Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Illustration Process: Ellie's Day

I decided my portfolio was seriously lacking some character development imagery, which was something that really had to be remedied. I've just completed the image, and thought I'd share my progress shots.

I dig out my sketchbook, and started sketching. It started with the sketch of the little girl sitting in the top left. I decided that she was called Ellie, and kept sketching.

I didn't end up using all the sketches (I hated the one with the dog =P) but most of them I scanned into the computer, digitally outlined so that I had clear lines, and did some colour studies:

I knew most of the image would come together once I'd worked out Ellie's costume, so I did a series of different trials to see what worked. She was always blonde in my imagination – I did try other hair colours, but they just didn't seem to work.
I chose the mismatched pink/green/purple, after discussing it with a few people. 

I find digitally outlining images, though tedious, is helpful. It's too easy to fudge a line while I'm sketching, which doesn't become obvious until I start to ink. Using photoshop, I can do a preliminary trace and make sure everything is in the right proportion, and looks okay – and if it isn't, it's easy to fix. 
Also, Photoshop makes pulling all the sketches together into a cohesive composition nice and easy. 
I printed it out on 2 sheets of A4 paper ready for tracing, refined my pencil linework a bit, washed over each vignette with watercolour, inked them with a dip pen and brown ink (I find if I don't want such perfect linework, it helps if I paint first and ink later – I'm less tempted to draw every single line) and then added some shading and texture with coloured pencil. 

To see the finished painting, go here or to my colour portfolio here.

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