Illustrating a Book pt2 Sketching up the interior

Coming up with the interior illustrations for children’s book is a creative process done in steps, after having got the characters sketched up and approved the next step is creating the scenes that sit alongside the words.

My task as a freelance illustrator is reading the story without pictures with creating the visual narrative in mind.  Reading will naturally fire the imagination and your mind will conjure up images from the descriptions in the story, creatively filling in the picture and the details that lie between the lines.

As I read I will take down notes and sketch I work fast, places and people spill onto a page, drawing concept illustrations, taking bits of layout paper and creating revised drafts on top.  A better idea might come along later and I’ll refine and develop the pencil illustration further till I get something I can show the editor. I’ll finish off my first draft illustrations in pen and ink and email all the interior layouts for feedback.

Below I’ve shown my concept illustration for The White Arrow Assassin by Tim Flanagan that establishes the location of where the story is set.

 Pen and ink artwork for my Whitby town scene concept.

Pen and ink artwork for my Whitby town scene concept.

 Finished artwork for The White Arrow Assassin comparing the final art and concept shows changes and refinement of my original idea.  Pen and ink illustration with wash.

Finished artwork for The White Arrow Assassin comparing the final art and concept shows changes and refinement of my original idea.  Pen and ink illustration with wash.

Creating children’s book illustrations has to be done with an open mind and a willingness to change ideas and take on-board suggestions.  Feedback is really helpful and as a freelance illustrator good communication with the author/editor really helps.  Receiving feedback isn’t always easy but it is essential if you want to get the most from the creative process, it brings out the best in my skills as an artist in order to create the best illustrations possible for the book.