A new success

I haven’t written a new blog post in ages, but I think it’s time to boast about myself again.

The big news is that my illustration was used as a cover page of proceedings of a scientific conference held in Japan.
So, after illustrating two children’s books published in US, I now have an illustration published in Asia. What is it like to be an intercontinental celebrity, I almost hear you ask. Well, it’s nice. I can recommend. 😀

Anyway, back to this last illustration. It was a great opportunity to do something I have never done before (and I hope it was not the last time). The main person I have to thank for this opportunity is Hafeez Basha, vice president of the conference, who I know through my friend Yasuo.

Below, you can see the cover of the publication (I only did the picture for the front cover). Under that, there is a photo from the inauguration of the conference. And at the bottom, there is a confusing gif picture showing how I did the illustration layer by layer.

 

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My illustration on the front cover

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The inauguration of the conference

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Making the illustration layer by layer

In Search of Emerald Bay – the illustrations

The first real book I ever illustrated was called Into Exaltia, written by Heather Rivera. And that book now has a sequel and I illustrated that as well (so now I have illustrated two books instead of one, which makes me twice as important, right?).

The sequel is called In Search of Emerald Bay and you can buy it right now. Really, there is nothing stopping you, the rest of this post will wait for you to return from Amazon.

In total, there are 12 new illustrations (plus two cover illustrations, one normal and one small). I started drawing in December 2014 and ended in February 2015 (I never said I was fast), and I am quite happy about the drawings. As always, some of the illustrations were easier, some were harder to make. But the whole process was fun and I like the result.

And now to some pictures. The first one you can see below is the front cover of the book (I didn’t make the actual cover, I only did the illustration for it). Then there is my favorite illustration of Emerald Bay, the Library. You can see 5 stages of the illustration from first sketch to final version.

So, there it is. I enjoyed drawing the illustrations and I hope readers will enjoy the book. And my sixth sense tells me that some of you still haven’t bought the book, so, in the name of shameless advertising, I give you the link to Amazon again.

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Emerald Bay

 

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The Library – first sketch

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The Library – pencil drawing

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The Library – partly inked

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The Library – rough scan

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The Library – final illustration

Almost taking part in a children’s book competition

A few weeks ago, I found out about a competition organized by a Polish book publisher Dwie Siostry. To take part, you had to send in a script or storyboard of your own book for children (in Polish or English) and 4 illustrations for the book. If the jury found your ideas and pictures good enough, you could win one of the prizes (publishing the book when it’s finished, money, etc.).

My friend Claire (who likes writing) and I (who can’t write at all) decided to try to send our entry as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time to meet the deadline. So now, we are left with a basic idea for a book and 3 illustrations that I did. That may sound a little disappointing, but it was fun, so who cares.

So far, it seems like one of my many unfinished projects. Hopefully, we finish the book anyway and try to send it in next year (the competition looks annual to me). In the meantime, you can look at the three pictures I did here (one of them is below, just to let you know what to expect).

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Illustration of an island

 

Illustrating the book Into Exaltia

During the summer 2014, I drew illustrations for a children´s book Into Exaltia written by Heather Rivera. In this blog post, I´d like to describe how I began illustrating the book and how I worked on the illustrations.

 

How I got the job

The part of getting the job of illustrating Into Exaltia was mostly about luck. I have freelancer profiles on a few websites (Elance, Freelancer). From time to time, I log in and browse the opportunities for illustration and cartoon jobs. So far, I´ve had a few minor successes, doing single illustrations for different clients, which was nice. Once, I almost got the job of doing a weekly caricatures of famous singers and bands, but it didn’t work out in the end.

One day, I was browsing job offers on Elance and I had noticed an advert for illustrating a tween book. I hadn´t heard the word tween before, but it sounded nice enough. After some googling, I discovered that “tween” is either polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate or a kid that is 10 to 12 years old. I hoped it was the second meaning and applied for the job. Heather (the author of the book) had liked some of my previous drawings and chose me to draw the illustrations for her.

 

The illustrating itself

Working on the illustrations was really nice. The internet is full of stories about terrible freelancing experiences. Freelancers or clients disappearing in the middle of the project, problems with communication, delays with delivery of the finished thing from the freelancer, delays with payments from the client, and many more. Fortunately, this wasn´t the case of illustrations for Into Exaltia.

Heather and I had agreed on dividing the project of twelve illustrations into a few sections and set deadlines for each part, to make it more manageable. I had estimated that I would need a week for each illustration. In the end, the whole project took about nine weeks, which was great news, because I am a big fan of being on time.

I had worked on the illustrations in the mornings before work and in the evenings after work. I did the most of the drawing between 5  and 7 a.m. This may sound crazy, but I found it best to work when “normal people” are asleep. It´s very easy to get distracted by the social networks, friends or drunk tourists singing outside. Concentrating is not difficult early in the morning.

For each illustration, I was given a short description of the scene. Then, I drew a quick pencil sketch and sent it back to Heather. After that, we started discussing the sketch and what the illustration should look like. Sending the picture to Heather was actually my favourite part, because I found it quite thrilling to wait for the reply. And, the reply can’t really be bad. If you get a reply saying that nothing needs to be changed, it’s great, because it means you’ve done well. If you get a reply with some suggestions for changes, then you have just received a constructive criticism, that will help you make your picture (and possibly all your future pictures) better. After dealing with all the suggestions,  doing a few corrected or new sketches, we ended up with a picture that both sides felt good about. It usually took a few days to get from the first sketch to the final sketch. After all this, the only thing left was to draw and ink the final version of the picture. Again, this would take a few days, but once the planning is done, it’s only technical. All you need is patience.

I also drew the illustration for the back cover of the book and the map for the front cover of the book. Heather has already contacted me for another gig. I am going to illustrate her second children’s book in the Prism Walker Series.

And that´s it. I am skipping the stuff nobody cares about, like scanning a picture into the computer, playing with contrasts to make it look better and so on. On the animated gif picture below, you can see the change from the final pencil drawing to the fully inked final illustration.

 

The End

So, that´s how illustrating Into Exaltia worked. It may not sound exciting to a person that wasn´t involved in the process. But, if you are reading this line, you have gone quite far in the text, so you must be interested. Unless, of course, you have started by reading the end, in which case, shame on you and go back to start. Anyway, thanks for visiting my website!

If you have any thoughts you´d like to share, questions you’d like to ask or complaints you’d like to make, just let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

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The cover of the book Into Exaltia by Heather Rivera

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Into Exaltia illustrating process