A Word from the Artist
The Chronicles of Narnia have always been some of my favorite books, ever since my childhood. Like a lot of little girls, I was in love with things like unicorns and centaurs, and I was also something of an escapist, so the idea of opening a door into a magical otherworld was very appealing. And of course, there was Aslan. I was aware of the symbolism in Narnia already, and a character who combined Divine power and fearsomeness with compassion and approachability definitely helped me, at a young age, to comprehend the nature of God. Not surprisingly, Aslan is my favorite character to depict in my artwork!
My preferred creative method is to sketch out an entire composition by hand, scan it, and then do the color work in Adobe Photoshop. I may or may not take a few pictures to reference for expressions, angles, and lighting (although my work usually comes out much better when I do!) Nothing can take the place of a pencil in the hand and a tactile sheet of drawing paper, and I love drawing for hours.
However, with much of my Narnia art, I have had to work under a very tight deadline, and needed to streamline the process. Often I wind up pulling my reference photos straight into the computer, and then using photoshop layers to paint directly on top of them, picking up colors from the original photo. Since I most often use my own face, the end result typically looks nothing like the beginning! But if I’m lucky enough to find models who fit my mental image of certain characters, I will stick pretty close to the photos. It sounds simple, but it is still a challenge to harmonize a composition using this technique, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll come out better than those that start with a sketch.
My goal is to hone my painting skills until the viewer can’t tell the difference between which artworks started with a sketch and which with a photo. Judging by several reactions, I’m beginning to get there!
– Dawn Doughty Davidson