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What process do you use?

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LeahSullivan

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Hi all!
I've been writing since I was a child, but I am new to the illustrating world. I've finished writing the story, but I'm not sure how to go about illustrating, so right now I am just working on getting the concepts and style down.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!  :help

Cheers!
Leah
#1 - June 02, 2012, 05:55 PM

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Hi Leah!

After I write the ms, I go through and divide the text into spreads (I just mark a hardcopy with lines separating the text and write in the spread numbers) and then I start a rough thumbnail storyboard. I usually make illo notes for myself as I write, so I usually already have a pretty good idea of what I want to illustrate in each scene. Once I get the thumbnail storyboard done (and edit text or art as required), I move on to a full size dummy. I do the sketches, and then scan them and create files in PS, where I add typography. I'll also do a few color samples.

Oh, and usually either at the note stage or after I finish writing the ms, I do the character sketches.

there is a really good tutorial on making a dummy here:

http://www.yellapalooza.com/tutorials/dummies.html

hope that helps!
#2 - June 02, 2012, 09:02 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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LeahSullivan

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Thank you so much! I'll be sure to check out that tutorial!
#3 - June 03, 2012, 04:36 AM

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It's different for every book, but a lot of the time I'll get an image or character in my mind and draw that first, then try to figure out what the character's story is (sometimes takes only a day or so to get the story idea, sometimes years). Then my process is similar to Arty's. I try to write the text of the story first (tho sometimes the images keep popping into my head and the drawing before writing stage is longer). Once I have the text finished, I start the back and forth of character sketches, making dummies, and adjusting the text if needed.

One thing about the art: When you submit art, make sure that the finished samples are professional quality. That means that most of the dummy can be sketches (but should be polished sketches so the character and action are clear and similar to the finished art), and your color pieces really have to shine. Your finished pieces and sketch dummy need to show the editor and art director that you can illustrate the book. Get feedback on your art before submitting, if possible - conference portfolio critiques are great for this if you can make it to a conference. Experiment with different styles if you're just starting out illustrating. The style you think is right, might not be right for kids books (I started as a fine artist and a painter, but the illustration style that ADs and editors like from me is digital).

Take your time with the art before you submit ... or if you feel you're ready, submit and then pay attention to the responses you get. Do they like your text but not your art or vice versa? That will help you decide what you need to work on, or if you're willing to consider having someone else illustrate your story, or willing to illustrate a story by someone else. Getting all form rejections or no responses? You might need to get some critiques to find out what needs work. Getting positive responses on something? Keep doing that!

Good luck!!
#4 - June 03, 2012, 09:06 AM
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I like this thread because the illustration process seems rather murky compared to how the whole writing and submitting just text goes. It's true that unless your work is of professional quality (ie do you think you could make a living at this?) you should just submit the text to a publisher, and they are in charge of hiring the illustrator. But everyone starts somewhere, and for someone who wants to go into illustration (or who wants to know how it all works so they can even decide if they want to get serious about it), I love it when people share the process. Love the responses here--they are all great! That tutorial at Yellapalooza is a good one.

Another smallish example I like is one you can see only through Tuesday, but if you go right now to www.thedreamercomic.com and follow the link to the voting incentive (the direct link is http://topwebcomics.com/vote/7156/default.aspx?id=7156, but I don't know how long it will be up), you can see a one-page example of sketches to finished project. If you can't access it, basically, it shows very rough, almost bloblike sketches to place the characters and map out where the text goes. Then several rounds followed to clarify historical details, and then she developed the drawings. The color was last.

What's fascinating to me is that art is subject to editorial suggestion, not just text. So, unlike creating your masterpiece painting, you will be revising that illustration, maybe even drawing it several times. (Easier with digital, I'm thinking...)

Something else that's fun, although not directly about illustrating one particular book, is Illustration Friday. (www.illustrationfriday.com). You get a new prompt every Friday, do your picture and put it up someone, send a link to the IF site, and then you can check out everyone else's stuff. I've learned a lot about illustration just by looking at point of view/perspective, color, atmospheric perspective (ie using color to show distance), characterization, etc. Most of the people on it are professionals, but not all. I love it because it's like a surprise box of chocolates every week--plus, it's fun to participate and see what you can come up with.

Thanks for asking the question!
#5 - June 03, 2012, 03:43 PM

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What's fascinating to me is that art is subject to editorial suggestion, not just text. So, unlike creating your masterpiece painting, you will be revising that illustration, maybe even drawing it several times. (Easier with digital, I'm thinking...)

This is so true, and sometimes, just like with writing, you have to go through several rounds of illustration revisions before the PB is acquired and you're given the green light to illustrate it (whether the text is written by you or someone else).

I second Illustration Friday as a great way to work on your illustration skills and have some fun doing it.
#6 - June 03, 2012, 05:39 PM
Site - http://sruble.com
Twitter - http://twitter.com/StephanieRuble

picture book: EWE AND AYE (now available as an ebook!)

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Here's another couple of links to sites where the illustrator has shared their process.

http://aaronzenz.tripod.com/dummies.html

http://www.pilkey.com/behind-tg.php

I third Illustration Friday!!
#7 - June 03, 2012, 05:52 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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I have always started with the story and broken it down in to page spreads and thumb nails. Then I work on character development and go back to do some cleaner spreads. I'll try to make the characters more consistent and the types of action or point of view more varied in my 3rd round of sketches done in with the correct proportions.  I scan them in, add the text, and do a few in color.  It is the getting started part that I find the hardest.
#8 - June 08, 2012, 11:16 AM

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