Saturday, July 18, 2009

Process and Revisions

I am very close to finishing the dummy (mock-up version) of the children's book I'm working on. I wanted to take a moment to share with you a bit of my process for this book. Typically, I read the text and let a phrase jump out at me that I'd like to illustrate. I start by making some rough thumb-nails to get a general idea of the composition.

Once I select one I think works, I roughly sketch out the people - poses, facial expressions, etc. Then I go over that rough sketch with tracing paper, making a clean drawing that I will eventually use for the final. I scan in the clean version and cut out the image from the background and put it on a new sheet in Photoshop. I usually do this for every person and background so that I can keep them on separate layers, and can manipulate them further in Photoshop if I want to.

I then take the completed scene and place it into InDesign with the text. Sometimes I have to go back and make adjustments to make sure there is an image on every spread and that the overall book is flowing nicely. The photos below are some of the illustrations I've had to re-work because either the characters didn't look the same as the rest of the book, proportions were off or they just needed a bit more Oomph to them. (or all of the above)

version 1

version 2

I re-did this scene for a few reasons. Initially I thought that this particular image was going to be a spot illustration, but after completing a few more drawings I realized that I wanted to make more of an impact with the party decorations - and make it a full page spread. (to make the text and image flow better with the rest of the book) I think the 2nd version is much more interesting than the first and much more fun.

This next scene I changed for similar reasons. I had intended it being a smaller illustration, but I thought it was a bit too bland on it's own. Also, in the first version I drew, the proportions are too-off (hands and feet are way too small - I always have difficulty drawing hands and feet!) Also, the characters looked a little different from the rest of the book, so I re-drew it. I was much happier with how the characters looked, but I thought that it was still too boring on it's own, so I added a background scene. I have trouble coming up with background scenes too, but they really do add much more interest, especially in children's books. (they are kind of essential)

version 1

version 2

version 3

Once I get the drawings how I want them, I will start adding color in Photoshop, which can take anywhere from 5 to 20 hours depending on how elaborate the scene is. So yeah, it's a very time consuming process for sure. But, it will be very full-filling once the book is completed and printed. =) I don't work this way exclusively, meaning, I don't only make work via Adobe products, but for this particular project I am.

Well anyway, I'd better get back to drawing. I'm so close to finishing the first step it hurts!

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