Norton and Fenroy’s Most Excellent Used Book Dealership

Savant Booksellers SketchThe further illustrated (and mundane) adventures of Mister Savant! Still after books, this time he seems to be negotiating the price on a tome. Typical, the man is so obsessed with cheap and obscure paperbacks when he should be trying to get his hosts to part with their hats!

This drawing started off in my 15x18cm notebook with a vague idea in my head late one night, and so I ended up tackling it a little differently. I didn’t thumbnail or roughly draw in the entire scene, instead finishing the pencils on one character entirely and then moving onto the next.

The result is apparent (to me at least); the quality and styles of the figures vary wildly. Savant (back to us) was drawn in first, hence the lines are tentative and ‘noodly’, lacking definition. The short man (is it Norton or Fenroy, I haven’t decided) came next, and by now I was warming up and starting to have some fun; the snow globe hats, for instance, were a last second addition. The pink fairy was next, and since her pose was somewhat unconventional the lines are a bit uneven here too, although I’m happy with the way she turned out.


In order to fill the rest of the space I wondered if I should perhaps draw in some background material such as stacks of books or shelves, but since I’m not very comfortable drawing backgrounds (and I’d already drawn more than enough books in Mister Savant’s Stupid Quest for the Book Whose Name He Simply, Well.. Forgot!), I decided a couple more figures might fill in the page nicely. I had the most fun drawing these two figures, namely the tall man and Sophie, and I think it shows. The lines are the most confident here. Indeed, the visual difference between Savant and Sophie makes me a bit uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to rub it out and start over. It’s only a sketch!

The second fairy was added in as an afterthought as I had by then decided on having no background elements whatsoever, and to put in some kind of chandelier or something in that space to balance the composition would have seemed out of place.

As usual with my sketches, I left in the construction lines. I scanned it in and coloured it in GIMP; just a simple flat colour pass and one for adding in dodge/burn highlights and shadows. Not the most elegant job I’ve done (probably has something to do with the fact that I only used fuzzy round brushes) but satisfactory.

I like doing these Savant sketches. They’re a lot of fun and even as I completed this one I thought up a bunch more to do. I like them even more when they have a bit of colour on them. I’ve mostly always been a black-and-white sketch person, leaving colour for more finished pieces, but I’m starting to see its merits even in quick work. Also it’s one more place to practice colour theory and hone my skills.

I think that on the next ones I should definitely ‘rough in’ the scene before going to finished pencils to avoid those awkward style changes. Im not practiced or proficient enough a cartoonist to even have a style yet, so I should remember that warmup time is needed.

Oh, and next time I promise he won’t be doing anything boring.