This is a step-by-step breakdown of the process that I use for my
illustrations. These steps are a big part of the school presentations
that I do. I think it is important for students to know that a good
drawing doesn't just happen, but that there is a disciplined craft involved.
The following steps will show how I created "Page 6" from my forthcoming
book; "Santa's Busy Night."
This is an excerpt from the actual manuscript for "Santa's Busy Night."
The text on the page that I will be working on simply reads "Boots."
To get started, I drew a very quick and very tiny little "thumbnail" sketch here.
There are 32 pages in the book, so I will go through the entire
manuscript making these tiny little drawings.
Here I begin work on the "dummy" sketch. The "dummy" is a sort of
rough draft of the book that I will show to my editor and art director.
The first thing I do is roughly lay out the drawing with a light blue pencil.
I use light blue because it is very easy to draw on top of it with a standard pencil.
I go over the light blue with the standard pencil. I try to add more
detail each time I trace my previous image. You can see here that I
added Santa's left arm holding the toy dog.
Using a lightbox, I then trace the above drawing onto heavier, more
textured paper. I do this with a black colored pencil. I add more
detail and shading here. The drawing is now ready for the editor and
art director to look at.
Once it has been approved, I begin tracing again. As you can see, I end
up tracing my own work over and over. I take my time with this
drawing, and try to put in as much detail as I think is necessary. I
pay attention to the wrinkles on the clothes, the proportions of the two
characters, and the expressions on their faces.
When that is done, I use the lightbox to do one final tracing. Using a
black colored pencil, I transfer the image onto high quality paper. I
add the shading with a 5B pencil, and use a Q-Tip to soften the tones.
Finally, I scan the finished pencil drawing into my computer so that I
can add the color. I use a top secret program that I wrote all by myself.
(Actually, I use Photoshop.)
This is how my illustrations look when I hand them in to the publisher.
They finish the page off by cropping it, and adding the text.