An Artist Journal
Continued from Volume III
Tarzan of the Apes
By David Burton
Choice of Illustrations
Design and Layout of the Book
Back to the Future Article
Volume IV Part 13: An Artist Journal by David Burton ~ Outfitting the Porters
During the time when I started this, finding the correct clothes was extremely important. Oddly enough, I had trouble finding the right period clothing for both men and women. Eventually I was able to do this by finding a reproduction of a Sears catalog that gave examples of clothing from between 1880 and 1915. This was PERFECT! I was then able to go through this and dress the Porters (and members of their party) appropriately.
The main thing that I didn't want to do is stray away from what would have been really worn. In the past, this has had some play as far as Jane is concerned.
The other thing was wear. How often would things get torn up? The biggest problem I have is when I'm illustrating, I want to stay true to what and how things really would have been, and trying to make something more sellable by going to that torn skirt that shows off some leg. That's a bridge that I'll be crossing soon. I'm probably going to let my boss beat me into what would be the best way to go.
Next I'll get into the nightmare of choosing which illustrations would be best.
Outfitting the Porters
Volume IV Part 14: An Artist Journal by David Burton ~ Choice of Illustrations
When I take a book that I'm going to be illustrating, I make it a rule to keep it on hand and to read it at least 4 - 5 times. I'll read it the first time to absorb it. Then I'll go over it several more times making notes. I try to find what will make the best illustration. This isn't always easy. When illustrating a book you have to give the book a balance. Too many here or there and choosing nothing but action scenes will make the book off balance.
When I'm going through the book, I'll try to find what I feel are the most important scenes, for example, Tarzan and Jane's first kiss or Kala's death. Then there are those scenes between what's being said. There are many in a book like Tarzan. For example, I've chosen to illustrate a scene that features Tarzan in clothes towards the end of the book where he and d'Arnot are in one of the settlements. I've got Tarzan sitting on a porch telling a native boy tales of his boyhood. The native boy is sitting intently listening to every word. Not a scene that actually takes place in the book, but I felt that at some point Tarzan would have to recognize that not all natives were his enemies.
Now d'Arnot tells him this but we never hear of Tarzan making his peace with what had happened to his mother (Kala). Those of us who've read the second book, know that the Waziri become his close friends. I wanted to show that bridge where he understood and grew. After I've made my notes on what scenes I think will be good, I then make a series of thumbnail sketches that are set side by side. After I've gotten that done, I look them over and see if they work together. Here's where I find that balance I spoke of earlier. When something doesn't look right, I'll change it for another illustration or drop it and exchange it for another.
I have a lot of fun reading the books and finding what to draw and then choosing what I think would make the best cover. I do run into problems though. Such as anything written by Robert E. Howard or Edgar Rice Burroughs. They give the illustrator so MUCH that it's hard to choose. When I started going through Tarzan, choosing what I felt would make great illustrations, I became bogged down with the sheer number of choices! I had to go through these and choose. This is like trying to choose which of your children will live and which won't. It's never easy and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Next, designing the layout of the book.
Choice of Illustrations
Volume IV Part 15: An Artist Journal by David Burton ~ Design and Layout of the Book
Designing and layout is hard work. You've got to have a balance as I mentioned in last week's column -- you've got to have a flow to your book. I've got a juggling act in that I've got close to 30 illustrations that all have to be placed and done so that they work together. I've got one from the Leanta Books' Princess that wasn't used because it didn't fit. You can see this by signing up to their web site and newsletter, as that this will give you access to a part of the site that only members can see. Here you'll see a sample chapter from Princess with that illustration. And as for Tarzan, I've got one that I'm doing just for that part of their site.
I have this one illustration for Tarzan that gave me a problem. It's nice, but I'm not happy with it as it is, in its original form. I've got Tarzan placed where he has to be as opposed to where he should be. As it stands, it looks as though he's falling down on Terkoz and Jane. I wanted him looking as though he were jumping down on them but from an angle. I had to place him the way that I did because of the size of the figures and the size of the paper. I could have used smaller figures and the drawing would have looked less detailed and with larger paper, well I would have used it if I had it. Never mind the fact that finding the size that I need with my deadline would have been ridiculous. I did try other angles and he didn't fit, so I compromised and placed him where he is. Now the drawing won't look the way that the original does thanks to Photoshop and Kylen who handles all of the layout, design and tech stuff at Leanta Books.
Due to the time of the year Leanta is running behind, so Tarzan of the Apes won't be out on January 1st. The NEW release date is now January 15th. So, if you haven't had a chance to preorder your copy, you've got a few extra days. You can preorder your book at www.leanta.com
Design and Layout of the Book
End of Volume IV Part 15
I'll be back in a few weeks with my work on the sequel to Princess,
The Gods of Mars.
See you all then!
Remembering his boundless imagination, human spirit
and fine artistry.
This is our introduction
to the many fine art pieces Dave has shared
with ERBzine readers over the years.
His friendship and fine artistic talent is greatly missed.
BURTON WEB REFS
See Volume I in ERBzine 1698
See Volume II in ERBzine 1708
See Volume III in ERBzine 1714
See Volume III in ERBzine 1715
See the Official David Burton Website
ERBzine Artist Profiles Series Presents David Burton
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