Clive McFarland
The Fox and the Wild

Image Type: multiple

Usage: Inside spreads of my self-authored children's picture book,’The Fox and the Wild’ (Templar).

Process: Everything is based from drawings. I painted all textures by hand using various types of paint before cutting out, scanning in and then using Photoshop to compose the final digital illustrations using these textures. I like the organic quality of the hand painted textures with the control working digitally provides.

Materials: Watercolours, acrylics, cut paper & NeoColor crayons were used on Canson MiTeintes paper to create the textures and colours in the book. Photoshop was used to create the final illustrations.

Formats: Digital illustrations in a children's 32-page hardcover picture book. I am inspired by paper collage and cut-out illustration techniques, however combining this with working digitally I find I am able to have more control over the level of detail in the work. It always starts with sketches which I use a template. I limited myself in my approach digitally to stay true to the essence of cut out illustration and also created all textures using real paint and crayon. I aim to create work that feels textured and handmade, but also polished and sharp.

Brief Requirements: Illustrate a 32-page colour picturebook. The self-written story follows a fox called Fred who hears about a place called 'The Wild’ and sets off to hunt for it… despite being unsure what he might be looking for and others telling him it doesn’t really exist. I wanted to create a story with an environmental message but one that felt fun and exciting. Hopefully inspiring a love for foxes and nature in young readers.

Key Brief Ideas: I wanted to tell the story from a fox's point of view and so humans are deliberately not shown in the book and are often quite a threatening presence always off-page.  I was careful not to suggest that foxes cannot live in cities and felt it was important to show foxes surviving in both nature and urban areas and being happy in either… although the natural landscape is more suited to this particular fox. It was a challenge to make the city look bright, colourful and appealing but also quite grimy and oppressive, while still making the wild feel fresher. I used coloured trees and buildings to make both places seem attractive, and green textures to make the wind feel more natural. The coloured flowers in the wild creep into the city spreads to tie the two separate places together, and also to hint at what Fred might find up ahead.

Commissioner Company: Templar Publishing