One of the most challenging parts to the illustration process is finding just the right medium that suits the story. I had originally planned to create Misho in watercolor with other mixed mediums like colored pencil and ink. After playing around with that for several months, I discovered I just wasn’t getting the colors I wanted. Nope. Not happening. So, I went back to digital and found all the color I could handle! Now I’ve been playing with the textures so I can emulate the look of the paper below the color and I think I have it. Still some experimentation doing on, but here are a few photos showing the steps and layers I used to create the cover design for Misho of the Mountain.

Misho cover design, pen and ink

First step: The original drawing is done in pencil and then inked using a Micron art pen, .05. I still really love the feel of the pen on paper.


Second step: I scan the line art into Photoshop and set up the layers.


Third step: For digital art, I use the model of laying in the darker colors then adding lighter and lighter layers to build up the depth and highlights. This is the opposite of how I would paint in watercolor, so I had to switch my thinking.

I actually created the background layer in the beginning, and turn it on and off as I work, adjusting the contrast as I build the colors in the foreground.


Final step: I add the title and other text and make adjustment to the color, looking for what stands out most and what is easily readable at thumbnail size.

So, here it is!

The next stage of creating the book will be designing the full-size layout with the thumbnail sketches scanned in so I can adjust the placement of the type and then start the actual drawings around the type. If you like reading about the process, please follow us by signing up for our email list or RSS feed. And share with everyone you know who loves kids books! Misho is special and we want to tell her story far and wide!


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