I like to build my color shapes in Adobe Illustrator. Using the pencil drawing as a guide I trace each color area. These shapes are easy to edit as I try out different colors and modify the shape edges. I will export this artwork as a Photoshop file where I can use each of the shapes as a selection or mask making it easy to “spray paint” areas without the color going into areas where I do not want it. Color Comps are important steps to have approved by the publisher because it is much more difficult to make changes in a finished painting.
After getting approval on the thumbnail sketches I work out the details of each illustration in pencil drawings. I scan the drawings into the computer then using Photoshop I increase the contrast and often make additional changes by moving or resizing items. Each pencil sketch is then emailed to the publisher for approval. This sketch is a two page spread in Porter Earns a Quarter. There will be text on the page and I may add a couple other items.
The first thing I do before illustrating a picture book is read the story and decide where the page breaks will be. In the case of Porter Earns a Quarter each illustration will be a two-page spread so I will be doing 14 illustrations. I do multiple thumbnail sketches for each illustration to work out the composition. Then I copy my favorite thumbnail sketch for each page onto my book layout sheet. This is sent to the art director or publisher for approval (In this case Nicholeen Peck herself). We discuss each page and I make any requested changes. Then I’m ready for step two.