Marlo here. Tonight, I'm taking a different artistic approach to what I've shown you so far. I'm employing a technique I use quite often, including in VOLCANO DREAMS by Janet Fox, which comes out in September.
It's a multi-media approach, and it employs digital tools. First, I spend many hours designing the piece. (I'm not going to reveal that design until the piece is complete, however—one must keep a little mystery before the big reveal. This one happens to have an accompanying acrostic poem—a shape poem—which was very fun to play with.)
Once I have a solid idea and have developed the design, I run it by my critique partners for feedback. I have a great team for that—which includes the lovely, talented members of Team WD (consisting of Priscilla Alpaugh, Julia Ann Young, and Emily Wayne), plus my extremely talented artist mum, Patricia Tremayne, who has taught me so much of what I know. I also run it by my writing crit group, who are talented visually, too, and other family. It's key to get feedback from both other artists and non-artists to make sure everything is working and "reads" well. (Kev actually made a great suggestion on the design for this piece, too, which I was grateful for.)
Once I've tweaked the design, I draw individual elements, such as this humpback whale. I use a mechanical pencil on Strathmore drawing paper, which I like for its texture.
Then I get them into my computer and start the next—and digital—stage.
When you're on a tight illustration deadline and you have a publisher requesting last-minute changes, it's great to have each element on a separate layer, so it can be recolored, resized, or deleted, etc. at will. I use both Photoshop and Corel Painter, and I frequently flip back and forth between the two on any given piece. I'm on a super-tight deadline for this piece, so this method is really going to work for me.
Once I have the drawings in, I lay in some color and start to work the piece up using digital oil paint. For SOOOO many years, I wished for a way to combine pencil and oil paint—and with these digital tools, I can!
I'm also layering in some real watercolor, just as I did for VOLCANO DREAMS.
I have four evenings left to finish this piece in time to have it printed ahead of NESCBWI8. So, I must away!