For several years now I've wanted to tap into the world of illustration for children's books, so much that back in 2014 I decided to write and publish my own. That was the first and last time I had done anything like that until this summer when a friend and client of mine had introduced me to a member of their family who was wanting to write and publish her first book. After speaking to Meghan (author of the book) I knew that this was something that meant a lot to her and for me not having a large portfolio or experience in this field, I saw that it would help us both.
The time span for this book started in late May through mid October. While it was a very long process it was challenging and a great learning experience. Meghan for one, wrote a great story with a very lovable character backed with a sweet message. This book really pushed me to work outside of my style. We started with character design for the main character, Edison, his mom & his dad. This helped us find the style of illustration as well as set the tone for how the book was going to look. Below are some character design samples.
It was decided that set number 2 was the way to go. After discussing the direction a little more, we realized that Edison needed to be a bit younger so with a few changes to his character like giving him a larger head, and smaller arms as well as a messier style the final design below is what we chose.
As soon as the characters were finalized I began sketching out all the pages of the book. This part of the process took some time and was probably the hardest part. I needed to make sure that the drawings help tell the story based off the text, the character models stayed consistent, keeping a good balance of close ups and background scenes while keeping the reader engaged visually. We went through several rounds of sketches to make sure everything was just right before I started to ink and color them.
The book was drawn completely in Photoshop using a mix of ink and watercolor brushes made by the master, Kyle T. Webster. Drawing this book digitally helped me so much as I needed plenty of room for mistakes to be made. As I've said before, drawing digitally doesn't make you a better artist but if you use it to learn and try things you'd be scared of doing on paper, you will get better and more confident in your decision making. Over all, the end result was very satisfying. I know Meghan loves the book and is happy to share it with everyone she knows and honestly, I am too! There used to be a time where I'd be nervous to show off something I've done because the quality wasn't as great as it could of been, but when you work with the right people who ultimately trust you and allow you the room to grow and improve, it makes everything that much easier and rewarding.
Please go buy the book! It's available now on Amazon! I am very proud of this project and hope to do more in the future! Also, give Meghan Colvin a follow on her social networks which you can find here on her website. Thank you Meghan, for letting be a part of your wonderful story!