Drawing the Pit

1. Building a model

Lego model

Sometimes, when working on a book, I’ll build a model to help me work out the composition. For the big pit scene in Uncle Frank’s Pit, I decided to create a rough version out of Lego bricks, a clay and cardboard version of the head, and a toy crane.


2. Pencil sketch

Pencil sketch

Looking at the model, I drew a rough sketch of how I wanted the final picture to look. One of the great things about having a model was that I could try the scene from several different angles to see which one would work best.


3. Adding color with the computer

Adding color

The next step was to scan the picture into the computer. All of the final drawings for Uncle Frank’s Pit were drawn on the computer. I used a Wacom drawing tablet and a program called Painter. Here’s what the picture looked like halfway through the coloring stage.


4. Final illustration

Final illustration

This picture took about a week and a half. It was a two-page spread, and all of the type was added later by the designer at the publishing company. Here’s the finished version.