What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
August 24th, 2011 by jules
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Peter Brown, Michael Emberley, and Adam Gudeon
Also up tomorrow will be my QRANK quiz on Must-Reads for School-Aged Children. Trivia fun! Good times. Come on, you know you wanna play! That will be here.
If you missed last week’s Kirkus column, I discussed the newest picture book titles from Peter Brown, Michael Emberley, and Adam Gudeon. But you know I can’t talk about picture books without also showing lots of art and sketches, so here I am this morning to indulge in that. Peter Brown also treats us all this morning, via images and words, to a detailed description of his process, so let’s get right to it. Oh, here is last week’s column if you want to know a summary of the books and my thoughts on them, but below is all the art. We’ll start with Peter (though pictured above left are the serenading stars of Adam’s Me and Meow). Enjoy.
Peter: Everything starts in my sketchbook, with story webs and doodles.
Once I’ve figured out my story arc, I’m ready to begin sketching. For You Will Be My Friend!, I did most of my sketching in Photoshop, where I also added text and borders to the sketch for each page. Then I printed those pages out and put them up on my wall so I could see how all the pages looked together as a whole.
I marked up those printouts with notes on revisions I wanted to make on the art and words, and then I go back to Photoshop to implement those changes. After going through a few rounds of that revision process, I finally had each individual page looking just as I wanted it, and I also had the sketches for the whole book working well as a group.
I used a lightbox to trace the final sketches and the text for hand-lettering.
Once I had a final sketch transferred to paper, I’d begin work on the final drawing.
I used a paper towel as a chamois and rubbed the graphite to get texture and shades of gray.
Using a paper towel chamois, mechanical pencil, and erasers, I’d eventually end up with a finished drawing. However, in many cases I’d draw some of a character’s facial features separately, and would combine the different drawings later in Photoshop. I did this, because I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good drawing by botching one of the very last details.
I cut construction paper to make word balloons, strips for the narration text, and the background paper that would eventually be placed behind the drawings. I knew that I could use Photoshop to control the color of the paper in the final illustrations, so although you see me cutting green paper in this photo, I probably changed it to pink later on.
Finally, I used Photoshop to combine different drawings, cut paper, and images of wood grain. I adjusted the placement and color of the different elements, tinted the drawings, and added transparent color. For this photo, I deliberately removed half of the transparent color simply to show you what the tinted drawing looked like underneath.
You can also click each spread below from Adam Gudeon’s Me and Meow (HarperCollins, September 2011) to enlarge and see in more detail. Also, you can visit this post for a 2010 visit with Adam, in which he shared early images from this book and discussed creating the art.
AN ANNOYING ABC. Copyright © 2011 by Barbara Bottner. Illustration © 2011 Michael Emberley. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York. Images reproduced by permission of the illustrator.
ME AND MEOW. Copyright © 2011 by Adam Gudeon. Published by HarperCollins, New York. Spreads reproduced by permission of the illustrator.
YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! Copyright © 2011 by Peter Brown. Published by Little Brown, New York. Images reproduced by permission of the illustrator.