Crafting A Cover: my Children's Book Illustration Class comes to an end

The end of a Make Art That Sells class always seems to be a mixed bag. On one had I'm extremely sorry to see it end--the encouragement, motivation, and extremely accelerated learning process are so valuable, exciting, and inspiring.

On the other hand, I'm exhausted.

Five weeks of intense, fast-paced illustration definitely takes a lot of work, but it's the best kind of work, and I can barely wait to do more (more on that later)!

The last week of class was focused on hand lettering and the cover image. 

I've always loved the look of hand lettering but shied away from it because it's pretty intimidating. This week, though, I had an absolute blast with it!

We started slow with some warm ups and just playing around with different ways to do our title, author, and illustrator names.

 The prompt for Monday was "any three letters from an Old English Alphabet." I basically just pretended I was an illustrator for those awesome classic Disney fairy tale opening sequences. Hashbrown dream job. 

The prompt for Monday was "any three letters from an Old English Alphabet." I basically just pretended I was an illustrator for those awesome classic Disney fairy tale opening sequences. Hashbrown dream job. 

 Lettering play

Lettering play

 More experimenting for the title

More experimenting for the title

 

 

Then it was time for the cover. Just like last week, I went through a TON of ideas. Here's one of my thumbnail pages (made a little prettier and more interesting):

Some Thumbnails for the Cover

 

I settled on this one, and mocked it up before jumping into the linework to make sure it read well. I invested in a lightboard, too, so I was able to do the final linework without totally nailing down every bit of the mockup-- I knew, for example, I had to work on really making the giraffe look squished while making sure the title was fully legible in the final linework (see second image).

Cover Mockup
Lightboard Cover Mockup

I painted the animals and most of Eleanor's outfit in gouache for that great textured look I've been loving lately. Plus it's just really freeing to do by hand! I'm getting much more confident working this way, and combining digital with even more traditional methods.

Painted Animals

I ended up with several very vintage-y color palettes to choose from, and a couple of different expressions for Eleanor.

 

I chose the teal for the final. I had been going for a falsely innocent, "I'm not trying to take your ice cream..." look from the giraffe, but decided it wasn't reading well enough and altered it a bit so the giraffe was looking at Eleanor and the ice cream for a clearer read. 

 

This class has been such a great experience for me. I feel like I should be writing a whole long blog post about it and how excited I am to pursue children's book illustration, but I'm actually jumping right back into it to go through the same process with some other concepts and make sure my portfolio is ready to start submitting to art directors at publishers, so I'm headed back to work now. I'll be sharing more of my work and this whole new adventure as I go, though, so stay tuned!

Thanks for following along with me, friends!