I know, I know. My books are for kids, so how hard could that be to illustrate? There are many ways to add images to kid's books. Most of the current works use digital artwork, drawn, edited, and colored with great technology. For me, though, there's nothing better than traditional watercolor. Let me share...
After struggling with the initial sketches, I hired Mark Baral to design characters for me. We met, discussed the stories and their stars, and he provided just the look I wanted. After buying supplies, I practiced with on-line class on watercolor and watched creative Youtube artists. Now, it works seamlessly.
- The story is completed, professionally edited and sent to Mark, along with a list of desired scenes.
- Mark does a great job creating just the characters - as they would appear in the story moments.
- He gives me the raw characters (line drawings only). I put them on watercolor paper, add background, and begin painting. Pinterest helps me with great photos for color reference. Layers, layers, and more layers are applied. Sometimes I do a painting over and over before I'm satisfied.
- After all the originals are complete, I take them to Staples for scanning and storage on a flash drive in two formats: TIFF and JPEG. Also, I take pictures of them with a camera or phone. Sometimes the colors fade or change during scanning. Those colors can be manipulated by my designer with computer software. Because Rachel lives in London, she doesn't see the originals. The best color representations I can give her are the camera photos.
- The most exciting part (besides holding the printed book), is when I receive the designed copy from Rachel. I love seeing things come together at last!
Here's a sneak preview of an illustration from Kit's New Home (book 5). (Note: the paper is really white. This photo was taken at night with incandescent lighting overhead, but the colors look like the original.) Kit is a fox and the main star of the book, but Zartie, the turtle, has an important part too.