ILLUSTRATING A BOOK

For those who wonder how the stories are illustrated, edited and brought to the book, your curiosity ends here…at least I hope so.

There are many ways one may choose to create illustrations but let’s simplify it and mention two main methods; traditional and digital. Basically, traditional illustration means the artist creates them using real pens, brushes, paint, paper, canvas, water, coffee… you name it, we use it! Digital illustrations on the other hand require an electronic device (like a pad, tablet, and of course an electronic pen).

There’s this huge debate on which type of illustration artists deserve more attention and praise, something which I think is complete stupidity. All artists deserve appreciation, the end.

Without moving any further away from the real topic, let’s take a look at my sketchpad…

Not the most fancy sketchpad. It is by Lutart, 120 gr A4 drawing book. The only interesting part could be the random stickers and prints I glued on the cover. Pro tip, personalizing your art supplies can enhance creativity. Then you can own the creation materials, you can call it “you”.

This is the drawing pad where I do all the drawings on. The process follows these steps:

  • Sketch with a pencil – I prefer a 0.7 mechanical pencil
  • Ink it – the final lines, no turning back!
  • Erase the sketches – I recommend a soft kneaded eraser not to damage the paper and the ink lines
  • Watercolor it – I use two palettes but my favorite one is by Windsor and Newton

Once everything is done, I tear out the pages from the pad and take them out on a walk to be scanned. Then the editing begins… crop, number, edit (I use Autodesk but since the edits are minor, it works great for me) and place on the document.

Doing traditional art for a book means showing all your mistakes, all the times your hand slipped, where you missed the perspective, painted an area that should have been blank… All your artistic abilities and failures are served to the audience. It’s actually a vulnerable thing to display.

I hope that it was interesting to read how these beautiful stories are illustrated. I wanted to write about this since I have been getting a lot of questions regarding the process and my take on traditional art for book illustrations.

Any questions, comments, concerns? Please feel free to share them in the comments! At the end, I am an art nerd hyped-up to talk to people who also are interested.

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