By Wendy Wasserstein, The Sisters Rosensweig, is an award-winning play, a funny family drama about three Jewish-American sisters who gather in London for the birthday of the eldest. There's great dialogue, dishing, and reckoning about love and choices each have made. After reading the script, I made about 14 rough thumbnail sketches to show Carole Harris, marketing director extraordinaire. These are loose and quick, and 3 that led to the final image:
The one above got the green light, to refine in that direction. From here, I needed models. I called three of my neighbors who fit the age categories and asked them to mimic my sketch, sort of.
Thanks to Christine, Kathryn, and Maria Grace! Now I need to gather them again, this time WITH actual wine and cake. You can see I worked from both photos, plus one of mine from our trip to London in April.
Before any drawing, I created a color pastel environment, to set the mood more than for realism. I wanted the warm colors to wrap around the sisters, a metaphor for what binds them.
I make my final drawing on tracing paper, then retrace it on the reverse side in charcoal. Then I rub the line drawing (with red color pencil) so a shadow is left on the pastel paper. Old-fashioned carbon paper, yes.
By the time I draw the final illustration, I know it pretty well, having drawn it multiple times, each time a little different.
Here is the final drawing, with my reference for Big Ben on the side.
I leave lots of room for "bleed" or extra area that allows for various crops, to fit the wide variety of marketing formats used by Portland Stage.
The script calls for a list of props, among them a chintz sofa. I wanted to add a chintz pattern to the illustration. Peonies were in bloom back when I worked on this. They drove me to considerable distraction.
Here's the drawing that became my pattern.
At this point, my better half, Marty, showed me the technique for doing this in Photoshop. Always nice to learn new digital tricks.
And voila, final illustration. I added the hand-lettering of the title, playwright, and dates on another layer in Photoshop, sending it all to the designer, Secret Weapon Karen Lybrand, to use in countless ways.
Portland Stage never disappoints!