Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fourth Step: Scanning Images and Creating a Sketch Collage in Illustrator

After I had created all of my sketches for my book, I then scanned each one into my computer.  I saved each image to a new folder as a jpeg.  Once I scanned all of my images I then opened my Illustrator program and created a new file.  My book format was 7x7 inches, so I opened my new file to 14x7.  This allowed me to work on two pages as one.  I drew a line down the middle to divide my pages.  I then opened the scanned images by clicking on file-place.  When all of my sketches were opened I then started to collage them according to the layout of those pages.  I used the opacity slider on some of my images.  This allowed me to overlap my drawings while being able to see everything at once.  I scaled each sketch and moved it into place accordingly until I felt it looked right.  
Illustrator Collage:

Next Step: Inking in Illustrator

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Third Step: Designing Characters

After I drew my thumbnail sketches, I then began to sketch detailed images of each character.  I used my first drawing of the main character, Tilly, as reference for the other supporting characters in the story, since they resembled each other. (Sister and Mother)  Using this drawing and my thumbnail sketches as a guide, I drew all of the characters in different poses with different expressions.  I started by drawing very light and sketchy.  I often drew these poses over and over until I liked a certain drawing.  After I had the poses and expressions that I liked, I refined my images.
First Drawing Used As Reference:

Examples of Different Poses for Tilly: 

I also drew multiple poses for the Ladybug:

Background and extra elements were also drawn according to the layout of my thumbnails.  This included the apple, branches, leaves, flowers, etc.

Next Post:
Scanning Images and Creating a Sketch Collage in Illustrator

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Second Step: Thumbnail Sketches


Before I started creating my thumbnail sketches, I made sure I knew what size format I would need.  By choosing a format now, it would save me trouble later.  I wouldn’t have to worry about resizing my images to fit the formats that the self publishing sites offer.  I looked at different self-publishing sites and decided to go with Blurb.  For me it seemed like the most user friendly option.  The Booksmart program they have to create your book uses a very simple drag and drop feature.  Blurb also has quite a few book size choices.  For this book, we wanted it to be kid friendly and a comfortable size, so we decided to use the 7x7 square format.

After I knew the size of the book, I then created my thumbnail sketches.  The first set of thumbnails I drew were very rough.  I drew small square boxes that represented each page.  Then, I started to sketch in very rough shapes to get a feel for the design of each page.  I roughed in basic shapes that represented the main character, bits of the background, other characters that supported the text and also kept in mind where the text would fit on each page.  I drew a ton of different thumbnails over and over before deciding on a design that I liked.  
Creating the thumbnails also helped me know how many pages would be in the book.  Most picture books are roughly 24-32 pages.  Since we were creating this on our own, I felt we could make this book however short or long we wanted.  I also kept in mind the minimum amount of pages Blurb allows to be printed.  For a 7x7 book you can print as little as 20 pages.  As I created the thumbnails I sectioned off what I felt would be appropriate for each page.  After some experimenting, the final amount of illustrated pages came to about 18.  Adding the title page, copyright page, the dedication page and the end pages gave us a total of 24 pages.

First Thumbnail Attempt:

A Few of the Final Thumbnails:

Once I felt that the design was working and the book was flowing from page to page, I then moved on to designing the rest of my characters.
Next Step:
Designing Characters

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

First Step: Sketching the Main Character

The first step I took in creating the illustrations for the book, was to sketch the main character.  The main character was a baby girl snail named Tilly.  I sketched out quite a few versions of a baby snail until I found one that I liked the best.  I wanted her to have cute features and I wanted to keep the drawing fairly simple so that I could sketch her easily and consistently throughout the book. Here are just two of my first rejected attempts:

And the final:

I felt this design worked the best and was the cutest of the bunch.  Once the sketch of the main character was chosen, I moved on to the next step.
Next Step:  Thumbnail Sketches

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