Sunday, June 24, 2012

#136 My Illustration Techniques

     Welcome to our new readers from Brazil! My stats indicate that someone from your country has visited my blog.  I was especially excited about it because you represent the first from South America to join us.  

    We now have readers from 41 different countries and six continents, and it makes me wonder if there are any young readers with computers on the continent of Antarctica.  Perhaps not...

     I promised to explain my illustration techniques this time.  Let me begin by telling you that I am not a trained illustrator (probably not a surprise to you!)  I took art classes at three different universities, but never at specialized commercial or graphic arts schools.  The pictures in my seven children's books are more like sketches than polished illustrations.

     In the Mind of a Cat is about my cat, Topper, and I had originally intended to use photographs of him because he is very photogenic.  

     Eventually, though I came to realize that the photos would be inconsistent with my other books, and I decided to use those I had already taken as a starting place and then create drawings similar to those in my previous works.

     This is the process that evolved for one of the illustrations.  I wanted to show Topper on his "Kitty Condo", and had already taken some pictures.  These were two of them. I liked the angle and setting of the first, but his pose in the second.

     Next, I did a rough sketch on a folded sheet of computer paper.  It looked like this:

     My "serious" materials are Strathmore watercolor paper, black permanent fine-line markers, and colored "watercolor" pencils.  These pencils allow me to "paint with water" after I color with the pencils. This is the type of paper I use:

     Using a pencil and eraser, I carefully drew the picture, then outlined it with the fine-line marker.  It looked like this at that point:

   I colored it with my watercolor pencils:

     Then I painted it with water and let it dry. It needed  another layer of colored pencil and water for further definition at this point.  

     Then I got really busy with the fine line marker--sharpening up the lines, adding background details, and texturing with little dots.  The dots take a lot of time, but they add depth and dimension to the pictures.  It was finished then.  I just had to scan it into my computer, crop and size it.  Sometimes I edit the colors on my computer if I feel it needs it.

     The finished illustration looks like this:

     Here are a couple others I have done for Topper's book.

     I intend to use a dozen or more of these, and they are time-consuming, so please don't expect to see In the Mind of a Cat listed on or Barnes & Noble for a couple more months.

     However, this blog post may allow you to see the illustrations from my other books with new eyes.  The following titles are listed "by Lynda" for either $2.99 or $3.99 on for Kindle eReaders .

Monkey Tales
Circles In the Wind
Margaret's Christmas Cookies
Tiny Others (Agent C Series)
Pomegranate (Agent C Series)
White Rabbit Time (Agent C Series)
Lucky Alana (Agent C Series) 

     The first four in the list above are also listed on the Barnes and Noble site for their Nook eReaders.  The final three will be added within a few weeks.  The prices are identical on both sites.

     Next time:  I will discuss where I get the ideas for my stories.

     Please join us...

     And remember, summertime is reading time.



  1. This is my favorite posting, seeing the process is so interesting. You are a very talented person!

  2. I really appreciate your continued interest and feedback.


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