‘A Jolly Bunch’, or ‘Wesoła gromadka’, is a series of illustrations for an anthology of short stories originally put together and illustrated by Bohdan Butenko. The plots are focused on various kids getting into trouble, usually with a disastrous effects.
To counter gruesome, dark-humor-filled stories, I decided to go with a very cheerful style. The palette is bright and colorful, and at first glance the illustrations don’t seem to differ much from the ones you usually see in children’s books. Only when you read the text and pay attention to what is actually depicted can you realize what kind of story you are actually getting into.
First I worked on the colour palette and the general mood I wanted to evoke. Then I decided which parts of the text I’d like to illustrate and proceeded with sketches of compositions. I like to sketch on paper, even if the final piece is done entirely in a computer program. Then I choose a tool: in this case, a nice pastel-like Photoshop brush that gave my work some texture.
‘Wesoła gromadka’ was one of my first illustration assignments at my university. I learned a lot from the project, like how to deal with composition and how to illustrate so that the drawings correspond with the text in an interesting way. It pretty much defined my main drawing style. And while I continue to experiment a lot with different mediums, the textured brush I discovered back then is still my go-to tool.