690 – Search for Wondla

Search for Wondla

Chapter 9: Slice, interior illustration from The Search for WondLa
Ink on vellum with digital colorization
Collection of the artist

If the Spiderwick Chronicles was a story from the past brought forward to the present, WondLa was a story from the future brought backwards to the past. The Spiderwick Chronicles were done, Holly and I had completed all the stories and during that entire time, I had been thinking about this futuristic story that somehow had an impact on the present day. When I went to finally figure out what the story was, I knew that the art had to be reflective of the tone of the story.

The best way I can explain it is if you wrote a song and you’re like, “Do I use an acoustic guitar or do I use an electric guitar? Maybe I don’t use any guitar. Maybe I use a violin.” It’s the same type of nuance things that I think about when I do my illustration. Because WondLa was a science fiction story, there was kind of an antiseptic, kind of sterile feeling to aspects of it, and I wondered if I could create that visually with my mediums that I use.

I put away my croquille pens and my watercolors in favor of technical pens and velum. I did all the drawings with these kind of fixed-width pens and then we digitally colored the artwork emulating a variety of artists. The first and foremost would be Jean Giraud Moebius, who was one of the founding comic book artists for Heavy Metal Magazine. He was such an incredible inspiration and influence to me and he was so good at creating other worlds convincingly that I wanted to kind of tap into that same kind of creativity.