This blog post shares a bit about my current illustration techniques when I'm illustrating a 32 page color picture book.
At this point, my sketches are finalized and I'm ready to paint. I usually do pretty “tight” sketches, (meaning I give enough details in my sketches for the AD to see pretty much all I intend to paint), so at this point there's not to much to adjust.
For instance, in this detail of a page in my current WIP, I have a nice face and hands sketched out for the “mother” character. I take this black and white sketch (after enhancing the dark lines) and print it out (in multiple copies) on a regular piece of paper.
On one of the printed copies,I cut out various main elements of the drawing.....in this case the figure's head and hands. Using this as a stencil, I lay in a light acrylic glaze in the broad stretch of the head/hands. I “cut and repeat” with each of the main elements of the drawing. This is similar to what digital artists do.....laying in different color layers....bounded by a fill line for the selected color.
After the glaze is dry, (about 15 minutes or so) I will remove the stencil and using the light box light coming thru the black and white drawing, the bristol board, and the colored glaze, I will lightly sketch in the main features of the head and hands. I use a watercolor pencil for this step, as it will easily erase as I proceed to paint in the face.
Now I remove the board from the light box, and start painting from the right side, using the watercolor pencil lines for guides. I start painting in the features of the head, using light glazes to build up the face. I use brushes, sponges and finger tips to get the look I'm going for.
I will do more to the face and hands after I've put in the other surrounding components of the scene. Here's how it looks after the first color pass.
After this I will lay in more of the components of the page in the same fashion.