Sketching, Sketching

So, what does an illustrator do? The answer is sketch, sketch, sketch, sketch, sketch. I wish I had more time to do more of it. Whether you work on the computer or on paper or on canvas, the initial stages of an illustration start out with sketches. I usually start out with thumbnail sketches (tiny 2x3 inch drawings) to work out the composition. I ALWAYS do this for a book. But then my method sometimes varies from there in the larger sketch stage. Often, I like to sketch out different ideas for foreground and background and then merge the two in Photoshop. Here's an example of something I'm working on.

The boy and dogs were drawn separately from the background. That way, if I get a main focal point (the boy and the dogs here) the way I want them, I don't have to draw around them and worry about messing them up. I simply put a piece of paper over the main subject (thin enough to see through) and start drawing background ideas. Once I've got one I like, I scan both foreground and background into the computer and merge them. From there I can tweak sizes, proportions, perspectives...all sorts of things. After cleaning it up a bit, I print out the sketch on watercolor paper on my Epson 2200 and then paint. And if I mess up, I just print out a new one.

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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at

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