Blog Tour - My illustration process

Thank you for traveling with me on this brilliant blog tour. Where it all began is now down a long and winding road of inspirational shares from incredible illustrators and writers. It's been rolling strong now for months and continues to grow with each artist. I was honored by the invitation to climb aboard by my good friend, Rob McClurkan. Rob has been a huge influence and source of inspiration for me through the years, and I continue to be in awe of the way he approaches his illustration process and the eyeball dance inducing results of his finely honed skills. Add to that, being a clever author (Rob's first book "Aw, Nuts!" is out August 26th) and BY GOLLY I am a forever fan! Seriously, Rob is a humble soul with endlessly inspiring talents. So inspiring in fact, I just had to do some FAN ART of Rob's quirky alter ego Buckleberry, hanging with my odd ball Octopus alter ego, Brighton. This is pretty much how our banter about work, life and family feel. Quirky, heartfelt and fueled by a shared respect for one another's work. Cheer's my friend!

If you need more inspiration, I find this to be a treasure trove of Rob McClurkan awesomeness: And here is Rob's wonderful contribution to the Blog Tour!

OK, I suppose this is suppose to be a blog about MY illustration process, not about how much I admire Rob's. So let's begin. 

I am assuming you already know a bit about me, if not, please head on over to my ABOUT page, then on to the CONNECT page so I can get to know you!

Before we dive into process the tour creators did ask that I answer a few questions.

1. WHAT AM I WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I tend to have a few projects on the docket at a time. This summer has been a boat load of brilliant creative opportunities and has kept things pretty exciting in the creative cave. Looks to be a fast paced, fun filled Fall season too. Here are a few in the works currently:

Maze for Compassion International Explorer magazine

Maze for Compassion International Explorer magazine

Dog food packaging for Wild Meadow Farms. WOOOF! 

Dog food packaging for Wild Meadow Farms. WOOOF! 

Picture book for friends upcoming Kickstarter project

Picture book for friends upcoming Kickstarter project

Smithsonian book for Grosset and Dunlap

Smithsonian book for Grosset and Dunlap

5,000 stickers book for Igloo Books. yep. 5,000.

5,000 stickers book for Igloo Books. yep. 5,000.

Picture book for Benchmark (concept sketch stage)

Picture book for Benchmark (concept sketch stage)

Devotional cover/interiors for Discovery House

Devotional cover/interiors for Discovery House

TMNT project in the works ... secret stuff for now ... 

TMNT project in the works ... secret stuff for now ... 

2. WHY DO YOU ILLUSTRATE WHAT YOU DO?
There are a thousand wacky reasons, but mainly I love working on projects that I would have been inspired by as a kid. Whether it is a highly imaginative picture book, a challenging activity page or any other form of material that brings content to life with unique and clever illustrations. Those types of creations made me want to be the artist creating them THEN ... and NOW I am grateful for every opportunity to be part of projects that are inspiring the next generation of creatives! 

3. HOW IS MY WORK DIFFERENT THAN OTHERS IN MY GENRE?
Because God creatively decided to set this pair of eyeballs, in this skull, attached to this brain, which controls these hands. I also must give credit to all the creatives I admired growing up, and the artists that continue to inspire me today. There is a bit of all of them in the mix with my own quirky approach to style, color and concept.

4. HOW DOES MY ILLUSTRATION PROJECT WORK?
Step 1. Wake up computer. Step 2. Open Photoshop. Step 3. Move pen around tablet. 4. Save.
This is is commonly the result:

tree-build.gif

In case you missed it. here is the slow motion replay:

Step 1. Wake up self, wake up computer. Read daily inspiration blogs and connect with fellow creatives via social media to get the creative juices flowing. Drink 1st cup of coffee while doing so. Start music. This is key for me. Music sets the tone and soundtracks the day in the creative cave.

Step 2. Open Photoshop. It all starts here ... sometimes a sketch is involved, sometimes just dive right in. Be sure to have all my Kyle T. Webster brushes in order. Some doodling may occur to get in the groove. Choose colors, some research & experimenting is required (i normally have a little color dot file floating to pull from ... like below). 

poster background sketch.jpg


Step 3. My technique is similar to many illustrators I have seen share, so this is not earth shattering reveals here I realize. I start with shapes, sometimes add textures to edges or paint the shapes directly. Then add in first layer of texture/shading. Then another layer of details and a touch of textures. repeat that over and over with every element. Voila!

poster background.jpg

Step 4. Save. Now, I take time to encourage other creatives, enjoy a bit of the freedom allowed by working from home ... a bit of silliness followed by a hug from kiddos or a little life chat with my sweet wife, get a snack, stretch, put on new music. repeat steps 1-4.

There you have it, I am always open to process suggestions, questions or just connecting about life, so feel free to email me or comment here.

I sure hope you've enjoyed this blog tour, as much as I have enjoyed sharing the thoughts and process. now, don't be sad that our little stop in the creative cave is over ... 

MORE INSPIRATION AWAITS!! 

I get to pass the torch to two more illustrators I admire. I chose these 2 talented gents because both have some serious skills, but also some projects that I have been radically wowed by this past year. They will be posting their Blog Tour contributions sometime next week. So be on the look out!

DREW POCZA
website   blog   twitter   dribbble

I first heard of Drew when I came across his Drawn By Faith illustration collection. This project continues to be a goldmine of clever interpretations of Biblical stories and heroes. Drew's unique style really gives a fresh new life to these epic scenes! I was truly inspired at the time by his work, and since getting to really know him as a friend and connect with his work more, I am an even bigger fan of his creative spirit and desire to use his talents to honor the Giver of the gifts ... and have a whole ton o fun doing it! Big respect for Drew!

JOSH LEWIS
website   blog   twitter   dribbble

I first met Josh through Compassion International many years ago when we worked on a few projects together. We quickly became friends and I now have the joy of regular outings to talk art, love of animation, cartoons, legos, family, faith and everything in between with Josh ... usually over a few brews before heading to the latest "movie our wives don't really care to see" but we are geeking out over. This past year josh completely boggled my brain with his dream of illustrating the solar system. No small task. But Josh did it with his unique style and space fact savvy brain! I know Josh is excited to show you his approach to this monumental task! So get ready to be as inspired as I have been!