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Delusion in a Box Design    |    Laura Kajpust    |    [email protected]

March 16, 2015

My Illustration Process


I thought it would be fun to do a brief overlook of what I do to bring an illustration to completion! Enjoy! :)

1. Thumbnails

I unfortunately don't have scans of the thumbnails I did for this particular illustration (drat!), but basically I doodle a lot of small possible composition ideas. Often I'll overlay a rule of thirds grid to help me line up things where they'll look best, and an advantage of working small is it forces you to look at how the overall shapes work together since you can't get into detail.

Once I have one picked out, I'll draw a larger digital version of the thumbnail:

2. Sketching

A good portion of my process is spent at this stage since I want to make the drawing as good as possible.

I will rework and revise a lot, and often work on different layers so I can move and adjust things when needed.

For this particular image, I referenced models in Google SketchUp to help me determine the angle and look of the buildings in the background. Then I added in my own details.

3. Color & Value Studies

These are very important! I make a copy of the final drawing and sketch possible values and colors (which I do separately from one another). They are meant to be loose and done quickly, but give me a strong idea of what will work best. They help me determine what values and colors should be used in order to highlight which area I deem most important, as well as to capture the right mood or atmosphere.

4. Inking

Once I have my sketch in a place I'm satisfied with, I finally ink the drawing! That's pretty self-explanatory. :)

5. Coloring

This part is my favorite and the most fun! I start by coloring the linework, often with the darkest lines in the foreground and the lightest further away.

Next I put in my base colors for the characters. What I consider to be the "base colors" are the colors things actually are, ignoring lighting. If I'm working with a very specific color scheme, my base colors may be specific color swatches instead.

I do base colors for the background as well!

This is when I first start adding the lighting. Everything is a darker blue for night, but also with an orange glow where I plan to put my light source. I added in some textures as well.

I add more light and shadows to the background, as well as further detailing.

Time to start adding light and shadows to the characters!

Added the rain to background.

Continuing my work on the characters...

6. Final Corrections

Before considering it done, I do some "color/value corrections". This is when I add more highlights and values where necessary, put in extra color, deepen contrast if needed, include more detail, and unify the entire image with final color adjustments. It doesn't take much to make a big difference in how the image looks in the end!

7. Done!

Ta-da!!

Any questions? :)