The creative process differs somewhat from artist to artist, but here is an example of mine. I’ve chosen the story of Little Red Riding Hood to work with to demonstrate my abilities in conveying narrative, action, emotion, and consistent character development in my illustrations.
These are different from some of my other sketches as these have been created digitally in Adobe Photoshop. So far, I think I like the digital process in my sketch work. I notice that as I go along, the sketches are getting tighter and tighter. That is fine for me for now as I don’t answer to a client on this one. Generally, of course, I would submit rougher sketches, much like the second image with Red and the wolf in the woods. I would get approval on that before moving forward with tighter sketches.
The VERY rough sketch below is an example of the first step in my creative process, using traditional pencil and paper. I scribble out these just to get a basic idea of what I might want the characters to look like and what scenes I might want to include. These are so rough that they would never be seen by a client.
Keep tuned in to see how the work progresses from here.
If you have been following my blog, you know that I’ve succeeded in getting my website up and going, and I’ve also developed tearsheets and a beginning marketing campaign to send out for initial publishing contacts. I feel good about what I’ve accomplished, and while I think my portfolio is pretty strong, all this time, there’s been this niggly little feeling that it could be stronger.
Now that things have slowed down just a bit, I’ve had a chance to re-evaluate my work and see where it could use some improvement–particularly in the children’s book department.
In my research, I’ve found that children’s book publishers want to see four main elements in an illustrator’s portfolio:
While I have illustrated children’s books before, and I accomplished those four goals in one style, I haven’t quite had the opportunity to demonstrate my narrative skill in the style that I’m currently pushing. In order to show narrative, you have to show you can illustrate a storyline. I don’t have a current “storyline” in the works, so I’ve decided to work with a traditional “Little Red Riding Hood” narrative.
Everyone knows the story of “Little Red Riding Hood,” so any publisher should be able to tell how well I can illustrate that narrative. There’s also plenty of opportunity for action and expression. I don’t plan on illustrating the whole story but maybe three or four action scenes. That should show my consistency in character, expression, action, and narrative.
Here is the first rough sketch. (I usually do my initial sketches with traditional pencil and paper, but this time I’m experimenting with creating my rough sketches digitally. This is my first shot at it. It’s taking some getting used to, but all-in-all, I think I’ll like the process.)
I’m going to add some more little animals showing alarm and fear, and I’ve also left room at the lower left to insert text for the story. This will be a two-page spread.
I just finished this editorial illustration for “Life+Dog Magazine.” I created this in what I call my Vectoresque style. I’ve been told (and I agree) that this would be a solid style for the toy and game industry. Hopefully, I can get a foot in the door there sometime soon.
The editor wanted something light and fun for this piece. This particular project was created as a lead-in illustration for a feature article. The article discusses fifty dogs, six of whom are illustrated here, who are “changing the world.” So these illustrations represent real pets belonging to real people. It was a bit challenging to get the Golden Retrievers to look different enough to be recognizable as two separate individuals, and some of the photos weren’t great to work from, but all-in-all, I think it turned out well.
Here is the sketch as well. You can see that the order of the dogs got shifted around a bit, as well as some of the wording. But that is the nature of the business.
I thoroughly enjoy the work I do with “Life and Dog Magazine” as my favorite work usually includes animals and children. This project will be a fun challenge because it will be the first time I get to tell a bit of a story and incorporate facial expressions and identifiable characters in my “Celestial” style. This will be an important piece for my portfolio. I seem to be drawn toward the children’s and educational market, and this will be a nice addition to strengthen my portfolio for that purpose.
Just dropping a little note with a rough sketch attached to introduce my next project. Just a Thanksgiving-themed John Deere promotional illustration. I will be creating this piece in the “Celestial” style.