Some early exploration sketches I made for a project about Usain Bolt for Gatorade. It was a lot of fun trying to capture his athleticism in a pretty simplified/flat style, and the short turned out awesome - check it The Boy Who Learned to Fly! Art & film property of Moonbot LLC
(Fun fact, I also ended up modeling teen & adult Usain. And the sweet sweet pupper who hits his head.)
ISBN: 978-1442430433 Released Date: October 27, 2015 Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers Pages: 48 Author: William Joyce
Discover how Jack Frost keeps the hearts of children happy in the third picture book in Academy Award winner William Joyce’s New York Times bestselling and “dazzlingly inventive” (Publishers Weekly) The Guardians of Childhood series.
Before Jack Frost was Jack Frost, he was Nightlight, the most trusted and valiant companion of Mim, the Man in the Moon. But when Pitch destroys Mim’s world, he nearly destroys Nightlight too, sending him plunging to Earth where, like Peter Pan, he is destined to remain forever a boy, frozen in time. And while Nightlight has fun sailing icy winds and surfing clouds, he is also lonely without his friend Mim. To keep the cold in his heart from taking over, he spreads it to the landscapes around him and earns a new name: Jack Overland Frost.
But a true friend always comes through, and on one particularly bleak night, Mim shines down and shows Jack a group of children in great peril. Through helping them, Jack finds the warmth he’s been yearning for, and realizes bringing joy to others can melt his own chill. It is this realization—that there will always be children who need moments of bravery, who need rosy cheeks, who need to build snowmen, and who are then eager for a spring day—that makes Jack realize why he is a forever boy, and worthy of becoming a Guardian of Childhood.
Ok, so there was a LOT of work that went into this piece. I don’t always go through every single step I’m showing here, but this composition was so complex, I needed each stage to be a solid foundation for the next. This is going to be a longish post, but I hope it will also be interesting, so here we go!
•Image 1. My very rough thumbnail for the piece. Essentially just marking in the basic shapes from my head, and where the characters were possibly going to be placed. This was about 3x4 inches.
•Image 2. Beginning layout and design, placing key components of the composition. Roughly 8 1/2 x 9 inches, the size I would be working in for the rest of the piece.
•Image 3. Tracing paper layers showing the adjustments I made to Jack and Jamie’s position in the composition, and dolphins replacing the school of fish.
•Image 4. I used a light box to trace the lines I wanted from the previous stage onto graph paper. I rarely use graph paper for my projects, but with this level of complexity, I wanted a guide to help ensure I was placing the structural parts of the piece in proper symmetry and alignment. Once I transferred the lines I had already established, I finished drawing the characters and refining the details of the piece freehand.
•Image 5. When the drawing was done, I made a quick photocopy and used a dark layout pencil to rough in where I thought the general tones would be. Some of these changed as the actual painting progressed.
•Image 6. Once I was satisfied with the level of my drawing, I again used a light box, this time to trace my pencil drawing onto watercolor paper using a limited selection of color pencils. I use this method for a couple of reasons. One, I get to work out any kinks on a different surface, ensuring the paper for my final piece is never overworked before I start painting. Two, the color pencils are wax based, which allows my lines to remain intact even when I run paint over them. I try to keep my artist’s thinking cap on when I make these transfers. I am never just mindlessly tracing; I am re-drawing using my previous layer as a guide, but also giving myself permission to make small alterations as I go that will bring it closer to my vision for the piece.
•Image 7. Final piece, done in watercolor and color pencil. I use the paints and pencils freely in any area I feel they are needed. However, the final piece is definitely more paint than pencil. I also used a small amount of white crayon to create the frost on Jack’s hoodie, breeches, and staff.
Some final notes on the composition: I first had the idea for this piece when I re-encountered a quote by G.K. Chesterton shortly after I saw RotG, which said, “At the four corners of a child’s bed stand Perseus and Roland, Sigurd and St. George. If you withdraw the guard if heroes you are not making him rational; you are only leaving him to fight the devils alone.” I thought how well it fit the whole concept of the story, and I wanted to make a piece of fan art based on that. The inner frame is meant to resemble a bed, and I have tried to include many details that tie into the story and characters, from Sandy’s little ocean dreams and dinosaurs, to the phases of the moon and the nightmares. The quilt pattern that runs along the sides of the central image is called “flying geese”, and so is a subtle nod also to the books on which the movie was based. Beside the movie itself, I tried to reference the flowing lines of Mucha’s art nouveau, and the detail of The Book of Kells as inspiration.
Well, there you have it, and I hope you enjoy seeing the progress! Thanks everyone who has liked and shared my painting over the last few days! I have loved reading your comments and tags and I will try to reply to some of them soon, but I am thoroughly delighted you are all enjoying the piece. :)
Check out some of William Joyce’s answers about Rise of the Guardians, The Guardians of Childhood and… the ROTG SEQUEL?!?!
thatbrat: Dear Mr. Joyce, I know many people don’t give him much thought when talking about the movie, Rise of the Guardians, but for me, the character I was able to relate to the most was young Jamie Bennett. I saw so much of myself in him from when I was a child, and can still relate to his wanting to believe in fantastical beings and pursuit for the truth of the supernatural. I also thought his relationship with Jack was especially endearing and significant. So, getting down to it, my question is: can we expect to see more of him, specifically in Guardians of Childhood? Also, if you’ve given any thought to it, what would he be like as a teenager? What would his aspirations be?
