Step 1: Pencil
The pictures for Absolutely Not were drawn using a variety of media, including pencil, paint, and the computer.
Each picture began with a pencil sketch. Here you can see me figuring out how the plants should look for the cover. I’m using some of my wife’s gardening catalogs for reference.
Step 2: Watercolor
Once the pencil drawing was finished, it was time to add the color. I used watercolor paint for these illustrations.
I used only six colors for the entire book. I applied the paint in very thin, watery layers. Once each layer was dry, I added another, building up the colors slowly. This gave me a lot of control and helped make the final colors look more natural.
Step 3: The Computer
When the watercolor painting was finished, I scanned the image into the computer.
Using Photoshop, I was able to fix small mistakes in the painting, touch up color, and adjust the contrast in the images. Later, when we needed to make changes to the images, I was able to do all the edits on the computer. This saved a lot of time.
Step 4: Finishing Up
As I finished each picture, I made a print with my inkjet printer and pinned it onto a large drafting table. This helped me make sure that each illustration was consitent with the rest. My wife Christy helped me look for mistakes, and when we’d find one I’d go back and fix the file on the computer. Finally, when everything looked good, I put all the illustrations on a CD and mailed it off to the publisher. Finished!