6 December, 2011
The drawings above were the final rough drawings of the bookmarks I posted yesterday.
For each bookmark, I did dozens of rough drawings, playing around with different poses and compositions. The narrow dimensions of these drawings definitely provided some challenges, as it took some time to work out a layout that would work to my satisfaction.
During this stage the drawings generally start out really rough, sometimes amounting to no more than a bunch of scribbles. As I start getting comfortable with the the foundations of the drawing, the roughs get more and more refined until I have a drawing that is pretty close to what I want (see the drawings above).
Once I get the rough drawings where I want them, I use a lightbox to trace the drawings in pencil onto bristol board. This part of the process is a little more difficult than it would seem because it is not easy to get the same kind of energy that existed in the original sketch when you trace it. Often times, the trace can look lifeless and dull, so I try to re-sketch it rather than simply trace it. Fortunately, at this stage, I don’t need the pencil drawing to be perfect, it just need serve as a guide for when I ink it.
Despite my oft stated love for the Pentel Pocket Brush pen, I generally prefer to use the real thing when inking. The Pentel is great for mobility because it can be a hassle to carry ink and water everywhere when I want to draw with a brush. However. when I am at home, nothing beats a brush. I used a Winsor Newton Series 7 Number 2 brush to ink these drawings. It’s a great brush that can give you a nice variation of line and hold a decent amount of ink. The finished ink drawings are below.
I then scan the drawings into Photoshop where I adjust the levels to get a nice black and what image. I also touch up little bits of the linework and make any minor corrections that are needed. When the linework is where I want I begin to add color. I always start out with flat colors, but I did add some gradients in the backgrounds to give them a little something-something. For the finishing touch, I add a subtle texture overlay to give the illustrations more of a “lived in” kind of feel.
And that’s pretty much it! The bookmarks were then laid out in Illustrator and were ready to print. One final note, the astronaut is show here right side up, but was always intended to be upside down. It just turned out that it was easier to draw him this way and then flip him in the final file.