Published on December 8, 2008
The Making of an Illustration (by Betsy Streeter)
I thought it would be fun to document an illustration from beginning to end, sketches, interruptions and all… I’ve never done that before. So here goes…
Each year I do a drawing for the holidays, with a simple (often one-word) theme. I knew my theme this year would be “Believe,” because I think we’ll need to do a whole lot of believing in the next year, what with the state of the world and all…
I also had this cool little robot dude I had sketched a while back.
In the middle of the night, I thought of the concept of a “snowbot.” So I wrote that down. In the dark. I do this a lot. That’s my nightstand, and yes, that’s Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” there too. As you can see my handwriting is pretty iffy when I can’t see what I’m doing, but in the morning I get it sorted out.
Later that day I roughed out a concept on my To Do list. (Any piece of paper is fair game.)
(Okay insert intermission here for various random working mom activities like picking up kids, answering the phone, boiling pasta, stuff like that)
The next morning, I did a better sketch there on the nightstand. I often do these things best right when I first wake up.
Next it was time to lay out the drawing on a proper piece of paper… In the right size and shape, So it would work on a card… And also fit on the scanner.
In the initial drawing, the Snowbot looks pretty much like a large Ipp with CDs for eyes. I wasn’t totally thrilled with that. You can see a lot of erasing was going on.
(Insert another intermission here where I went to look at lots of robots online.)
I made the Snowbot more feminine, like a proper dance partner for the robot.
Next came getting the line drawing nailed down, eliminating the noise…
… and then putting in shading and texture. This is where the drawing really comes to life. I just love this part of the process.
Finally, I added a bit of color to link together the Snowbot, the Robot, the Dog and the word “Believe...”
(You can see on the left side there where I got frustrated with my pencil because it wasn’t smooth so I scribbled it around some.)
… and this is what the final drawing looks like, all scanned and everything.
That’s it – thanks for reading! And… All the Best in the coming year! -Betsy
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