When a manuscript arrives, the first thing (after reading it several times) is to make a bunch of scribbly little thumbnail-sized drawings.
If I'm doing a book, I set the drawings up as facing pages, like below.
I'll make as many generations of these as I like, working out ideas. I call this the Ugly Stage; no one sees it but me.
How I Work
The finished watercolor original.
I learned that my favorite red doesn't reproduce well, so I no longer use it for print work.
Pamela R. Levy
Eventually, I sketch using the text and the actual page shape, but the drawings are still tiny. At this stage I may meet with my editor or art director to make sure things are heading in the right direction. Here I had to make sure Otto looked safe.
Next, I take photos or go to the library, my bookshelves, or my computer for reference. This wonderful little boy agreed to model for me. He's not so little any more!
It's always exciting to see the printed page!
Now it's time to make decisions about the color and line. I always paint in watercolors but when I use an outline it's sometimes pencil, sometimes ink. Top to bottom you see brown color pencil, black ink and then brown ink. I used brown ink in the book for reality and colored ink for fantasy scenes.
This generation of full-sized sketches gets shown to the publisher and I make revisions as needed. I like to draw on tracing paper taped over the galley type.
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