Step-by-step: Online Chatter

Delayed! I was planning on a great big announcement about the children's book I illustrated, but now I'm having to go back and do revisions. Oh well. No problem. How about this: here's a step-by-step process of an illustration I did the other day. It's not for any publication, but rather a project I came up with, to keep me on my toes. Normally, I draw with pencil on paper and then scan and paint in Photoshop. Here, I thought I'd start drawing right in Photoshop and then paint as I normally would. That way, I'm not too reliant on one particular way of doing things.

The concept is this: is there too much internet chatter? With all these portals into everyday living and feedback, there seem to be so many conversations going on that it can get a bit overwhelming. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, messageboards & forums, it doesn't let up. How would I convey an illustration that showcases this idea?

Well, a guy sitting down, looking at a computer, of course. But how can I make this interesting to the viewer, while supporting the article? My initial thought was word balloons. The quick & easy symbol of someone (in this case, lots of someones) saying something about something.

Click on each image to view larger:

Rough sketch done straight in Photoshop with stylus & Wacom tablet.

Color layer added as well as more refined line layer. (Rough layer is made slightly transparent so I can use as a guide.)

More color added, along with word balloons. (Rough layer still slightly transparent.) Some tweaks made to character.

After some brushy/chalky details added to the character, I add letters & characters in the word balloons. These were simply roughed out -- my intent would be to go in and do more refined letters later on, but I wasn't digging the concept with words included at this point.

So I took all the words out of the balloons altogether. It makes more of a statement if you leave it up to the viewer to add their own version of what this guy is checking out on the computer. Here, I then added more details to the color layer and touch-up to the main line layer, as well as colored in the guy's computer.

And now, the final result:

With more details added here & there, and all the i's dotted and t's crossed. I'm pretty happy with it.


With all this twittering, I've been able to check out some amazing stuff. Case in point, Bob Staake takes a Roll With the Children's Book Dice. Fascinating to see other illustrators' creative process. Check it out!


O hai thatz me

oh hai thatz me!
I don't, really. But wondering how many will comment, asking me if I do.

Done entirely in Photoshop. Realizing that I need to work more off-the-cuff, on-the-spot, so I don't rely too much on the scanner.


Okay, the big news: I just finished my very first children's book! Worked on it throughout November and December, all the way up to last Monday. It's done. Finally. Well, actually, there might be a revision or two. But basically, it's done! And it'll be published by Simon & Schuster, this June. Sometimes I can't believe all the opportunities that I've been blessed with lately. Sometimes I don't really feel like I'm worth it. Especially after the rude awakening of last year. But honestly, I think it's been the best thing for me, career-wise. Letting go can be either a curse or a blessing, it's all in the matter of how you deal with it. Happy to report that my situation has been a blessing. Been wanting to write more on all this, but need a little bit more time to let it all sink in.

About the book: it's not officially announced yet, but once I get word, I'll post it here. One thing I have to say: it was a LOT of fun. Plus, I was stretched and pulled in ways that was both scary & invigorating for me. I learned a lot about the business, as well as about me, and how I work, my methods. I'm more comfortable with my illustration work now, that's for sure. Anyway, more to come later.


"b-boy" news: If you missed my "b-boy" show at the Grassy Knoll last fall, you can see some of the paintings hanging up now in the lobby of Mosaic Church in the Hollywood district of Portland. It's not the entire show, but lots of the good stuff. Call and ask to come by to check it out if you'd like--they'll have it up for the month of February.

Gotta love the fact that there's breakdancing in a church. Makes me smile just thinking of it.


One last thing: I tweet. Okay, that is all.