Mac McCool - Children's Book Illustrations and Graphic Novels

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Let's Make A Very Silly Board Book

The last of the three assignments for Tomie dePaola's Master Class at the last SCBWI conference consisted in a sequence of four images for a board book (for very young readers) illustrating "Carrot and Blanky, best friends." The idea belongs to the legion of odd and funny concepts pitched to children's book editors. So in a way, Mr. Tomie gave us something a bit batty to see how we would wrestle with it! I steered to cute. The three assignments also tested our range from "Carrot and Blanky" to Treasure Island, with a stop in Little Red Riding Hood's dark woods.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Making of Treasure Island Illustration

My process often involves going back and forth between traditional and digital tools. I use whichever tool gives the fastest and best results. For the Treasure Island illustration, I took the time to polish it, so I used a few more steps than I usually do. Here they are, as best as I can remember.

1. Sketching several thumbnails in pencil
2. Quick inking of "good" lines in "good" thumbnail
3. Create a mock architecture structure (the doorway & ceiling beams of the inn with stand-in characters for scale) in Google's SketchUp to see how far I could play with a the emotional and compositional perspective I had in mind without making it look impossible in the real world
3. Scan thumbnail
4. Enlarge thumbnail in Photoshop and test various composition changes (scale of the characters, fine-tuning the framing of the image, etc.)
5. Print thumbnail (enlarged to about 8.5" x 11") in light colored ink (pale yellow)
6. Draw over the thumbnail with Prismacolors the details in the image (gradually going darker with the Prismas as I confirm and refine the details over sketch lines)
7. Scan
8. As needed, I will redo steps 5 through 7 until I have a clean and solid drawing before the final inking (and I sometimes ink over some of these drawings to get an early feel for the inking)
9. In Photoshop, try different primary lighting sources and moods
10. For this project, where I wanted to polish the inking, I printed with light colored ink my image and did a fairly "final" inking pass (with an ink brush), which I then scanned for the next step
11. Make (grayscale) value studies in Photoshop to fine-tune and accentuate lighting effects for mood and for directing the viewer's gaze
12. Print with light colored ink
13. Final inking with ink brush
14. Scan
15. Minor retouches in Photoshop (to knock out the light ink color of the "underprint" and to fix any inking "goofs")

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"I remember him..." from Treasure Island

Another image for the Tomie de Paola workshop in a somewhat different style... I had a ton of fun doing it!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Little Red Riding Hood Was Suddenly Afraid

Tomie de Paola is organizing an illustration workshop at the Los Angeles annual conference of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. One assignment for our class is to illustrate in color, "Little Red Riding Hood was suddenly a bit afraid of the dark woods." Here's my version (minus a few adjustments I still want to make).