Over the last two months I've worked with the author Nicola Gothard on illustrating her children's picture book story 'The Rubbish Dump Whale'.
The story focuses on animals living in one of the - very real - garbage patches which are present in every ocean on this planet. It shows the struggle of three animals trying to change their oceans for the better and even teaches some lessons on how to minimize ocean pollution at the end of the book.
It is also incredibly cute. ;)
So, in this 'Illustration Project' blog post, I'll show you some of the final illustrations as well as sketches and different stages of the drawings. Let's call this a 'Making Of' post.
If you like what you see, you can order the book on amazon. There's both an ebook and a print version (print version link coming soon!).
More information can be found on the generation2050project website, too!
Now, on to the actual illustrations!
I did some character sketches first.
As the story takes place under water, watercolors were the perfect match. The textures created in watercolor would give a playful water effect fitting a children's picture book.
Then we started with sketches based on the pre-written story.
My sketches are ridiculously bad. I'm still surprised the author could actually guess what the finished illustrations would look like.
After having all 20+ pages approved, I started working on detailed pencil drawings.
Some of those were kept rather simple to leave space for text and to focus on the animals themselves...
On other pages we wanted to really put the focus on the actual pollution, so the pieces of rubbish had to be very detailed and 'swallow' the whale swimming among them.
These pencil drawings were then colored in.
I used a kneadable eraser to make the pencil lines less prominent and combined that with a small eraser to keep the lines crisp and precise.
No, I didn't use the Micron pens, of course.
The eraser pen on top was used, as well as the brushes.
I kind of always use the same materials. I'm boring (and stingy) like that.
As for the watercolors themselves, you can have a look at my watercolor swatches and review fest here.
|First interior illustration of the book, introducing the whale and his 'home'.|
Some of the watercolor blotches (?) were created seperately and then layered on top of the illustrations in Photoshop. This made for more vibrant color effects and for more flexibility when it came to layouting, as I was able to move parts of each illustration around independently.
|Water bubble effects - I made like ten sheets of these.|
|Definite improvement over the initital sketch. I hope.|
You can have a look at the illustrations on my portfolio site, too!
For some of the illustrations I added text effects. Like the water bubbles I drew all letters on a seperate page and arranged them in Photoshop.
|Love to hate the derpy expression in this sketch.|
... to drawing ...
... to finished illustration.
Like I'd mentioned, there were also some tips and reminders on reducing pollution at the end of the book, which we presented in the form of letters from the animals to humans. This also required some additional illustrations to make the texts more visually appealing.
Ocean pollution is a major problem, but also an often overlooked one. I'm happy to have contributed some small illustrations to, hopefully, raise awareness. And I'd be even happier if you could share this post or the book so it can reach a wider audience!