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February 12, 2015

2013 (?!) Recap: Highlights Magazine

Yikes! The next illustrations I was going to post from my "2014 Recap" were from Highlights Magazine, but when I checked to see which ones I hadn't posted, I realized I still had some left over from 2013!  So this week we're turing the clock waaay back to look at some hidden picture assignments I did for this magazine.

This one was actually the first one I ever did for Highlights!  It was a page and and a half illustration of some kids making little faces with rice cakes.  It's hard to describe how much fun this was to work on.  Besides the obvious enjoyment of hiding objects inside a big complicated drawing, it was also a thrill to work for a magazine that I used to enjoy as a kid (though usually in the waiting room at the dentist's office...)

This one also had a spot illustration of the little girl working on her rice cake face.  I don't know which issue these illustrations ended up in, because I never received a copy, but they're out there somewhere!

My next assignment for Highlights was for their Eagle-Eye Hidden Pictures series, which are jam-packed, cover-to-cover with nothing but hidden pictures!  I began drawing famous landmarks around the USA for the reoccurring "Gabby's Journal" feature, in which a little girl, Gabby, travels the country with her family seeing the sights.

Here's one I did for issue six, of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was especially fun to draw because I had recently relocated to the Bay Area when I drew this!  I was able to go check it out in person to do some sketches.

I've posted before about my process for getting these scenes to look realistic, but one of the things that I figured out when I made this one, is that sometimes you can break the normal rules of illustration to help hide items in your drawing.  For example, usually you are trying to use lots of contrast between foreground and background objects so that it is easy to visually separate them.  But here, by making the sky a darker shade than I normally would, I could more easily hide objects in the negative space between the foreground and background (for instance the fork to the left of the first tower) or in the dark clouds.  The same goes for tangents, which you usually try to avoid as an illustrator, but when hiding an object, they can create a nice visual distraction or point of confusion that can help you hide an object.

For issue eight, I was assigned the French Quarter.  Although I have never been to New Orleans, this is the second time I have done a detailed illustration of its famous iron balconies, and in college I designed a set for A Streetcar Named Desire.  I'll have to get down there someday to experience its charm firsthand.  

Okay, next week I'll actually start posting some of the illustrations I did for Highlights in 2014, as originally planned! 

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