My Illustration
Challenge
for 2017

Illustration Challenge #2: The Wind in the Willows

January 13, 2017

(My personal Illustration Challenge for 2017 is to complete one 'double page spread' from a popular, modern or classic children's story each week, picked randomly from a hat. Using lines from the original text, I am re-creating the 'imagery' in my own way, just for fun!)

 

This week's challenge was even harder! 

 

The Wind in the Willows, written by Kenneth Grahame, published in 1908.

 

My daughter picked this one out of the hat for me, and immediately wanted to put the title back and choose another because she is reading this very story in class this term and is really not enjoying it... yet!

 

Admittedly, there is a slow beginning (a lot of messing about in boats!) with Mole finding a friend in 'Ratty' the water vole, who teaches him the ways of the river, and adds a little adventure to Mole's comfortable existence. (Later on, Ratty is tempted by even bigger ideas; an invitation to board a ship with the Seafaring Rat. But Mole persuades him to stay.)

 

I love the themes of this book; the desire for adventure, the comfort of home, what true friendship means. However, I worked on one piece, featuring both Mole and Ratty, for quite a while until admitting to myself it was so dull and uninspiring as an image, I scrapped that and started again (Ratty lay on the grass under a tree, Mole sitting next to him gazing up at the Wild Wood. Lots of grass. Lots of trees. As I said, dull).

 

So here is Mole, with Ratty's words ringing in his ears.

 

What does his heart truly long for; the comforts of tea by the fire, or adventure and the open road?

 

Focussing in on Mole and his 'stuff' was a stronger starting point. The oval shape of the window set the feel for the rest of it, and again I have added very little colour digitally. With both this and last week's image I really enjoyed shading with pencil and retaining as much of that texture as possible. 

 

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