For the children's book, Trout! Trout! Trout (A Fish Chant), by April Pulley Sayre, This spread was my biggest challenge to date...as I was going to have to assemble, produce a pencil for approval, then replicate (fish for fish) almost 400 small, cloned Starhead Topminnows to create this monster of a "bigger" fish chasing after a Northern Pike. Seemed simple enough?
The background was the easiest, if the images in the foreground were going to be a hunk of eye-candy, I wanted the background very clear of other, unnecessary items.
Then I created two different little fish, with slight variations. I'd literally move the pupils on all of them to make sure each minnow was eyeballing the bigger fish. Then I was ready to assemble.
I put the initial sketches in a cepia brown color, and began cloning the minnows on top of where they needed to be.
About 380 fish later I was able to turn, maneuver, and place each fish so they matched the pencil exactly. Shading and highlights for depth would come later.
At one point, I even broke my own rule...it happens, and I added something unnecessary; I got to thinking an old, underwater buoy chain might look neat, complete with later added seaweed.
See? Started to add detail to the Pike here, sans highlights.
But the chain was rejected, and I agreed with the art director and editor. It was not necessary. But tons of multiples of bubbles and motion blurs were.