The Illustration Process


  • You work directly with the person who is illustrating and designing your book
  • You will have plenty of opportunities to provide feedback and oversee the progress during the creation of the artwork
  • If you already have a good idea of what you would like illustrated, you will be asked to fill out a simple questionnaire to guide me
  • If you are open to suggestions, I will provide a suggestion for a visual narrative

The illustration process for a color illustration consists of six basic steps, each to be reviewed and approved by you to ensure that the illustrations turn out exactly as expected.

Step 1: Get a Quote for your Project

Just send me an email or fill out the Quote Request Form to get the ball rolling, I’ll basically walk you through all the steps if you decide to hire my services. In order to give you an accurate quote, I may ask you to fill out a brief questionnaire or to send me your manuscript.

Step 2: Decide on Characters and Style

The style of the illustrations is essentially the theme music that accompanies the story. It is the unifying concept and often develops naturally while trying to interpret all the separate elements that make up the story.

A quick pencil sketch of the characters. This is a brief step that I sometimes like to include before beginning the storyboard phase in order to get on the same page with you about the general look and feel of the illustrations.

Sometimes Character sketches are submitted prior to the Storyboard Phase if there is not a clear understanding of the genre or style.

A quick pencil sketch of the characters. This is a brief step that I sometimes like to include before beginning the storyboard phase in order to get on the same page with you about the general look and feel of the illustrations.

Some of you may already have a strong visual idea of the characters or scenes you want drawn, in which case I can draw from a detailed description you provide. In most cases, the process begins after I sketch out a few ideas.

Take a look at the gallery of styles to see what you like or send me some samples from books or illustrators that you like. Also, I can suggest a style that is best suited to your target audience or vision.

The style of the illustrations is essentially the theme music that accompanies the story. It is the unifying concept and often develops naturally while trying to interpret all the separate elements that make up the story.

Developing the right characters is a crucial part of every story. Details are important in creating a good visual picture of the personality and the role the character plays in the narrative. A good narrative will develop characters so that the audience feels like they know them. You are creating a character from scratch, the more you can tell someone about them, the more credible they will be.

When working with an illustrator, the first step is to create a clear description of the characters. Often, the illustrator has not read the manuscript and does not have the benefit of seeing how an author develops her characters in the narrative. The author needs to write a clear description that creates a snapshot of the characters’ personalities and what they look like. Details that are relevant to the narrative such as exaggerated features or clothing need to be included. Basically, the author is responsible for pointing out anything that is not intuitive in the development of the character. Based on your description the illustrator should be able to get a good idea of how to visually capture the character through the use of expressive features, proportions, and clothing or accessories.

Character Development
In my own Illustration Process, the character design is the first step and I consider it a great gauge to see if the author and illustrator see eye-to-eye. The amount of effort that goes into creating characters that go along with the author’s vision is directly proportional to how smooth or difficult the collaboration will be, in many cases. It is the author’s responsibility to provide a clear description, and in his or her interest to not micromanage the illustrator’s creative process once they are on the same page about the vision, the style, and the message.

 Step 3: Storyboard Phase

The storyboard process for a Children’s Book illustrator is a basic layout of all the illustrations.

Pencil sketches that outline the general imagery requested in the questionnaire and manuscript.

Essential to any production or product pitch, storyboards are a simple way to add a visual dimension to your narrative.

It is a brainstorming tool for the illustrator to create a framework with which to work with the author.

It is a great tool to figure out if the author and illustrator are on the same page about the vision and the narrative.

From these sketches the author should get an idea of the composition for each drawing, the setting and focal point of each scene.

You should think in broad terms such as determining if the right message is being conveyed or if the central focus of the image is helpful to the story’s narrative. If the general layout of the image works for you, then the illustrator begins to work in the details of the drawing. The characters should become more defined as well as the setting.

A quick pencil sketch of the basic composition and layout of the illustrations. It is important for the emphasis of each illustration and to establish the setting.

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Step 4: Line Art Phase

Once you have approved t
he sketches, the next phase is for the line drawings.

The line drawings are clean, detailed drawings that include all elements of the illustrations.

The Line Art Phase involves cleaning up the approved sketches, an ink outline replaces the sketch marks.

Ideally, the characters and conposition of the drawings should be finalized by this point.

*If the service requested is for Black and White Illustrations than this is the final step, upon approval of the proof, the final print-ready digital file will be submitted.

Proofs:

Low resolution proofs for each phase will be submitted as one PDF containing all illustrations cropped down to trim size at 72 DPI), delivered digitally, via email.

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Step 5: Color Phase

Upon approval of the line drawings, the color phase begins.  The line drawings should be considered the final look of the drawings; the primary changes should be to the color. This is the final phase of the illustration process.

  • Once the drawing is in the Coloring Phase there should be no more changes to the actual drawing.
  • The only changes should be to the coloring and color palette.
  • Basically a colored version of the line drawings.
  • This is the final version of the illustrations.

 

Step 6: Final illustrations delivered ready for Print!

The final versions of the illustrations ready for print (depending on how you decide to publish, I may need your publisher’s specifications for image file delivery).

DELIVERABLES

Proofs: Low resolution proofs for each phase will be submitted as one PDF containing all illustrations cropped down to trim size at 72 DPI), delivered digitally, via email.

Final Files: Final illustrations will be submitted as either .jpg or .tif files at requested trim size plus bleed, at 300 dpi. These are to be packaged in a compressed .zip folder and are print ready.

Payment

  • Payment should be made in three equal installments (via paypal or check).
  • I ask that you make the first payment if you are happy with the character sketches, prior to termination of the storyboard (Phase #2).
  • The second payment should be made upon satisfactory completion of the black and white line drawings (Phase #3).
  • The final payment should be made upon satisfactory completion of the color illustrations (Phase #4). Upon receipt of payment, the final files will be sent and the service will be considered fulfilled with confirmation of receipt.

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