Cover illustration for Halloween Bandits a Lawrence Pinkley Adventure. Illustrated in pen and ink using brushes, art pen, brush pensRead More
Illustrating a Book Round Up.
It’s really all about communicating ideas from the moment you start the project, listening to the editor or author discussing their ideas and sharing your own thoughts and taking lead from the story. The illustration is the end result of that communication; an amalgamation of thought, insight into the story and your own personality that will infer extra detail and nuances that lie between the lines of text.
An illustrator uses their artistic skill to give those discussions form, through a process of character design illustrations, developing and enhancing the narrative in concept artworks and with feedback refining the artwork further until the illustrations are finished for publication.
Confidence in your skills and the willingness to push yourself with new techniques or varying or adapting your style that can help communicate the story best will always keep your creative energy flowing keeping the process fresh, fun and show you and your illustrations at their best. There should never be a workman like approach to illustrating a children’s book. Use that opportunity of collaboration to create something you can be proud of putting on your bookshelf.
The quality of the finished book can be determined on how good an illustrator is in storytelling and a good narrative illustrator can enhance the tale that the author has skilfully told into a complete package for the reader to enjoy.
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.
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.