This year I will add content to the Pro Tips area of my site. While deciding where to start I took a critical look at what it is I do while creating a new piece of artwork. This was an interesting exercise as it forced me to break down my approach and list the steps involved. The list goes something like this:
1. Receive art manuscript from client. These come in many forms from well thought out PPT illustrations to chicken scratch sketches.
2. Review and decipher what is the main focus of the illustration. It is important to understand the content before I attack the design and layout of the artwork.
3. Begin the illustration process by deciding how much real estate the image requires.
4. Create the objects, choose colors, and add the text and arrows.
5. Organize and align all the elements so they flow naturally yet maintain clear positions in the visual narrative. Steps 4 and 5 occur simultaneously.
6. Review the completed figure.
7. Edit and revise as necessary.
8. Send the illustration out to the client for review.
Future Pro Tips entries will focus mainly on steps 4 and 5. These are the stages where I am constructing the illustrations and will be the most relevant for you.
To help make my points I will use actual illustrations from my catalog of work as before-and-after images. These are all images that have gone to publication. Here is a simple example:
And here is a more complex example:
I’ve been doing this for so many years that, for the most part, I’m not even conscious of all the decisions I’m making while illustrating. It’s like being in a trance. Very meditative. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all yogi guru on you. Instead I will attempt to focus on and distill my thought process so anyone can apply the same rules and techniques I use while creating professional publication graphics.
I hope you find the coming entries to be useful and helpful. Please do not hesitate to ask me questions. I will try to answer your questions as clearly as possible.