editorial illustration for the Covent Gardener

I have been meaning to blog more regularly about my work and process for a while now, but it was something I easily forgot. BUT! This time I took blogging into account when I made my planning for 2018, so I hope to be able to publish a little blogpost every two weeks on monday, starting with this one.

People regularly ask me what steps are involved in working with an illustrator, so my main goal for these blogposts is to give you some more insight into how I go about creating an illustration, from my tools to the different steps in the developing process, to shed some more light upon that subject. And, of course, if you are like me, it is just very nice to see process pictures.

I will also share some tutorials from time to time, and experiences that were important for me as an illustrator.

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Today I would like to show you a bit of my process for this illustration I was commisioned to do for the Covent Gardener magazine. I chose this project to be the first to write about, because I think the process used here will give you a pretty good idea of how working with me mostly will be.

When the lovely AD of Covent Gardener magazine, Jeannine Saba, contacted me about an illustration for the autumn issue of the magazine, we talked about the theme of the issue and what she needed the illustration to look like. She didn't have a very specific image in mind, but she liked it to include one or more of the well-known buildings in the London Covent Garden area, some autumn imagery, and since the theme of the issue was 'tattoos', I could work with that theme too. Apart from that, I was given artistic freedom.

With that in mind, I read through the text of the diary page, where my illustration would be placed, and underlined all the elements that could work in an illustration. This included the locations that were mentioned and some of the activities, like a Halloween-party on a boat on the Thames. I did some research of the buildings and locations mentioned, and because the timeline was rather narrow, I started sketching straight away. I wanted to provide three different approaches to the subject, so the three sketches I ended up coloring in and sending to Jeannine, was a rather classic illustration of Somerset House with an autumn feel, a more playful take on the Halloween-party on the Thames, and a stylish hipster with a tattoo of Somerset House on his arm and an autumn pattern on his vest.

My favorite of the three sketches, the bearded hipster, was chosen to complete.

At this stage, I usually offer a round of corrections in the sketch phase, which means you can still ask for anything to be changed when I show the first sketches, but no changes were asked, so I could go straight on to completing the final illustration.

Above you can see the quick sketches I made. You can see they don't look like finished work, but their main purpose is to show the composition of the elements in the illustration, and an idea of the color that will be used. You can more or less think of them as low-res previews of the final image.

After the sketch to work from is chosen, comes the time I park myself at my drawingboard and get serious with my pencils or other tools. After I complete the illustration and some coffees were consumed, I scan the image, and mostly do some minor cleaning up in photoshop.

And then this is how the finished illustration looked like, printed in the magazine, with text and lay-out added. It was a pleasure to work on this illustration, and we were both pretty pleased with the outcome, so this is a job with good memories attached for me :-)

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I hope you enjoyed reading this little article, and that it gave you some insight into my process. I will be writing about other projects too of course. Sometimes the 'making of' can vary somewhat, but the key elements are always lots of communication to make sure that we are on the same page (no pun intended), some research, and of course, lots of drawing.


If you have any requests about subjects you would like me to write about, please let me know! Would you like to see more process-images or video's, drawing tutorials, some insight into the life of an illustrator, or a post about the tools I use, I would be glad to hear it!