Ali smith is our resident Illustrator at Spiderwize, her talent for drawing and creating illustrations is amazing; she has written below an explanation of the process she follows when creating illustrations.
“I’ve loved drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, and as I grew up I switched from pen and paper to digital art, learning to draw on a computer with a wacom pad and stylus using Adobe illustrator and Photoshop.
As an illustrator, my job is not simply to produce artwork, but to create artwork that effectively and accurately sums up the part of the book it is representing. It’s important to produce the right illustration. And to try and do this, I generally follow this process...
- Once I receive the brief from my boss, I (skim) read through the relevant parts of the book to learn about image I am portraying. This provides clues about hair and eye colour, outfit, the characters and personalities involved the setting and also the mood of the scene.
- Next, I make notes for each illustration, combining these details with any author input, and summarise the scene in a few sentences. At this stage I often run these notes by the client/Laura to see if they agree or have any other input.
- The next step is to create a ‘rough’ illustration based on this summary, creating the background scene, then placing the character/characters, and their interaction with one another. Once this scene is composed, I go back and refine these elements, working on the details. I like to include odd details specific or relevant to the story, as this helps bring the tale to life. To perfect expression or poses, I use photo reference images sourced online. Using reference for artwork is essential to help with details that wouldn’t otherwise occur to you if you just worked from your imagination. This helps your illustration look ‘right’.
- Once the illustrations are completed, I send the artwork to Laura at Spiderwize, who passes them to Designer Camilla, to place into the book.'