Step-by-Step Illustration Quickie

Here’s my latest piece for In Touch magazine. The article is about turning times you stumble as a parent into opportunities to grow closer to your child. Thought I’d give you a condensed version of how I did it.

Step 1: As you can see, I don’t believe in submitting tight roughs for concept approval. If you get too detailed, you risk losing some creative flexibility in the final execution.

One Wrong rough

Step 2: Final line art done in ballpoint pen (I’m starting to really like using them for my illustrations, and not just my doodling).


Step 3: I convert the line art to a “multiply” layer in Photoshop, and create a second layer underneath it. On this new layer I then paint in solid areas of color.


Step 4: Finally, I go in and do some color modeling to give the image more depth.


And there you have it… one extremely truncated explanation of the steps I use to create a finished illustration.

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5 Responses to “Step-by-Step Illustration Quickie”

  1. jeaninebrannigan Says:

    I use almost the same technique for digital painting =)

  2. vonholdt Says:

    awesome piece, i’m a big fan of your blog. what type of ballpoint pen do you use?

  3. jaggedsmile Says:

    Pretty much whatever’s available. Although the cheapy Bics that you can buy in the bulk packs seem to work better than anything. Odd, I know, but that’s how it is.

  4. vonholdt Says:

    Thanks for the response! i really like the look of cheap the ballpoints, but i’m too clumsy and always seem to smear all over. i have a Pentel favorite (R204) i’ve been using forever and i’d hate to ever have to switch.

  5. Anthony Barden Says:

    Love your work, stumbled on it from google!

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