The Art Table—Graphite

The Art Table—Graphite

I’ve been working on different illustration ideas for my book, The Oghalon Chronicles, for the past year, and my medium of choice was graphite. I love the feel of the pencil in my trained hand, as it glides across the smooth surface of the paper. My paper of choice for this project was bristol board, which has a very smooth surface. I still like some tooth, just enough to give it a textural feel, and bristol board fits the bill nicely. For lead weights in my pencils, I tend to use 2B, 3B and 6B because they add the dark values quickly. I do like the H leads when I need a hard edge, or to layout a sketch, but tend to stick with the B’s the most.

This particular drawing, the swan, is going to be part of my title page for every chapter (there is also another P.O.V. character, in which a bear will be part of the title page). I’m still working on an embellishment that will sit in between two identical swans, but once that is completed, I will post a layout of what an example title chapter page will look like.

I had originally created a swan with a crown, but I wasn’t happy with the results. It was too static and quite frankly, very ho, hum. I wanted the swan to have some human qualities because my protagonist, Hayley changes into one.

The way that I accomplished this was to show movement with the body and by making the feathers wispy and dramatic. Also, I replaced the swan’s eyes with the characters eyes (this is true in the story). For the final touch I lifted the foot, as if she were dancing. Swan feet, I discovered are not the daintiest of feet, so I used a little Illustrator magic. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the results.

What do you think?


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Shelley Shayner

Artistic Mystic Shelley is a published author and an award-winning artist who writes and illustrates fantasy stories for kids. She also writes about life, art and the mystical on her blog. Her current novel, The Dreylyng Prophecy, is the first book in the Ogalon Series.

  • Jennifer M Eaton
    Posted at 23:47h, 16 December Reply

    Wow, Shelley, you are incredibly talented! If I could draw like this I wouldn’t be waiting three months for my artist to get to work on my novel. That is stunning detail. Really Really nice!

    • Shelley Szajner
      Posted at 15:43h, 17 December Reply

      Thank you, Jennifer! Illustration is something I know very well, and is a big plus for the novel I’m working on. Writing has been more difficult for me to master, but I haven’t given up yet! lol. Good luck with your novel. I’m sure it will be a hit!

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