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John & Elinor Billington

Here are some more character designs from Two Bad PilgrimsJohn & Elinor Billington were Francis & Johnny’s mom and dad.  The passengers on the Mayflower comprised 2 groups: the Saints and the Strangers.  The Saints were the Puritans who wanted to found a colony where they could practice a Christianity free from the corruption of their religion in Europe.

The Strangers weren’t necessarily religious, but came to the New World for a variety of reasons.  The Billingtons were among the Strangers, and their reason for the voyage was to escape debt.  John Billington was certainly no saint—he was a bully who constantly antagonized Miles Standish to the point that Standish took legal action against him.  Eventually, John Billington met his end by making history: he was the first man in the New World to be hanged for murder.

I’ve drawn John & Elinor shabby-genteel, a couple who once had money but have fallen on hard times.

johnandelinorb

johnbillington

johnandelinor.color

Two Bad Pilgrims

I’ve got another book coming out in August, Two Bad Pilgrims.

It’s the true story of the Billington brothers, who came to the New World on the Mayflower.  They were a couple of brats who nearly blew up the ship while fooling around with a fowling piece belowdecks.

The art director and editor asked that this project be given a graphic novel look.  When I was a kid, my goal was to become a comic book or strip artist.  So this was fun, but what a load of work!  Nineteen times more work than a conventional picture book.

I was never going to finish all this—thumbnail sketches, comp sketches, character designs, inking and coloring— on time without some help, so my buddy Vince Dorse jumped in to digitally colorize my black and white ink drawings.

Here are character designs for the 2 boys, Franky and Johnny.

francis

johnny

The thumbnail sketch for spread 18/19 (later bumped to 20/21). The thumbnail sketch is about 2 inches tall.

pilgrim.1819

The comprehensive sketch for page 20. I work about half-size.

p18

The inked-in version of page 20. This is a night scene at the top.  I really enjoyed dropping in those big areas of solid black!

p20ink

Now it’s time to color it in.  I painted this little color sketch for Vince.

pilg20colorsk

And here’s his beautiful colorization.

p20color

La Serenissima

Today I’m working on a night-tme scene: a lady holding a cat in 1890s Venice.  Here are the thumbnail sketch and the comprehensive sketch.

Thumbnail sketch for pp 30/31.  The opera box scene was dropped.

Thumbnail sketch for pp 30/31. The opera box scene was dropped.

Comp sketch for page 30.

Comp sketch for page 30.

I’ll start by blocking in the dark areas in Burnt Sienna.