Wake up! The third edition of Wake Up Screaming is dedicated to the Woods.
This full moon we are joined by illustrator and author David Litchfield. David has illustrated many children’s books, and written a couple himself.
I have been busy working on something a little bit different for this edition. Without further ado, here it is…
1. Into The Woods
– Words, Illustrations, and video production by Matt Witt
2. Guest contributor:
– David Litchfield
– Q & A
3. Something Old
– An old collaboration from David Litchfield and Matt
4. Greetings Cards
– Ultra spiritual meditation-themed greetings cards.
– Become a guest contributor
1. Into The Woods – Words & Illustration by Matt Witt
My approach towards my own creative exploration has always been best understood to me via the metaphor of the woods. The idea of venturing into the unknown to face the darkness and retrieve something of value, maybe a pot of treasure, or a princess, maybe your darkest fear. I consider the act of creating as heroic, and I view my creations as these treasures, retrieved from the depths of unknown worlds. I feel empowered by this approach to creating.
In this edition, I am embarking on a journey into the unknown to retrieve an image of the woods. To make it a little more interesting, I will walk you through my adventure step by step. I hope this will be a fun exercise and help us all to gain some insights into the phases of a creative process.
As I was creating the image, I felt my awareness sinking deeper and deeper into the woods. The further I sink the clearer this other world starts to become, being touched and swiped into existence by fingers that seem to move without being told to, slowly evolving to represent the inner image on an outer plain.
It evokes quite a satisfying feeling to watch this little 1000px square blossom into what once only existed as an inner image.
Here we go…
1.Translating the idea out of the head
I had a concept in mind, it had been sat there for a couple of days. The task was to translate it from an abstract undefined state in the mind, into a clearly defined and developed illustration on the screen.
I proceed quickly and get a rough sketch of the forms, colours and general composition onto the screen. Much of what you see here (above) doesn’t exist in the final image, either it’s developed in form, changed colour or been deleted.
This initial image has crude lighting and unconsidered colouring, the purpose is solely to get the main elements and composition out of the head, to be developed in the next stage.
2. Developing the shapes, colours and composition
Here the image starts to take shape, the execution is still rough and develops as the pathway through the forest starts to form.
At this stage, I am disappearing deeper into the woods. I pay proper attention to it the physical image in the real world, refining and refining until it matches the image in my head and starts to become more aesthetically pleasing.
It grows into to something, out of me, and has me in a state of awe as it develops. I get such a tremendous reward from this escape into another world.
3. Creating more depth, refining the colour palette
Now things start to pull together more tidily. It looks more like nighttime/dusk. I zoom right into the horizon, into the deepest part of the forest. I work in there refining the perspective, using the tree trunks and the sunset to achieve some real depth in the image.
Then I zoom out and work on the hero in the foreground, I see the scene through his eyes and refine more, then I return to my own viewpoint, watching the little guy taking tentative steps into the woods.
4. The final touches
The final touches are applied to the colour palette and the image is tidied up. Any loose edges and misplaced elements are fixed. The aim is to leave the image with no mistakes, misplaced elements or anything that disturbs the flow of the eyes.
The more attention that’s applied the more refined the image becomes. The image may not yet be finished. I could easily explore in more depth. When the refinements become so refined so as not to make any real difference to the overall image, I know I am getting close.
5. The final, final touches!
The piece is never really finished, but in the last step, I am refining the lighting, creating subtle gradients to give the image more texture and depth. I am also tidying up the circle composition, and slightly adjusting smaller elements and the framing leaves.
I have been lost in this world for days, I thought I might not make it back alive. It’s taught me things about colour, about patience, about myth. It’s opened doors to new ideas in writing. It’s improved my use of technology and opened up a more developed illustrative style, deeper, more colourful, more energetic and more complete. What’s more, I have dissected the creative process and created a video with soundscape to go along with it. Who knew it would become a multimedia piece?
Finally, something that I have come to realise is that the sharing of the work is just as important as it’s execution. An image made and unshared is not fulfilling it’s potential, not reaching the eyes and minds that it could. If all it brings is a moment of joy or intrigue in another’s mind, then my work is done, I am satisfied and grateful.
Enjoy the video…
2. Guest Contributor – David Litchfield
Image: Bear and the Piano David Litchfield
David Litchfield and I met while collaborating, many moons ago. He is hero of mine!
Who are you?
I am David Charles Litchfield.
What do you do?
I illustrate (and occasionally write) Children’s books. I also illustrate book covers.
Why do you do it?
I’ve tried to do loads of things in my adult life such as play guitar, make films, graphic design, etc. But I always kept coming back to drawing. Drawing is what makes me happiest and it always has done
Where do you like to hang out?
I hang out mostly in my attic. It’s a very nice attic with windows and heating and electricity. It’s where I make most of my books. I’m also surrounded by other peoples books and posters and toys and postcards, all made by people I admire. I like to surround myself with objects that inspire me.
How do you understand creativity?
I think we are all born creative and with an urge to share that creativity with the world. As we get older a lot of people lose that urge and its replaced by mortgages, bills and the mundane day to day rigmarole of life.
We are very lucky that somehow we’ve managed to hold on to that creativity. And it’s also a vital thing to have. Creative people make the world look nice and bring smiles to people’s faces. If it wasn’t for creative people- and the art, music, architecture, stories, etc they create- the world would be a very grey, ‘1984’ Orwellian place.
Check out David’s book the Bear and the Piano via the video below.
David’s website: davidlitchfieldillustration.com
View this video to check out David’s Book, The Bear and the Piano.
3. Something Old – The Tree
Back in the day, David and I collaborated on this poem and illustration. I created the poem and sent it to David and he created this wonderful illustration of a tree to accompany it.
This day showed me the world in a different light
I saw a tree I had never before seen
I asked if its leaves were just leaves
Or the swaying scales of a giant green beast
Is it sound asleep
Or preparing to speak?
Does it see?
Is it lurching at will
Or just caught on the breeze?
Poem: Matt Witt, Illustration: David Litchfield
4. Greetings Cards
You can now get your favourite Matt Witt Illustrations on special greetings cards. They are available individually or in packs of 6 and 12.
The cards pictured here are the meditation-themed set, for an ultra-spiritual Christmas!
Head over to the shop to check them out – Shop for cards.
With each edition, we will showcase a special guest contributor. An artist, illustrator, writer, or maybe a medium, an astrologist, a therapist or yoga instructor. If you would like to contribute to Wake up Screaming please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with some examples of your work, or if you are a therapist then contact me with your website and we’ll look at how best to present you.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Wake up Screaming. The next one will arrive with the New Moon in December, you can sign up below.
The aim of this publication is to discipline myself to release new work regularly, outside of Facebook and Instagram, and to encourage me to create themed work on a regular basis. Besides that, it’s a joy to connect with other creatives and collaborate on a new publication.
I am always keen to hear from other artists about collaborating.
You can check out more of my work on www.wakeupscreaming.com.
See you in two weeks!