on process...

So much goes into the making of a picture book. As author and illustrator, I have experienced the editing on both sides, but this time around I am solely the illustrator. A lovely manuscript by Maryann Cocca Leffler was assigned to me and it has already been such a fun experience. I get to put all my energy into the look of the book. I've been experimenting with different style/mediums for months but for now it is all about the sketches!

The process of illustrating is a long one. You may think 32 pages isn't much-actually 40 in this case-but for each page you see, there were probably 4-5 sketches behind it during the dummy phase. In April I submitted my dummy to my editor and now it has come back with notes and revisions. An illustrator must be aware of continuity when drawing a character multiple times-as well as complex scenes that must make sense in the pages ahead. There are so many things to solve during the drawing phase-from style, setting, scale to all the minute details of season, time of day, expressions, body language, etc. The paper trail adds up quickly so I keep everything in a big bound sketch notebook where i use binder clips to keep all the loose papers/trial illustrations, notes, etc. Really helps to have things in one place.

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The dummy/sketching phase is vital to working out every detail before moving on to final art. It's a bit like an architect's blueprint. You wouldn't just start building a structure without a plan. A book is no different. Yesterday I made notes on the dummy revisions so that I could create the second one. There are some pages that can be salvaged, save for a scaling of spots here and there, but other pages which require a complete overhaul. 

Am I excited to start final art? Oh yea! :) But it is uber important to nail everything down now.

But in between revisions, I can't help but play with gouache and watercolor to determine the tone for the final art. I created a small mood board so I could determine the look for the fall scenes. Here I can see elements i may want to keep and those i may decide to toss. Again, it's a long process. This book has a more serious tone so I will probably go with a more subdued palette. I want the author to be happy with what I choose and the more I have thought about style, the more I think I will go with watercolor. More to come! Ok, that's all for now. :)

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When students inspire the teacher...

So last night, I gave my illustration students an in-class assignment to loosen them up. I handed out 2 pieces of construction paper, a glue stick and a Sharpie to each-giving them no parameters, other than that they needed to use each material in some way. So fun to see how different minds think! They all had such a unique vision from torn bits to 3-D, breaking the border, etc. So proud...