Brian Wonders:  The Making of a Children's Book

The Making of a Picture Book: journal entry 12


As a kid, my favorite part of the water park was hands down the wave pool.  But the wave pool was also a scary place because of the wall at the far end.  It had bright red signs all around it warning kids not to swim too close to it--because you would get sucked under by the wave machine, I was told.  My head filled in the rest.  But when I looked under to see this machine there was nothing to see--just a dark gash running across the bottom, from end to end, breathing.  A gaping mouth ready to pull you in.  I think I created these happy ladies of the waves to deal with that trauma. 

Here's the process:


Starts out with loose ideas.  Pencil on paper.  The final pencil sketch gets cleaned up and scanned into the computer, then altered if need be. 


This is the final pencil image.  I altered the pencil color, turned it blue.  I also added a string of balloons.  This part doesn't need to be too tight, because it will get printed out and then painted on top of.  It will serve as my underlayer for the acrylic paint stage.  


Here's the final acrylic painting.  Notice Brian was painted onto his own square.  This is always my last resort when I can't get something in the painting quite right.  The painting gets scanned back into the computer, where I adjust the colors and levels and it all gets finished off with additional details. 


Details like this one:  this is a layer of waves I rendered in 3D.  This image is then drag and dropped on top of the painting.  Nothing too technical here, just a basic wave shader on smooth planes.  I just wanted to get some hard digital detail in the painting against the looser brush strokes. 


Final image!  Image scanned, color adjusted, CG waves added.  The balloons were another element that was first rendered in CG and then blended into the illustration.

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