Welcome, everyone who might be visiting for the first time from Meg Sodano’s blog; I was super psyched when she invited me to join the blog tour (thanks Meg)! Every week, an illustrator writes a bit about their methods and inspirations, what they’re working on, and then invites one or two other illustrators to do the same the following week. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to check out the next talented and friendly illustrators on the tour; they’ll be posting next week!
What am I working on right now?
I am up to my eyeballs in projects! I am working on my animated storybook app, the illustrations for the second book in the Super Lexi series (due out in October!) and also having a lot of fun working on a science fiction board game. It’s no wonder that my blog posts have been few and far behind lately.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My work takes a lot of inspiration from mid- to late-20th-century animation, and I have really embraced digital workflows. I know many of my peers who work digitally put a lot of effort into getting the look of traditional media like pastels or acrylics, but I don’t sweat it that much.
I like the clean lines and hard shadows that were a hallmark of the old hand-drawn cell-shaded cartoons. My schooling was mainly about animation, and personally I don’t see a huge difference between animation and illustration. Animations are just a lot of illustrations that you look at one after another! I like to blur the lines between the two, as my work on Turtle Crossing does.
You can check out this video of a recent development build!
Why do I illustrate what I do?
Oh man, tons of reasons. If I’m lucky (which I am right now!) I get to illustrate projects that are interesting and/or fun. My greatest accomplishment is always if my work can make other people smile (bonus if they shower me with compliments!). I love telling stories with my art, especially silly, short stories.
How does my illustration process work?
You guys, I am so lazy. Unlike many (more accomplished) illustrators, I don’t stress out about doing a ton of studies and thumbnails. Working digitally really blends the process together and allows for a much more fluid progression from rough sketch to finished piece.
Because I work in multiple (sometimes hundreds) of individual layers, I can experiment with elements and compositions as the piece comes along. I’m constantly moving stuff around, re-sizing things, and rotating them to get the feel right.
The early rough sketch often evolves by minute degrees into the final , with no crisp divisions between steps.
You can see this process in these two time-lapse videos I made last year during the Illustration phase of Turtle Crossing. The second one has been posted before, but the first got dug out of an old hard drive somewhere and edited down just for your viewing pleasure today!
In both cases, I actually was working off of a small, pencil-on-paper thumbnail which had been scanned in to the computer, but you can see that the full-sized sketch flows right into the final piece without so much as a pause.
Thanks for coming by! I hope you stop in again later, as I’ll have more finished pieces from “Super Lexi is not a Fan of Christmas” and “Planet 313” posted in the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to show them off!
Tune in next week for posts by two great illustrators that I had the pleasure of hanging out with at the SCBWI conference in NYC this past winter!
Amanda Erb (update: Her post is now up!) is a Westminster, Maryland based Illustrator with a love for children’s books, animation, cute things, and green tea. She is also hopelessly addicted to dark chocolate and enjoys playing soccer from time to time. Amanda began drawing her own characters and scenes in crayon at age 3 and has never stopped. Throughout her K-12 schooling no handout or homework assignment left unscathed from her doodles.
Amanda graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in Illustration in May 2013 and since graduating has been working on a variety of freelance work and personal projects. Her professional work includes illustrated children’s books and children’s eBooks (most of which are available through MeeGenius). Currently she is working on a few projects she has to keep under wraps as well as her own personal projects. One of her recent personal projects started on Twitter was an “animal alphabet” project titled #MayAlphaZoo. In her free time she also enjoys sketching in her sketchbook, perusing bookstores for children’s books, and scouring the internet for new artists to fawn over. You can view her work at www.amandaerb.com. For more recent updates follow her blog: amandaerb.tumblr.com as well as her Twitter (@mandaErb) and Instagram (instagram.com/erbyerb) accounts.
Rob McClurkan (update: His post is now up!) is an illustrator and author whose imagination is fueled by a healthy dose of Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday funnies. He lives with his family just outside Atlanta, Georgia. Rob’s first children’s book “Aw, Nuts!” will be in bookstores everywhere Aug 26, 2014 To see more of Rob’s work, visit http://www.seerobdraw.com and follow him on Twitter (@rmcclurkan).