Tuesday, February 7, 2012


After creating the storyboards I have the visual flow and structure sorted for my story. I have created multiple compositional thumbnails for each page and decided on the strongest ones. It is now time to create the draft illustrations. This part can vary a lot as everybody has their own way of creating artwork. In this post I will run through the way I create my draft  illustrations and you can alter the process to fit your style.

Using the thumbnail storyboards as a guide I start to draw a pencil draft for each page. I start by checking the dimensions my book will end up. In this case I decided to base the format the images around the iPad screen as this will be my first platform for publishing the book. The iPad screen is a lot lower resolution than print so I need to create the illustrations bigger. This way I can also use them for the print version of the book. I created the drawings double the size of the iPad screen and added 3mm of bleed. This is a lot bigger than I will need them however it is always better to work bigger as you never know when you are going to need to blow something up. A lot of illustrators work to double scale as it allows you to get more detail. So I have my dimensions set on the paper, now I create a template of this format. You can go over the outline of the page with a dark maker so you can trace it for each one or create a few boxes in Indesign then print out as many pages as you need.

The way you draw the draft is completely dependant on style. As I will be using these drawings as the main outline for my finished illustrations I will be drawing a lot of detail and in a very neat and tidy manner. I use a lot of reference for my characters as it helps to get everything looking correct. Things like ethnicity, body positioning, hands and feet are tricky to draw from you head. The easiest way to find reference images is Google. I usually have about 10-50 images that I have collected for each book. Characters are tricky to get looking consistent throughout the whole book so it is good to create some character pages and sketches before you start. This way you have a reference your own characters. These are a few I have created for previous books.

Here is a list of other handy tools that might help you while creating your drafts.

I find this extremely helpful when I am trying to draw certain expressions or gestures; you act it out in the mirror. It is also good to look at your drawing in the mirror some times as it shows you mistakes you have missed.

Light Table/Window
You often need to create multiple versions of elements or get the same position so tracing can be very helpful.

Kneadable Eraser
These are great for thinning lines and rubbing out very fine detail.

See below a few of the draft illustrations I have created for 'Catch that Fly.' When creating your artwork try to get all your characters in three quarter or full frontal view as children have trouble recognising characters from the back. Make sure you read through the text several times with the drawing you have created to make sure they work nicely together.

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