STEP 1 - THUMBNAILS:
|Beginning rough thumbnails|
STEP 2 - REVISED THUMBNAILS:
|I picked this thumbnail to illustrate|
|I begin revising in miniature|
This thumbnail is evolving, but it needs more work to get the POV (point of view) right. I want the little chicken to feel a bit left out and small because everything in his world happens over his head - in more ways than one. I take the image into Photoshop and start playing with angles and placement of characters. I also straighten up the overall shape of my drawing and erase areas that need to be revised by hand. I always scan at a higher resolution than needed so I can continue to enlarge and print at each stage.
STEP 3 - REVISIONS FOR BEGINNING ROUGH STAGE:
|Revisions continue at a larger size|
Here I made revisions to the image by hand after enlarging 10% and printing out.
STEP 4 FINAL ROUGHS:
I scan again, enlarge more, print again and continue revising.
|Larger still - it continues to evolve|
I continue in this way - scanning, enlarging, printing and revising in pencil until I have a full size rough (in this case 16"x10"). I lighten the image in Photoshop before printing whenever I need to. I'm using a higher quality inkjet paper at this stage. It is thicker and able to hold onto all the details I'm adding. It's about $10 per ream.
|Almost full size, I finish smoothing out the details|
|Black and white full size final rough|
STEP 5 - COLOR ROUGH:
This may seem a little backward, but at this point I take my 16x10 final black and white rough and reduce it by about 65%. Exploring color goes much faster at this size. I print it out on untextured, matte photo paper and make my color decisions. I write lots of notes so I remember what colored pencils and layers I used. This will be the map I use during the final illustration. The color and detail are as complete as I can make them at this size and on this type of paper.
|This is the color rough at 25% of the final size.|
STEP 6 - FINAL ILLUSTRATION:
|On the left is what I enlarged and printed onto my drawing paper. |
The "color map" with notes that I will follow is on the right.
To begin my final illustration, I scan the 6x4 color rough at high resolution and enlarge to full size in Photoshop. This is what I will print onto my drawing surface. It will give me my basic drawing and under layers of color to work with. I have to complete far fewer layers than I did when I started my drawings on blank paper with a pencil outline. I also retain more details and gestures from the beginning stages. I'm not concerned with the roughness of the color I'm printing because everything will be smoothed out in the final process. Along with the color from the initial printout, I will be adding pen and ink stipple for the shadow areas and colored pencil over everything. All details need to be worked out before this stage, but minor edits can be done in Photoshop after the final scan. Start to finish this 16x10 illustration was completed within two weeks while working regular hours. (While I finished the illustration within two weeks - I was not working solid 8 hour days on this project alone. I finished it comfortably within this time and also made sure to take days off.) In the past this illustration, without the thumbnails and roughs, would have taken 3-4 weeks of working long hours - maybe even without taking days off.