Welp, here we are… back at square one for the “breakfast” page. I already completed this page for a previous version of my book but it was… well… terrible. Seriously terrible. I can’t even believe that I let a possible publisher of this book see it. I even tried to “fix” it in Photoshop – but it was still awful. It was after that whole debacle that I vowed never to alter anything material in my images. I still correct for white balance and that stuff, but I won’t change the actual image.
Anyway, I knew I’d have to revisit this page and the time has come. I need to hold myself to higher standards. Be intentional. The power of these illustrations are found within the details. Do. Better.
How do I begin a new spread? Carefully. If I do the work up front, and if I’m patient in planning/sketching the rest of the image just falls into place.
At first, I just threw down a few rough placement sketches. What do I want the composition of this page to look like? Where are my white, grey, and black areas (blur your eyes and look for light, medium, and dark figures in composition)? What is the main point of this page and how can my illustration reinforce it? Etc., etc., etc.
This page asks the reader to face taste and tactile issues that a person with an autism, sensory processing, or anxiety disorder might frequently encounter. The main character is at breakfast with his family, and I want the focus to be on him and his slight disgust with his food options – while everyone else seems to be perfectly happy.
I never get into detailed sketches because I know what I want the characters to look like, but I will (as you can see) throw a few general sketches out and make lists. For example, I know I want the main character to wear his usual red shirt, while the other family members will wear calming colors from the cool color family (purples, blues, greens).
After the sketches are finished, I set up a mock scene and use paint bottles to mark where the characters will go.