Well, what better place to begin than at the end? I’ve decided to start the illustrations for “Hunter’s Quest” by painting the back cover. This will probably have typing all over it like the back cover of “Haylee’s Treasure,” so I’ll need to avoid dark colors. Mara and I decided it would be a good place to show some antique Shakespeare lures. Lure shapes are simple but appealing, and besides, having lures on the cover allows for plenty of bad jokes about hooking new readers.
I started off by selecting some favorite lures from a reference book Mara loaned me. I drew six scattered on a plain background, then began experimenting with colors and techniques on a scrap of watercolor paper. (Click on any of these photos to see better detail.)
From my experimenting I decided to use a very light background, especially since I could make the hooks and hardware gray instead of black. I began by making a light even wash (of burgandy yellow ochre) over the entire surface, then added a second, darker wash everywhere except to the lure bodies. Next I added shadows under the lures (red iron oxide).
I added details and scrubbed out paint from where the hooks would be painted. Some of the old lures had a gold paint added to mimic scales, fins, and gill covers. I used iridescent antique bronze to simulte that effect surprisingly well.
Last to be added were hooks, spinners, and a couple of feathers. The finished lures, waiting to catch some readers, are the Jim Dandy Floater, Jointed Egyptian Wobbler, Shakespeare Special, Striped Bass Special, Punkin Seed, and the Jack Smith. Do you think we’ve got the right bait?