Last week, I was featured on Kathy Temean's Illustrator Saturday blog post. I am a huge fan of Kathy's blog! I peruse it often when I want to find out more about other children's book illustrators and authors or just when I need some inspiration. So when she asked me if I wanted to be featured on Illustrator Saturday, I was very honored and of course said yes right away. In the interview I discuss my illustration process and I even reveal new artwork from my debut book! In case you missed it, here it is:
Before I do any sketching at all, I will read a manuscript over and over many times. Sometimes I even close my eyes and just brainstorm ideas. This step is important to me because this is when all the initial images and emotions I get from a story start forming in my head. I also start doing research and compiling photos at this point as I did for Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose about Chinese Musical Instruments.
Then I start on rough thumbnail sketches. Since I have a hard time drawing at a very small scale, my thumbnails are usually at half size.
Next I refine my thumbnail sketches. I know that for this particular spread, I wanted the background to have a grandiose feeling of wind, waterfalls, and mountains that was reminiscent of a traditional Chinese painting. This was the imagery that popped into my head when I did my initial brainstorming.
Sometimes I have a couple of options with different compositions.
Once the final thumbnail sketch is chosen, I will work on the final, full size sketch.
I scan the image into my computer and color in Photoshop. Here is a final illustration of a girl playing the guzheng from Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose about Chinese Musical Instruments (Shen’s Books, 2013).
For the rest of the interview (by the way, she asks some great, detailed questions!), please visit Kathy's blog. She interviews a new illustrator every Saturday and she also posts news updates and other informative tips for writers and illustrators throughout the week.