Continuing the story of The Birth of a Picturebook: The Cow Cocoon, written by Rachel Nolen and Maria Price. In Birth of a Picture Book I talked about writing the creative brief, the contract, then the character studies, the dummy, and flat storyboard. After the contract is signed, the characters and page breaks are approved, everything starts to come together.
4. It’s now time for the rough pencil full sized sketches for each spread. I really like this part. All the parts we have only talked about before come together in rough form. This is a good time for the authors to make final adjustments and re-think direction. Everything is easy to change at this point. The text may even need to be adjusted slightly to help the action on the page. The action must move from left to right on each spread. Surprises or revelations are anticipated with each page turn. This part takes a bit of time. It starts very rough with small sketches, then becomes more and more refined with each step. When this stage is completed to the author’s satisfaction, it’s time for the second 1/3 payment.
5. Now after months of work, the final linework and color painting are started. In some illustrations the linework is very important and forms the basis for the illustrations, in other illustration styles, the color and tone are more important and the lines become covered up and incorporated into the painting. This stage takes me the longest time. The way I work is very time-consuming. I mostly work digitally but also incorporate traditional media for certain areas. Because the sky was almost another character in The Cow Cocoon, I used traditional watercolor for the sky in most of the illustrations.
I like to first design the title text font and paint the cover so the authors can start doing early marketing for their book. Occasionally there may be slight tweaks to the cover later in the process because the characters sometimes evolve as the story is worked on. I give the authors updated versions of the cover as things change. I show the authors my progress at each step so there are no surprises at the end. It is very difficult and time consuming to change illustrations once they are colored. It’s much better to make changes at the rough and pencil stages.
I will continue the next steps of this picture book journey narrative in my next blog post on December 21, 2020. See The Birth of a Picture Book III. Also, read the previous post on this subject: The Birth of a Picture Book I
Go to www.cowcocoon.com after February 1, 2021 to get your copy
If you have a picture book that needs to be illustrated and designed, contact me through my website: www.DayneSislen.com