Our step by step guides showing how professional illustrators work is proving so popular with our readers, we thought we’d make it a regular feature. Renowned French illustrator Stephan Laplanche has been working on a childrens book for the publishers Hachette Jeunesse. He talks us through one of the page artworks.
“It starts of course with reading the text. In this case, it’s a short story about a pirate who escapes from an ambush by painting his ship black so it ‘disappears’ in the night. I was free to illustrate any part of the story that I desired and an image that came to mind was of a boat being repaired on the beach. That gave me plenty of creative scope. I rendered a quick sketch, quite rough as you can see, but I wanted to get my ideas down on paper quickly.”
” Now I have to focus on the important details of the illustration and what I actually want to draw. So I make another sketch with greater detail. This is what I’ll show the client so they can make any changes they feel necessary and hopefully give me the approval to go to finished artwork. I try and get as much action as possible into my sketch at this stage and work especially on the characters, one of which is the hero of the story, a one-legged Captain called Cordobba (There’s always a hero in childrens books!). He’s the ‘smart’ one that gives out the orders”
“Now I have to bring it all together and tighten things up a bit, so I make another copy of this sketch in ink”
“And finally, I add the colour. I used watercolour on this particular illustration. I wanted to try and convey the frantic excitement of the scene and the contentment of the Captain, so I used a variety of colours to add as much vibrancy and rhythm as possible. I hope you enjoy looking at the illustration as much as I did working on it.”
Categories: General illustration news