Thursday, September 30, 2010

Step by Step, Slowly I Drew...

Awhile ago someone asked if I'd post a "step-by-step" on how I create the illustrations for the HarperCollins books that I draw. Since I haven't posted anything in awhile other than my Fan Request Friday selections I thought it was a good idea. Unfortunately due to my heavy schedule it's taken me a couple of weeks to actually get to it.

So here it goes.
Much like a comic, it all starts with the editors at HarperCollins sending me a script. They also send a pdf of the layout for the book that will usually include suggestions of what should appear on each page. Sometimes the suggestions are very specific and sometimes just ideas> I work witha  really good edito and his input is invaluable.

I then take a quick pass at some roughs. Being on model at this point is really necessary. I'm mnore concerned with layout and trying to get enough information onto the page as well as creating a good visual flow :

Then I get a set of notes based on that and sometimes a rough revision is necessary. In this case the revision was more of a PhotoShop fix than an actual re-draw:

Once that rough is approved I then put everything on model and go to final ink with any editorial corrections:

And once the inks are approved I then go to color  - or send it to my son for color (this partiucular book I did the color myself). First I lay down flat/base color. Unfortunately I no longer have the ffile where the BackGround was only flat color:

I then add shadows (and background details and texture):

and from there I had highlights and any effects and's finished (after final approval, of course);

I might post a couple more of these if I have time, but I hope this has answered a few questions - or raised some questions (like why do they give him the work and not me...)


Jim McClain said...

Thank you, Steven! It was I who asked about this, because my four-year old daughter loves these books and I recognized your style right away. Her favorite is the Batman: Feline Felonies book, by the way. I'm not applying for a job with the publisher (I already have a full-time job as a math teacher), but I would like to make a book similar to these for my daughter, using her as the main character. These tips will help me to do just that. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Steven, when you say you send your artwork to your son to color, is it with colored pencils or on the computer? what kind of program do you use or is it just PaintShop Pro?

Mich said...

I'm actually curious how you pick the color for the shadows ? With the color-picker from the pallette or by choosing specific layer properties :O ?

Steven E. Gordon said...

@Mitch. It depends. Sometimes I pick the base color and then I just open the pallette and pick further down from that until it feels dark enough and sometimes I'll just use black as the shadow color and then lower the opacity of that level. That works pretty good for a simple and quick way to shadow everything at once.