Sunday, June 27, 2010

Get 'er done: Mural Edition

Scratch that one off the bucket list. Large-scale mural in public setting: CHECK. Dear readers, since we're good friends, I will tell you a secret. When the Portland Children's Museum asked me to paint a mural in their new Pet Hospital exhibit, at first I was afraid. I was petrified. I wondered how I'd ever paint a picture at that size. I had never a) painted such a large mural before in such a b) heavily-trafficked area, in c) the place where I work part-time and thus would have to face my co-workers and an ugly mural every day in the event that it sucked.

Dear readers, I will tell you another secret: I am really quite pleased with how it turned out.

That's the finished mural above- and here's how it all went down.

It started with a sketch, obviously. The new exhibit is a play veterinary clinic with stuffed animals the kids can take care of. The exhibit planners wanted a mural for the dog park section. 


I then drew a pretty lenient grid on the sketch for transferring to the Big Screen.

I learned a lot from doing this mural that I think will be muy helpful in my book illustrations. For one thing, the joy and pleasure that having a color sketch brings to me. Yes, YES, I know that painters have been making color sketches for CENTURIES, and I am a little late to this realization. That seems to be the story of my life: I am currently watching season 2 of Mad Men, and read my first Diary of a Wimpy Kid on the bus today. (*Side note: both totally amazing! FYI!)

Anyhoo, that part was easy peasy. Now on to the Uncharted Territory:

Luckily, I had The Grid to help me chart it. It really did help, but I used that grid fairly flexibly towards the end there. And YES, sharp-eyed readers, that IS a copy of The Curious Garden by Peter Brown for color reference!


All drawn in. Then on to COLOR! Just as in my normal illustrations I used acrylics, and I tried to get in all of the colors first before building up any one section.

I painted...
...and painted...
... and painted. It took a good two weeks, and frankly, it got so I dreamed about painting flower pots, and I didn't even want to look at a dog on the sidewalk.

And then it was done.

Some details:



Take that, Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman.

15 comments:

Toby Speed said...

Oh, beautiful! What a great accomplishment. Any way you can post a larger jpg, Victoria? Is the mural based on an actual park, or did you invent it entirely?

P.S. I am late to everything, too. I haven't even read the Harry Potter books yet....

Nina Crittenden said...

You have absolutely outdone yourself!!! I wish I could see it in person! It is amazing! Nice work!!!

Amy Ryan said...

WOW Vicki, the final mural looks AWESOME. I love it!! I see more mural commissions in your future...:)

Abigail said...

looks great! i'll be looking for it next time i take the kiddo to the museum,

Vicki said...

Thanks, you guys! Your kind comments are very appreciated!! Not based on a real park, unfortunately- dog parks, from what I've seen, are entirely too boring.

Abigail, let me know next time you're at the museum- I'd love to meet you in person! :)

Carina said...

Well, I see no pugs, nor dogs humping each other (which would a Realistic dog park make), but I think it is utterly gorgeous! You could have been a graffiti artist if the children's book world weren't so lucky to have you.

Vicki said...

Scratch what I said about dog parks being boring, I guess.

Lauren Castillo said...

SO awesome, Vicki! I love that dog in the flower pot!! :)

Anonymous said...

vicki,
it's awesome! I can't wait until I can see it in person, how's 2014?
-Margaret

Vicki said...

Thanks, Lauren!

Margaret, that's a bit far away... but I'll take what I can get! :)

kate said...

Oh wow, that came out really great! Maybe I'll have to find some unsuspecting parents that will pay me to bring their child there. I'm sure I could swing that.

Paul Hoppe said...

Great Job Vicki!! Love the details, that dog with the collar is hilarious! I've never worked at that size, it seems very daunting... Congrats!

Christina Rodriguez said...

Beautiful work, Victoria!

Laura Zarrin said...

The mural is beautiful!!!! I love that Chihuahua!

Jen said...

Wow! That looks terrific.

I laughed at Carina's comment. I can only imagine the expressions on parents' faces if you had included that!