Today I wanted to share with you about my process when I create illustrations. As you may have noticed, my drawings are fanart based, and my goal when I create them is to take a character that I love, and give him a new life (related or not to his original story). In order to do that, what I need to do is to plan carefully everything. But don’t worry, this is absolutely not boring to do !
1. Making some choices
The first thing I do, may seem obvious, but it’s not necesseraly when we think of artist’s block, it’s choosing the character. Usually, I choose from the series, plays or movies that I currently watch. When I was watching Viking, I was mad about Lagertha, and I was drawing her all the time. Yes I’m a little bit *hum, very much* obsessive. By the way, being obsessive when you are an artist is a good thing, because it really helps you improve by repeatedly drawing, or painting the same stuff in 1000 ways. So … first thing, choosing my character, because, for me it’s the heart of each creation.
2. Good reference images
Second, I choose the pictures that I will use as a reference. It’s usually a thing that make me go a little crazy. I’m very picky regarding the choice of the image, because first I have to really like the photo, the character has to have the right expression, the right posture, or I need to find so other reference photos for another posture, or sometimes I even have to combine several photos to create the exact posture that I want … It also have to be a decent quality so the character doesn’t look like someone else. For this part, I always feel a liitle bad thinking that I take way too much time to choose my references, but in the end, taking that time saves me a lot of later mistakes and disappointment.
3. The draft sketch
The next thing is to make a draft sketch. For that you can use whatever support, for my part I do that in my bullet journal. I usually start with the face of the character, because again, it’s the heart of my creations. Then I draw the rest of the character. Making a draft helps me to place my character in the drawing, it helps me choose what size I want him to be, and where he will be place. When I used to draw directly on my final support, I erased so many times sometimes, that my paper was ruined, and I lost a infinite time.
When my character is choosen, and placed on the space of the paper, I don’t necesseraly know what I’m going to do with him. Sometimes I have a perfectly good vision of what I want to make, but sometimes I just know who I’m going to draw and that’s all. In both case, I begin to write next to my draft sketc. I write words that make me think of my character like elements of decor, animals, plants, tatoos… And like that, I build little by little my composition. Then I begin to place elements around my character on the sketch.
Then when I begin to picture out better the ensemble, what I absolutely need to do, is to create a color palette. It’s really important to have a clear vision of that in advance, because a very important thing I want to have in my illustration, is cohesiveness. I want my creation to speak with a very clear voice, and to express very specific emotions. So I find it better to now what colors I’m going to use, before starting to draw, because these colors look well together, because they serve the project, not just because they look good separately.
6. A Pinterest board
Now it’s the time when I create a pinterest board. Usually I keep it secret, because it’s just a tool for me, and it’s a bit like keeping it in my head if it’s not public, but you can make it public if you want, it really doesn’t matter. In this board I will pin everything that helps me visualize what I want : more reference images, postures, all the elements that I want to draw, photos that have the same color palette as I want, jewelry, tattoo designs, hairstyles … And later, when I actually create my final drawing, I continue to use it and pin more images if I need.
And, that’s it ! I hope this was helpful or interesting ! Next time I will talk to you about my process for actually creating the illustrations.
And you, do you have other steps, or ways of doing it ? Do you have some tips for designing your artworks ?