of time (and appropriately so--because to hatch the way Sendak does would be no speedy feat!).

Maybe my analogy with Tenniel & Disney was a poor one, since it might imply a value judgment (because Tenniel's drawings, considered as such, > the Disney cels; but for animating purposes, the cels are probably > the hatched drawings). I quite like your calligraphic line, here--my favorite curve is probably the wild thing's cheek around the smile on the left side of the image (i.e., the wild thing's own right side)--and if I had to pick which style of inking I generically prefer, I'd probably say calligraphic outline work (with spot blacks) rather than heavy scratchy hatching. But that generic preference is often trumped by specific geniuses of the pen (Nast, Tenniel, Shepherd, surprises, there, but masters all).

Srsly, though, who would choose to go head-to-head in a drawing war with Sendak?! No great shame in being bested by one of the very best. (And even here, I'm really not calling out your drawing to make a comparative point!)

Mike said...

PS I am glad, though, that my comment prompted you to note the curve of the wild thing's back. I hadn't actually noticed it at first, I think because the curve is broken in half by the color and texture contrast between the fuzzy striped sweater and the scaly legs. But seeing that edge as one line, I can imagine how it felt to draw it (since I can still remember a very satisfying paint curve from a mural I worked on about ten years ago)--a good line is a good line. That's a good line!

Loops O'Fury said...

Excellent choice. I love that book. Our public library has a copy of it in German, so I used to read AZ "Wo die Wilden Kerle Wohnen"--it's really fun to say out loud!

Rachel Askew said...