Friday, November 28, 2014

Process: Toughen Up, Princess

Here's a look at the process for one spread in Toughen Up, Princess:

After the basic idea for the spread was decided on I did some very rough digital sketches and made up a dummy so we could see how the book worked as a whole. This spread is for the first two pages of 'The Annual Evil Queen's Garden Tea'
I like doing my initial sketch work directly onto the computer, as I can move things around much more easily. Once I'm ready to do things properly, I move to good old pencil and paper, because I draw much better that way.

After meeting with the author, it was decided that the evil queens looked too beautiful, and that they should be drinking tea from teacups. So I went off to do a revised dummy sketch. I did these revised queens in my sketchbook, making the most of my time waiting at the hairdressers and doing other errands. 

I then sent a revised mockup to the author. You'll notice that between the first draft and this one, the queen on the far right changed. I'd been having trouble coming up with enough recognisable evil queens, and had stuck in The Red Queen from Alice Through the Looking Glass. I wasn't entirely happy with this, she didn't seem to me iconic enough to be easily recognisable, especially as the illustration was to be in black and white. I had also been having trouble making the illustration suitably Australian.... and then, while walking the dog, I had an epiphany: Odile from Swan Lake is a black swan, and black swans are Australian! So I switched queens:

After getting approval for the revised mockup, I moved on to my tight pencils:

I sent the pencils off for approval, and once I had it I could move on to inking. I find it's good to have as many stages as possible where the client can make changes and it's still easy to do so – once you've moved on to inking, changes generally require redoing the whole thing – so I like to make sure the final draft has the complete okay.

I used a Pentel Brush Pen to ink all of the spreads. The solid backs you see here are Ecoline ink.

After that, it was time to paint. I used a mixture of Ecoline (in Black and Cold Grey) and Winsor & Newton Watercolour (in Neutral Tint) for this book:

After that I just had to typeset the page, and the spread was done!

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