Three pigs and one wolf from Once Upon a Time

In a traditional illustration process a rough color sketch like this could be used as a guide for a more finished painting. In a photographic illustration process, it’s a guide for the type of props to be made.

Michael Lokensgaard applies a base coat of paint on the three pigs he sculpted from polymer clay. He based the expression and body positions of the pigs on my original drawing above.

Randy Gilman details a wolf he sculpted from polymer clay. Gilman also fabricated the wood, straw, and brick house parts depicted in the sketch.

Here I arrange objects along a strip of miniature landscape made by Gilman, which, like the other custom props, closely conforms to my sketch.

Finally, I arrange custom props together with a selection of miniatures from my collection. The props are angled for optimum effect, photographed in groupings, and later rearranged in Photoshop. A computer monitor (right) allows me to see what the camera (above out of view) sees in real time.

The pigs and custom props, while real objects, impart a cartoonish style (similar to that of the original sketch), and blurs the distinction between photography and traditional hand-painted illustration.

Three Little Pigs ©2006 Walter Wick,
from Can You See What I See? Once Upon a Time