Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting the drawing right

Getting the drawing just right is, for me, the hardest part of an illustration. I think other illustrators will tell you the same thing. I agonize over the smallest details. 

 Here is where I am with this piece now, and I'm pretty happy with it.

Please click on this to see it larger.

It started with these little character sketches (which I showed in my last post). They're all done separately, and at different sizes, on plain printer paper.

Then, thanks to the magic of Photoshop, I pieced them all together into one picture, and was able to re-size and move around individual pieces using the Edit/ Free Transform commands. At this stage, each character is on a separate layer, so I can cut and paste, and do whatever to each one without affecting the others. Here I just want to place them in a basic composition. (I've also added in the young girl and baby.)

Then I start fiddling with them. I use my Wacom tablet and pen to draw on top of my rough sketch and start firming things up. Lots of work gets done here. Lots. 

Then I re-scan and get away from it for a while, and look at it fresh. There are always things that are way off that I don't notice at first. For example, I tend to draw heads big. I don't know why. Maybe I lived on Easter Island in a past life. So I corrected those a bit. I also made lots of adjustments to things like all the legs and feet, and all the places where a lot of small bits intersect, so I can avoid bad tangents.

Here are some potential trouble spots ~

So I make sure lines overlap in a nice way, rather than flowing right into each other. They become abstract shapes at this point, so I'm also looking to make interesting asymmetrical shapes, rather than having sides line up equally all over (if that makes sense).

I will probably do one more tighter drawing, making minor adjustments, then move on to doing a value and color rough. One thing I already know I will have to work out are all the 'whites' - caps, aprons, and the back wall - to make sure they are all balanced. So that's next.

I love that little baby, and his grabby hand. 


CC said...

I love other Illustrator's "war stories".

Especially yours, as you are so good at
"showing and telling".

Cindy D. said...

Wonderful explanation of the process, and really wonderful group of characters. I just visited your Etsy shop and wow, really beautiful. Love the jellybeans!

Koosje Koene said...

I love this 'show and tell'. thanks for letting us in on your process.