Today I thought I would share my working process regarding writing and illustrating. Currently I have been focusing on children’s picture books and while the writing style and design aspect differ greatly the process is very similar to that of writing and illustrating comics.
It begins with the idea. I have tons of spiral bound notebooks which I fill up with ideas. Yes, I am old school like that. It is here that I tweak, rearrange, heck even draw little doodles in the margins to tighten up said ideas.
After this I jump on the computer, which you young’ins are more familiar with, to type up the polished manuscript. Typically quite a bit of revision and altering happens in this stage as well but by this point the story is mostly fully formed. From the writing/story stage I move to the illustrations. For the purpose of this particular process walk-through I’ll use samples from the children’s picture book I’m presently working on. First I sketch what are referred to as “thumbnails”. They are very rough ideas, which I typically render with ball point pen, for how an illustration may appear. This stage allows me to play with the positioning of the character, motion of action (if any), camera angle, perspective, etc. Just as with my notebook, I have several sketchbooks full of these “thumbnail” ideas.
After I have what I believe will be the finished design I move to the final art. I “pencil” the image with non-photo blue colored pencils, a trick I picked up from animators I knew while living in the Bay Area, and “ink” the drawing with Micron pens. As you can see, if I don’t feel a design is working I still do some altering in this stage. It’s extremely important that the words and the pictures work together to convey the story seamlessly but I strive to create illustrations which can tell stories of their own without having to rely on the text. Personality (the character’s “acting”), tone and, in comics, pacing are a few key elements I focus on when illustrating. You haven’t read my story as of yet but can you come up with one of your own about who this boy is, where he lives, what he liked to do, etc. from the picture alone?
Once these stages are completed I drop images and text into photoshop and format the page to be either a picture book or graphic novel/comic book. Then digital files are created and sent off to editors and/or publishers.
There ya have it folks! That’s pretty much my process. There is no one way to create though so find the process that best works for you. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse in to how I go about creating and if you have any questions, comments or hate mail feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks and remember to VOTE!