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Friday Fan Art (I.O.U. #1)

May 8, 2009

TGIF! What a week in DiTerlizziland! I have been up to my eyeballs in creating the artwork for the Spiderwick finale, The Wyrm King. As I continue my drawing/inking warm-ups for each day’s session, I have been rendering some fun stuff that is looong overdue to some of my friends – including this pen & ink art trade with Dinotopia demigod, James Gurney.

Jim rendered a super-cool piece for the upcoming Spiderwick Chronicles Completely Fantastical Edition – which (as I’ve mentioned before) contains the first five books, lost chapters from Holly, a sketchbook from yours truly, and a SICK art gallery by some of my drawin’ pals. Jim said I could have his submission for a trade, and (of course) I jumped at the opportunity.


I went back to the original Dinotopia and found a nice vignette of the hero, Will, meeting Bix, the benevolent protoceratops. I wanted to do my take on this scene, mainly because I would LOVE to be in Will’s shoes. (And, also, because the idea of becoming friends with a dinosaur is not too far removed from becoming friends with a creature of the faerie realm).

What got me juiced was re-interpreting the dinosaur and incorporating some of the current theories linking dinos to birds. So that is the place that I went to for my reference. I cracked open Dr. David Norman’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs, which had reconstructions of the protoceratops, but (more importantly) had a very detailed line-drawing of the skeleton – a structure to build upon.


Immediately, I thought exotic parrots in the rainforest…or even prairie chickens found in the western U.S.. Right away, I knew Bix was going to be feathered.


I sketched Will up on a second sheet of paper and composited the two sketches in Photoshop. This is great for sizing and moving around the figures. I even adjusted the balance of Bix by straightening his left leg to hold his weight.


I transferred the 11×14″ sketch onto Strathmore plate 2-ply bristol using my light table, refined the pencil lines, and inked it up using FW inks and a Hunts 102 nib. I even gave it the trademark Spiderwick dual-border (which I outline with a ruler and pencil, then ink freehand.)


I hope you like it Jim, I’ll have to blop some watercolor on a print out at some point…unless someone out there is really good at digital coloring…

PS – Update! Jim posted his image (of Hogsqueal riding on Bix) on his site. He even included a little video of himself inking the piece…check it out!

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.