I recently finished a series of illustrations on a private commission for one of my clients and would love to share my process of making them with you. This is a pretty standard way I work, especially for this particular client's projects. These illustrations depict scenes from an original story my client wrote and we worked together to get the characters and story right. First I sketched some character studies and once the characteristics for each main character were approved, I started on the first illustration.
Thumbnails are always the first step. I chose the best three and presented them to the client. He liked #2, so I moved forward to the refined drawing which was the next stage of approval.
I gathered a lot of references (cars tipping over, blowing up, wheelchairs, and vans) and created a finished drawing. This is to scale with the final artwork dimensions (easier for me to transfer to bristol later for ink) and will be the composition and base for inking. I sent this drawing to the client for approval then moved on to inking. Since this is just a one-color final, I also told him the color I was thinking of using and he approved it.
Here is the final ink on bristol. I scanned this into my computer, tweaked some minor things (dust particles, contrast, levels) and then applied one color and values.
Then the whole process starts again for the following illustration!
Then start the process over again for the final illustration in the commission.
There were some more steps in creating this illustration to the client's satisfaction. First, we decided on thumbnail #2, but he didn't want the crosses and instead suggested statues or monuments for a war-type of memorial. I did a lot of research and went forward with this idea into the drawing stage.
second approved drawing
You may have noticed in the thumbnail there were clouds. When I sent my client the drawing with the clouds, he didn't think it communicated the devastation well enough; he felt it was too heavenly. He suggested changing it to rubble, so I moved forward on that, keeping the overall shape of the clouds for compositional purposes, but making it rubble instead. The rubble was actually a lot of fun to draw! A couple of other minor tweaks and the drawing was approved to take to final.
I had a lot of fun inking these, coming off the highs of Inktober. My client was happy and so was I. Onward to the next project!