WJ: Jamie was our way of giving the audience a sort of identifiable every kid. So as his character took shape we just thought of the things we wanted him to embody that we all had felt about belief and imagination and that sort of fall from grace when you have to accept the fact that a lot of these things aren’t real. But the belief in them is really the most awesome part of the experience, and in the way it makes these characters real. I want to leave Jamie exactly as he is and let people like yourself imagine his further adventures.
KSClaw: Dear Mr. Joyce, where did you get your initial ideas for Nicholas St. North from your Guardian of Childhood series? How did you come up with that he started out as a Bandit King?
WJ: 1. I came up with the idea when i was in the 3rd grade when I saw my first James Bond move with Sean Connery and I thought Santa Claus must be as cool as Sean Connery and I came up with an early idea of what his life must be like: a super cool spy bandit from bandit from long ago. 2. Sort of the same thing it seemed more interesting that he started out as not a totally good guy, but became a good guy because of what happened to him. It was sort of merging Robin Hood and James Bond because Robin Hood was a normal guy and became a hero because of what was going on around him. He became a hero for the underprivileged, and kids are always treated as second class citizens and Santa Claus’ mission was to make their lives easier and inventive and full of imagination.
Hello! I have a couple of questions of you!
1. Is there going to be a book for Pitch in the Guardians of Childhood series? 2. Are we going to get a Rise of the Guardians sequel? I’ve heard whispers and rumors, but I wanted to ask you guys~ 3. Will there ever be any hope of actually getting good, quality merchandise for Rise of the Guardians? Things like…Jack’s Hoodie, maybe a toy Ruby Memory box, stuffed plushie Nightmares, maybe even something cute like a Sandman Nightight? All of your fans would -love- to have stuff like that!
WJ: Maybe. I’m thinking about. I just finished the Jack Frost book. Everyone who wants a sequel to happen to call Jeffrey Katzenberg at Dreamworks studio, and not to hang up until you talk to him. Tell them how essential it is that another Rise of the Guardians film be made. As for the merchandise, call Jeffrey Katzenberg [laughs] send him telegrams, letters, fruitcakes, pints of blood, anything that’ll get them to do this very simple, profitable, and necessary extension of our global culture. And bless you all.
KSCLaw: What was the inspiration for Bunnymund from Guardians of Childhood, and how chocolate affects him (such as the transformations)?
WJ: The inspiration for Bunnymund was a play from the 1950s – and a movie – called Harvey starting Jimmy Stewart. In which Jimmy Stewart’s best friend is a six foot all knowing all powerful invisible rabbit named Harvey. Harvey is described as a Pooka a creature of Celtic mythology. I loved that play and movie as a kid and I still love it. So I made Bunnymund the last of the Pooka’s and gave them a history that amused and delighted me and I tried to do honor to the original concept of Harvey. The chocolate thing, it just made narrative sense.
JokulFrosti1: William when you were making Rise Of The Guardians do you ever planned on naming Jack’s sister? And if so what would be her name?
WJ: That’s a closely guarded secret, but if you contact Jeffrey Katzenberg at Dreamworks Studios to know the answer in a sequel to Rise of the Guardians I think that’s the best shot you have to knowing the answer.
JokulFrosti1: Did Jack meet his “family” (the one we see in flashbacks in ROTG) between his (as Nightlight) battle with Pitch but before he officially became Jack Frost?
i. jack sparrow (hanson duo); ii.to glory (groove addicts); iii. horn of plenty (james newton howard); iv. life of a tsar i. polonaise (mikhail glinka); v. waltz no. 2 (dmitri shostakovich); vi. the embassy waltz (frederick loewe); vii.masquerade waltz (aram khachaturian); viii.kaiser-waltzer op.437 (johann straus ii.); ix.cheerful calvary (joe hisaishi); x. jupiter (gustav holst); xi. look to the stars (hans zimmer); xii.blackheart (two steps from hell); xiii. from a land of dreams (immediate music); xiv. a place among the stars (hans zimmer); xv. betrayal voices (immediate music); xvi. witness hell (trevor morris); xvii.dream is collapsing (hans zimmer); xviii. battle for the soul of the universe (immediate music); xix. the bridge of khazad dum (howard shore); xx. into eternity (brian tyler); xxi.particles of the universe (dan homer and benh zeitlin); xxii.once upon a december (david newman); xxiii. the golden age (woodkid)
Sofi and I went to Moonbot Studios today to give them an update on the Book of Belief and WE MET WILLIAM JOYCE! The studio is amazing and all the stuff they’re working on is amazing and they are amazing and Bill is just the nicest guy.
It was so cool guys. My drive to work on this book is entirely revitalized.
It’s Amazon Pilot Season! These are the six potential vehicles for Amazon’s original children’s programming in the future. Which pilots do you like, and most importantly, what do you think won’t end up on this blog?
William Joyce: Clouds have been on my mind. This ones from my rise of the guardians Jack Frost book coming out from Simon and Schuster in the fall. Jack is looking for his memories. He saved the Man in the moon way back when both were part of the golden age. Then Pitch came. Complications ensued.
William Joyce appears at the 2011 National Book Festival.
William Joyce has put his personal stamp on all types of children’s media. His picture books include “George Shrinks,” “Dinosaur Bob” and “Santa Calls.” He has won three Emmy awards for his “Rolie Polie Olie” animated series, developed character concepts for the animated features “Toy Story” and “A Bug’s Life,” and made films, including “Robots” and “Meet the Robinsons.” He is currently co-directing the DreamWorks Animation release of “Rise of the Guardians,” inspired by his new series. His new book is “The Man in the Moon.”