May 19, 2007

Freelance is for the birds ...

some of you may know, but i stumbled onto an amazing opportunity to participate in designing a children's coloring book for an oklahoma based company. a friend of mine is an art director at a local design agency and contacted me about some illustration work that he needed done. i figured i'd post up the steps i took through the process.

these are the thumbnails chris and i came up with together at 'on the border'...high powered meeting right there. about 99.9999% of all coloring books have illustrated covers because it appeals to the kids. very few have photographs, and the ones that do, are usually based on a movie or specific licensed character. the creative director and chris both liked the one in the lower left that i did, and the one on the top right side that chris had come up with. once i got home, i opened up painter and started sketching.

this is my first rough draft. i put the kids on the floor coloring an oklahoma. kids tend to lay around and sprawl when they're coloring and i wanted this to reflect that feeling.

after a conversation with chris and getting some input from my cohorts at the shotgun, i reworked the little girl to make her fit into the picture more naturally and enhanced the oklahoma into a map.

it was very well received, however, they were very attached to the kids drawing on a 3 Dimensional oklahoma, or an oklahoma shaped table. crying silently to myself, i simply redrew the map into a state and added some minor details; i hoped that it would be good enough to relay the gist of it to the client AND reinforce my choice that the kids should be coloring a map.

they really wanted an oklahoma so a complete redraw was in order. i placed the kiddos around an oklahoma shaped table this time, to try and combine the two ideas the agency had originally liked more cohesively into one. this version was also enthusiastically received. having the second rough draft out of the way, i began the process of testing out different color treatments.

the boy on the left received an airbrush treatment, while the girl was done in a chalk/pastel style. i also rendered her in a digital watercolor style and submitted these to chris. the latter of the three, the watercolor, went over very well and they ended up choosing that one for the cover; they decided it looked better with just the little girl, so the rest of the illustration was cropped out and the little girl became the focal point. i illustrated another child for the back cover just in case we needed it for presentation purposes. at this point chris took the two most popular ideas to the account rep for the company to pass them by before the two rough covers went to the client for approval.

and now you all know what i've been doing for the last couple of weeks :) and i'm glad to say i have some process pieces and a conceptual piece for my portfolio.

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