A few years ago, I made the image of Hans-My-Hedgehog being rocked by his mother. You can read the post, and why I love this scene, by clicking here. When it came time to redo this in color, I wanted to do it differently this time. I wanted to make it into a spot illustration that would fit in line with the text, in keeping with the new version of the color Hans-My-Hedgehog I made last week (see post below). I also realized Hans himself needed to be tinier than I made him before. You might notice a repeating pattern from the drawing Hans piping in the trees: the turquoise with red and white dots. I did this on purpose. Though the Grimm fairytale is very dark--the father wishes for the hedgehog child and then does not love him--I believe that the once barren mother who bore him loved him. She made this special blue blanket for her little lad, whom she names Hans. Hans, pink and tiny with the soft quills of a baby hedgehog, sleeps on the shoulder of his mother. When he leaves the family home, I imagine he took the blanket with him, along with the bagpipes from his father and the donkeys, pigs, and his rooster, and made it into something he could keep with him in his new, solitary life.
"Rocking Hans to Sleep" Copyright 2015 Jessica Boehman. Colored pencil, pencil, gouache. Do not reproduce without permission.
I'll be attending the SCBWI conference this year in Los Angeles, and I've signed up for the illustrator's intensive. They gave us a homework assignment to take a drawing from the existing portfolio and to reimagine it: night to day, before to after, color to monochrome, etc. Since I'm revamping my portfolio this year to be all in color, as the last one I presented there was all black and white, I decided to redo a favorite drawing in color, to see how it would compare.
Below: The original black and white drawing of Hans-My-Hedgehog. You can see the original blog post about it by clicking here.
After the last SCBWI, I had a portfolio review with Caldecott medalist Paul O. Zelinsky. He suggested that I consider my portfolio pieces as pages from a book, and incorporate the text. He used Hans as an example:
So this time around, I wanted to simplify the picture to make room for the words of the fairytale. I kept the background a stark white to allow the colors to sing. What do you think, color or black and white?
Below: "Hans-My-Hedgehog (Color)" by Jessica Boehman. Colored pencil, pencil, gouache. copyright 2015.
UPDATE: After the SCBWI Illustrator Intensive assignment review, my piece was chosen for critique. The panel, which consisted of illustrators, art directors, and agents, suggested that similar values in parts of the drawing, like in the bagpipe and in Hans' leg, could obscure the details, so I made some changes based on their suggestions. Thank you, ladies! Do you see the changes?
Hans-My-Hedgehog Illustrations is the name of Jessica Boehman's blog and illustration shop. It is named after her favorite fairy tale about a hedgehog boy who becomes king of the forest. All other pages redirect to: