I am excited to be included in this blog tour and for the chance to show everyone a little bit about my Illustration process. Every week an Artist writes a post about their working methods, what they’re currently working on, and then invites two other Artists/Illustrators/Authors to do the same the next week. If you’ve come from Adam Winsor’s post from last week I hope you enjoy getting to know me and my illustration process a little better!
What am I working on currently?
Quite a few things! Currently I am working on another MeeGenius project due to be published in the next coming months. I am also working with an author on his own manuscript involving a kitten who learns to stand up for herself against bullies (more work and information to come) as well as working on my personal project #CryptoCreatures. I also just completed a secret project I can’t say anything about for a couple of months! (sketch snippet below) :>
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I strive to make my sketches and final illustrations as animated and expressive as possible. I am very drawn to cartoons and animation in general and in my human and animal characters I try to bring an expressiveness and extra bit of emotion to really sell what I am trying to convey. I do not strive for complete realistic representation in my work and never plan to - I find I am drawn to stylized, simpler, cartoon-inspired illustration work that is also more character driven.
Why do I illustrate what I do?
I illustrate what I do because it’s what I’ve wanted to do with my life for a very long time. As a child I was very influenced by children’s book Illustrators/Authors Tomie dePaola and Jan Brett. I fell in love with children’s books through them primarily and then when I began watching Saturday morning cartoons I began to fall in love with animation and the sort of zany, colorful, and expressive style that many animated works of art have. As I’ve worked on more and more projects I’ve realized that children’s books and a ‘for animation style’ (as my work has sometimes been called) can really work well together to bring out a reaction in an audience. Some of my favorite children’s book Illustrators also happen to work in the animation industry. I love when I can make a connection with people through my work and bring about a positive reaction.
How does my illustration process work?
For this question I am going to use examples from my recent MeeGenius project: Annie’s Crayon Story (available now!)
With any project the first thing I do after understanding the prompt is sketching! LOTS of sketching. Be it a character or a scene I always prefer to put pencil to paper first. I seriously do quite a bit of sketching and brainstorming before anything final happens - mostly in my sketchbook which I have with me at all times. If you want to see what I enjoy sketching check out my Instagram account as well!
Sketching helps me hash out ideas and figure out what I feel is working or not. It’s basically my brain vomit.
Next, comes more finalized work. With Annie’s Crayon Story I had to create character designs first. I created a few different character designs for Annie’s character based on the story and feedback. The final approved design was selected and I created a character turnaround just to make sense of Annie’s different views.
Next, with picture book projects, I sketch out the story and lay the story out in a storyboard to see how everything flows. MeeGenius has a format built primarily for mobile devices so here is an example of the first storyboard I sent for Annie’s Crayon Story:
Here is where I can tweak the sketches based on feedback. After storyboarding I take the approved sketches and begin the process of coloring and finalizing the illustration. I finalize almost all my artwork digitally (primarily with Photoshop). Here is a gif of how the sketch compares to the final illustration for the cover of Annie’s Crayon Story.
And that’s a wrap!
I hope that provided some insight into my work process! Below are two Illustrators I’ve been fortunate enough to meet personally who will share their process next Monday. Check out their awesome work!
Marcus Cutler is a children’s illustrator whose work has appeared in over 100 client projects including magazines, educational books, mobile apps, and more. See his work at www.marcuscutler.com, read his blog at http://marcuscutler.blogspot.ca/, and follow his twitter at https://twitter.com/MarcusCutler.
He lives in Ontario, Canada, where you’re likely to find him testing out the local slides with his wife and daughters.
He’s also a ninja.
John Lechner is an author, illustrator, animator, designer, musician and puppeteer. He has written and illustrated four picture books for Candlewick Press, including A Froggy Fable, The Clever Stick, and Sticky Burr. He also creates animated films, interactive stories, and puppet shows. An avid fan of nature, John writes a blog called The Untended Garden about art inspired by the natural world. He also draws a weekly webcomic called Sticky Burr, and is a founding member of FableVision Studios in Boston. Learn more about John at his website: http://johnlechner.com