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Gerard DuBois
Wall Paper
posted:
One meter by one meter strip - rough positioning #1
Couple of months ago I've been approached by a french company to see if I would be interested to work on a wall paper for children. 
The idea was to build a collection of classical type of wall papers, pretty much inspired by toile de jouy, (or toile), each of them would have a classical book as main theme, and  illustrated by different artists; the kind of wallpaper you'd put only on one wall only.
The company owner, Simon-Pierre Herman, a true litterature connaisseur, wanted an italian artist for Collodi's Pinocchio, a spanish one for Cervantes, etc, ... and a french one for Charles Perrault's Donkeyskin.
The funny thing is that I had given this XVII century story as a subject to my students a year before. A kind of practise what you preach.
The first thing has been to discuss a bit the project since I was not familiar at all with the technical aspects, the printing, how many colors, the size of the «motifs», strips, etc...
Then, like for an illustrated book, I decided which parts would give a good lecture of the whole story and would be interesting to illustrate. That being done I've started to sketch 5 scenes so I would have enough material to work for the wall paper but also for the two friezes. 
I tried different positioning to see if it was working as a whole. I decided I could draw extra clouds and other details to fill the empty spaces from one usage to the other, so it does not look too mechanicaly pasted.
These are the tighter and final sketches.
This is the version with the house, to work with the frieze.
Frieze one
Frieze two
Rough position before starting the final paintings
Once approved by my client, I waited a bit before I go to colors. I have to admit I liked the outline aspect of the images and I was worried colors would kill what I liked in the drawings. 
After a while, I got more at peace with my feelings, so I was able to start painting with a «good attitude». I hate when I have to rush on something I do not feel or agree with, most of the time when it happens it all goes wrong.
I've tried to work with a small palette so the images would stay graphic and as bold as possible, so they would not lose what I liked in the sketches. 
For the frieze
For the wall paper
Color test for background 2
Color test for background 1
Once the motifs were done, I painted the two backgrounds on different sheets and made some photoshop changes so there would not be any problem when pasted on a wall, one after the other.
I've tried some extra postioning; there are so many possibilities.
Second positioning
 
Anyway, right now the wallpaper and friezes are going to press.
I can't wait to see a wall covered with it.
A kid bedroom anybody?
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DuBois is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!