Monday, March 10, 2008

Surprise Monday : Week 2 : first 2 spreads

This week I've been working on the first two spreads of the book. I wasn't sure if I would start out by doing all the storyboards and then all the roughs, but because the book is made up of four separate stories, it's easy to treat it that way. So i ended up doing the storyboards and roughs for the first story, pages 2-5.

I did sketches for some of the secondary characters, Hamish's dad and Alice's mum, but kept them quite quick, and let them develop throughout the storyboard process.

To start, I do extremely quick sketches of the major elements, just trying to get the composition right. I try different positions of people and objects, and different angles to view them from until something 'feels' right. I've got a pad of really poor quality A2 paper that I use for the storyboards, and for some reason I prefer sketching them in pen (it just feels better than pencil on this paper!) Plus, I'm doing them so quickly, so there is no time to erase anyway.

As I come up with a composition I like, I start to add more and more detail, as you can see towards the bottom of this page:

Once I've got the composition pretty set, I start to work on the rough. I make up a page template of the exact size in Illustrator, (just an outline of the page edges) and print it out so that I can sketch on top of it - just so that I am always working with the correct proportions for the page. For Surprise!, a double page spread is much bigger than an A4, but I only have an A4 printer, so I reduce it down. This means I am working much smaller than actual size for my roughs, but I will blow them up to actual size for when I do the finals. I tend to sketch quite small anyway so this works for me.

I might do one or two roughs. But I generally just work and rework one sketch. I erase and redraw A LOT! so sometimes it means when it's scanned in it's a bit hard to read, but that's okay. I just need the major lines, not all the little details. For instance, for page 2, I went from the storyboards above, to this:

to this:
I always make sure to have the characters sketches that I did earlier close by to refer back to, to make sure I am getting my proportions right (as you can see in the first 'rough' above, Hamish's head was way too big!) Also you have to remember to leave room for the text! I often get carried away and forget that.

Sometimes with a rough, I will draw something that I quite like, but it is a little bit small or a little bit too much to the right, etc. That's where the computer comes in! It's great for moving things around and trying new things out quickly.

I'd be interested to know how other people do roughs. Do you use a page template or sketch free hand? Do you play around with your roughs on the computer afterwards if they don't fit quite right? Do you always 'know' when you find the right composition? Do you put all the details in in your roughs or do you leave that for the final so it is a bit more spontaneous?

Thanks for checking in. I hope you are enjoying this so far!

Next week: two more double spreads

ps. as you can see I've put a graphic in the sidebar where you can click to see all the posts on Surprise! at once x


Isabelle said...

Hi Kim,
I just had to be back for your 2nd week!!!
I love to read about other people's process. We work in similar ways, concerning roughs, although I have to say it is quite smart to print the exact size, I tend to fiddle around after the composition is set, which doesn't make much sense. I find that the essential at this point is spontaneity, so I do NOT bother with the details! I carry all the sketches in a platic pouch for each project, and I refer to them regularly, because sometimes the more "polished" sketches lack the original impulse. As in everything, the truth lies somewhere in the middle! Glad to see things are progressing nicely, have a great week!

lil kim said...

Thanks Isabelle! so great to have your input.

I think spontaneity is a hard one isn't it? Often I will love the sketch, but the final can lack that looseness.
It's hard to capture that when you are refining a painting sometimes. (and I find it hard to hold back on adding all the little details in a rough because I really love that part of it!)

hope you have a great week too!

Alicia Padrón said...

Oh wow Kim! It's coming along so wonderfully!
It is great to be able to see you work this book out. I love how you come up with the composition.

The page looks wonderful and I really adore this kid. He is just so cute with that face.. I love how you draw the eyes.

Surprise Mondays rock! :o)

Vhrsti said...

Great works, great blog!!!
Is already the April in Australia?)

lil kim said...

Thanks Ali and Vrhsti! Oops! have fixed that and it's now March again!

baby~amore' said...

looking good !
I love the sketches

Tom Barrett said...

Thanks for posting this. Like many, I enjoy seeing how others work. It is educational and inspiring at the same time.

Looking forward to next Monday!

lil kim said...

thanks baby~amore' and Tom - glad you are enjoying it!

Kate said...

I like to sketch out my roughs by hand, but Photoshop is an awesome too for revising my roughs and working with sizes, composition, etc. Thank goodness for Photoshop!

I like to leave some sponaneity in my sketches and not work them to death. However, right now I am daoing an illustration for an author who has been terrible to work for. She takes every line and nuance literally in my "rough", and has even tried to have me revise the number of rocks and the size of rocks in a pebble path (for which I am charging her). I honestly dread going to color for the illustration, because there is no pleasing this woman. I have had to really emotionally distance myself from caring about the details of the illustration. I have tried to explain to her that the final outcome will turn out a lot better if she allows me to be freer with it, but she only tightens her grip. Scary, huh? I really wish I had never taken the assignment!!! I would love to be in your position right now!!

Best of luck to you! The illustrations are turning out great!

lil kim said...

Thanks for your comment Kate - the author you are dealing with sounds very precious about her work! That must be difficult to deal with, and a bit disappointing that you can't put your all into it. I'm sorry. :-(
I think it's hard sometimes for authors to 'let go' of their story and trust that the artist knows what they're doing and that's why they hired them! Luckily Karen (the author for this book) has been very open.
Best of luck with it - I'm sure even with restrictions your illos will be wonderful!

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