"Do you do illustrations for books?" was a question I got early last week, so I wanted to take a trip down memory lane when it comes to creating illustrations. With all that is still going on in the world, I've taken to doing more digital drawing as a familiar coping mechanism lately since mostly moving away from chalk lettering. It had been a while since I drew regularly, but getting back to it has been a relief and something I look forward to daily.
The first book illustration I ever tried was for a book cover design for a project my father published entitled Escape. I remember him giving me a synopsis of what he was writing about and asking me to draw something. At that time, I sketched it on paper with pencil and shared it with him, but the drawing didn't go much further than that. Eventually, and I'm not sure how much later it was... there was a second book that is available online via Amazon/Kindle that I did a watercolor design for and then used as a project to learn how to make vector art using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I wrote about falling in love with that process in one of my first-ever blog posts here seven years ago.
That was only the beginning, and I had no idea that I would create illustrations for three different author's projects some years after that. I haven't seen any of these author's books as finished, printed products yet, unfortunately, but learned a lot with these early illustration works that I still use today. Read on for more about my first few storybook projects!
2016 Illustrations for Kevin Norman's book Golden
I met Kevin while attending a Valentine's event with my good friend Alicia in 2014. The singer Marcus Canty was having a concert at a venue in Fayetteville, and Kev was its host. We became cordial over the years and even casually dated before realizing it wasn't going to work out between us, but were able to collaborate on a few cool projects in that season.
One of those projects was a children's book he wanted to release and he asked me to do the illustrations. It took some months of brainstorming and tweaking, but I completed the designs and sent them to him in June 2016. Since then, I haven't heard anything more about publishing the book, unfortunately, but the illustrations can be viewed in the slideshow below. My process was to 1) sketch, 2) ink the drawing and scan it into the computer, and 3) color and edit in Photoshop, then save save as a PDF.
2013 & 2015 Illustrations for Charlamae Clarke
The images in the following slideshow are a glimpse of some illustrations from the second time I worked with an author for their children's book; and the author in this case was a relative of mine. I don't have the original sketches anymore because they were mailed once I completed the illustrations, but the pictures below are of the sketches and completed designs for most of the images I created. Like the latter, I don't have any information on book publication at this time.
2013 Illustrations for Albanise Bonnor
Lastly, the images in the slideshow below are of illustrations from the very FIRST time I ever attempted working with an author client for their children's book. I didn't know this lady beforehand and at this time, I had only done a number of amateur design projects. Though it wasn't the worst possible freelance experience ever, there were a lot of mistakes made and lessons learn working on this project. It taught me a lot and as I reflect on the original post I shared about it, I'm am so thankful for growth over the years!
Well, those were the first few experiences with storybook illustrations. I've been enjoying the switch to making more digital work again and inspired by a bunch of creatives, so I look forward to where it may lead. We'll have to wait and see if I do any more storybook illustrations in the future or actually see my work fully actualized, published and printed. I hope you enjoyed and thank you for reading! As always, feel free to drop leave a message below if you have any questions or comments!
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