Thursday 27 August 2020

For Babysitting Trouble I produced well over 1000 drawings. From the rough early thumbnail sketches, numerous progressive sketches to the final artwork (on each of the 96 pages). These following images show how a typical illustration was created, from sketchbook to final printed page.
Pencil sketch of book illustration
Any story that I'm working on starts in my sketchbook, well actually, appears in my mind first of all, and then I put it down into my sketchbook. I see my sketchbook as my 'extra memory', like Dumbledore's pensive. Repositories for storing lots of extra ideas and images.
Development sketch from Bug Belly book
When the text is completed it's chopped into page spreads by my editor and book designer. They are looking for pace and page turning drama. I already know by now roughly what image I'm planning for each spread. So I can refine the sketch over and over until I feel I've captured the spirit of the story incident and the liveliness and accuracy of the characters. I'm not looking to mirror what is said in the text, but to add to and expand upon the words.
Dummy book for Bug Belly Babysitting Trouble
These sketches get pasted into a mocked up full 'finished' dummy book and are submitted to get approval from editorial and publisher.
Finished artwork for Bug Belly Babysitting Trouble
 Then it's time to buckle down to the artwork. I love working in these rich black Polychromos pencils. The only downside is that if I make a mark I'm not happy with it can't easily be erased. So I redraw the scene over again. That, or digitally erase those bits after scanning the image into Photoshop.
Artwork for Bug Belly Babysitting Trouble book illustration
 And it's in Photoshop, or ProCreate, that I digitally paint in the extra textures over my pencil work. I've created custom brushes that enhance the natural pencil marks. 
Final printed page from Bug Belly Babysitting Trouble
 These early reader books are printed in black with one extra colour. This is also added digitally and then pre-print separated before handing over to my book designer for getting print ready.