When I was a kid my dad showed me a technique for drawing on a photograph. It involved some darkroom trickery and trial-and-error. It also meant spending resources on paper, chemicals, film, and time. I remember tracing the outline of our horse, Peggy, in white. Something about white drawn lines over top of a realistic photo looked magical.
Of course now all of this can be done without analog props. But I never thought about it until my daughter’s birthday. She was out playing in the woods by her great-grandparents cabin, and I was taking photos of stumps and roots and rocks. The landscapes looked so rich and magical and I thought of building little sets and taking some tilt-shift photography. But there wasn’t time. Instead, I remembered this technique from when I was a kid, and reproduced it with an iPad. “I wish I had a better stylus,” is my way of saying I’m a better writer than an illustrator.