So, I meant to write this over the holiday season but time got away from me and even though this is from a Christmas Book I wanted to share this part of the project with all of my foodie friends or any of you who have a sweet tooth.
In Jet the Frog’s Big Imagination at Christmas there was one scene I was both excited and dreading drawing. The line read something about a giant palace made of candy. This invoked images of Candyland and Willy Wonka. The ideas were endless but then came the task of creating them all.
The idea seemed simple enough. Lets start with a gingerbread house. Something like what some of us made in kindergarten with graham crackers. So I had to make my graham crackers with realistic grittiness and dimples. Then I had to glue them together with some goopy royal icing. Then it was the idea of hiding the seams with candy cane pieces and roofs out of different types of ice cream cones.
As if that wasn’t bad enough to have to stare at for weeks on end as I digitally created each of these pieces my imagination got the better of me and it ran wild with food. Sweet and candies, that each one had to be painstakingly created to make a believable scene. I started thinking about this as a real place. This meant it would need “landscape”. Now, if I were to make this in the real world how would I do this? Well, with cake. So I then made a chocolate layer cake with mint green icing to emulate dirt and grass. Then for the trees I used cupcakes and lollipops.
Rather than doing white clouds in the sky I knew I needed something more whimsical and thats when I thought of pink cotton candy. I then worked on liquid chocolate rivers and a bridge. To offer a rail on the bridge I needed up creating one of my favorite pieces a twix candy bars with stringy, gooey caramel and Heresy’s Kisses that I customized with “Jet the Frog” ribbons coming out of them.
The scene kept growing and more candy was needed so ribbon candies, candy corns, M&M’s, red vines, and gumdrops all were created. With my personal love of food and sweets I would not add a type of treat unless I felt like I could accurately create a version that would make the reader taste and smell each piece in their mind. Even details like the sheen on a chocolate bar was important for me to capture so it’s like you want to reach out and pluck it off the page to eat it.
Staring at these images for several months putting this all together was torture. It was hard not to crave these real sweets. What I loved about it however was it challenged me to create images that anyone and everyone already knows and loves in a way that was original but at the same time thought of what it was referring to. It’s only through the magic of Photoshop that I was able to create all the different pieces from 3D applications to textures and lighting it all played a role.
Now, I am just hoping in the next adventure for Jet the Frog the author might have him visit a vegetable garden or salad bar! My cravings need adjusting…
A bonus note:
Jet’s outfit for this scene was made out of textures I created using these candies as the patterns. From his lollipop jacket, twix hat, and dipped ice cream cone vest, each piece made for a rich and elaborate outfit to perfectly tie into his background.