Monday, 17 February 2020

Book Commission

I have recently been commissioned to produce a children's book for a client. I have now completed the book, and it has been received and accepted by my client. The book is 32 pages at 10x10". 21 illustrations. and a book cover. I thought I would share my process in completing the book, and so here goes. Firstly, I was contacted by my client who had found me via one of my advertising/ marketing profiles. He advised me on what he envisaged for the style of illustrations and we discussed the graphic design format. The fee for my work was agreed, along with the timescale for production. I then supplied my contract, which once signed, enabled a beginning of the work. The main body of the story involved three characters, two male and one female The story was entitled Stan the cave man invents fire. My client sent me his manuscript , and after much deliberation, we arrived at a general format for the illustrations. My client then sent me some images he had found on the web, as to the style he wanted for the illustrations. After agreement, I then produced a rough visual/story board of the whole book showing my initial ideas as to where I thought the images and text should be placed. This was only a guide, as elements would alter as the work progressed. 

When the storyboard was accepted I then began to collate character designs, I produced three sheets of A3  drawings of heads only, I repeated this until all three characters were chosen. an example of one of the pages is below:

Once each of the three characters were chosen from the rough drawings. I then produced more refined versions of each of the three chosen characters as line drawings, in a three pose format ( the same character facing forward and to both sides) We then agreed on the musculature, hair colour/length, clothing style, and agreed that all three characters were about the same age of around late teens.
Once the characters had been finalised, it was time to produce one of the illustrations as a line drawing showing the agreed character attributes. I produced the first illustration in the story to exhibit this. I also gave some indication as to where the text of the story would be positioned.

After the style and element design was agreed, I then began to add colour to enable an insight into how I would render the work. ( the chosen image was a double page spread form the book.)

After an agreement was made regarding the style and content of the characters, along with the environment, I then completed  the whole illustration. Once this stage was agreed, this system was then employed for each of the illustrations in turn. Below are all of the interior  illustrations for the book. they are in page order. I cannot show the interior text or design at the present time as per copyright terms.(I can show the cover) However the story will become apparent in the near future when the work is published, and I supply a link. All the illustrations below began life as the examples shown above, my style is roughly 70% traditional illustration methods (drawing, coloured pencil, and watercolour/acrylic) the remaining 30% is by digital means. The digital process, involves around 15% actual digital paint, and 15% dynamics, of environment and colouration. I will produce a separate blog post for this stage in the near future. 

Below are the next 2 illustrations from the story, I have on this Occasion left the text in for you to see the final book rendition.

 Once all the interior illustrations were completed and signed off as good by my client, it was then time to produce the wrap around book cover. Shown below. 

Front cover

Rear cover

When the cover design was accepted and rendered in colour, I then began the graphic design and book formatting process. I began with the cover, sourcing the type face/font, and setting the text. Once this was complete I then began the interior typesetting and design. I produced  the majority of the graphic design and page layout formatting within Adobe In Design and photoshop. When all was complete and my client was happy, I then saved the work as CYMK in PDF format. 300dpi, 10x10"
The completed work was delivered digitally and the final payment was taken. The whole book , from start to finish was completed in around 3 months,  and there we have it, I hope you enjoyed it and found it informative.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Illustration portfolio tips

Firstly, It depends upon which area you wish to specialise in. As I specialise in children’s literature, I can only advise on what to put into a portfolio for this specialism. There are of course cross overs with every type of specialism. Some illustrators specialise within a specialism, one may specialise in people another in animals , although a good artist should be able to be proficient in both. In the beginning you should aim for between 15–20 pieces of your best work. and hopefully you will have already found your style, because a portfolio should be in a consistent style. This is your trade mark, it is your personal identity. The subject matter is important , although this  can vary from illustrator to illustrator, however, In general, a good way to think of it is as it is in life, ie People: You should try and include young children, adults, and the elderly. in different poses and with different emotions. different ethnicities. Animals: young and old, different emotions and anthropomorphism. flying, etc. environment: rural, urban, night and day, weather: water, rain, Fantasy: unusual situations (imagination) Children like the unusual, they delight in the profound and the crazy. creatures, monsters, mythical creatures, try and include dynamism, movement, speed, odd angles, unusual positions. (difficulty in drawing) there should be Character designs. some monochrome work. spot illustrations, some half page, full page, double page spread, and book cover you  can include a piece of work with a few of these elements in one image. Try hard to be original. I know this may appear virtually impossible in a modern image laden world where seemingly everything has been done, but just as important it is to have an original and distinct personal style, it is also important to create as original material is possible. After all it is an illustrators job to realise anything a mind can conjure. and to be frank as an artist you should find it easy to generate original ideas after all. Creativity is an amazing thing. My tip for generating original work, is to think outside the box, an old cliche I know,  but it works, for example imagine 2 things together that seem at odds, or wouldn't happen in reality, and find an interesting way to realise them in one image. 

every illustrator is in a constant flux with their portfolio , and it evolves over time, as your work , style and working methods/techniques mature you will find your work will become more complex and dynamic, and you will drop images that once you thought where your best work. I am currently in the process of formulating another side to my portfolio, It will be a non fiction portfolio. I have chosen to complete 10- 20 pieces, the subject matter will be mostly animals, and a venture into dinosaurs, amongst other things, as yet I am  undecided. Another technique to show a lot of different scenarios and characters is to have a seperate section on your website for drawings. As I have done myself. This also shows your aptitude for drawing which is important when sending plans/visuals to clients, who like to see them on your site. Take a look at my website, I have around 30 images at this moment in time, I have tried to show something of everything, in my own style, that is all you need to do yourself. potential commissioners want to see consistency, (own style) and a breadth of life scenarios if you achieve this, you will have a good portfolio.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Illustrators code of conduct

As an active member of the association of Illustrators, I am guided in my practise by the code of conduct for illustrators that they produce on behalf of its members.  The association works hard to raise standards, and promote the profile of Illustrators within the Industry. Professional practise is paramount for the  professional Illustrator, both as an individual practitioner and for the industry as a whole. Without an organisation that actively promotes the professional stature of Illustrators, there would be very  little  recourse when dealing with  commissioners. There would be low standards and an undermining of the professionalism of illustration. Without regulation, In short the industry, would collapse into itself, and be resigned to history as a worthless occupation.  Below is a copy of  the Code of conduct supplied to members of the association of illustrators:

Anthropomorphism an overview

Anthropomorphism is nothing new within the art world and especially within the illustration industry. As humans we actively engage with, and treat our pets as if they were human beings we name them, (sometimes human names) converse with them  groom them, and treat them as  family  members, sometimes pampering them as if they were children. Of course human children grow up observing this behaviour, dressing the dog and going on space adventures with the cat. This is reflected within Children's literature which is full of animals because of the interesting characters and relatable human antics. Anthropomorphism, is an integral part of human history, since the believed beginning of art history humans created sculptures of humans with animal heads over 30,000 years ago, advancing into the development of subsequent cultures and religions, from illuminated texts to needle crafts the act of humanizing animals has been a major influence in the development of modern culture. As cultures developed through time, many traditional stories and myths, where passed down through generations, and with the advent of printing presses over traditional etching techniques, and larger production runs, books became increasingly accessible for everyone to enjoy, rather just for the elite. Artists such as William Hogarth, and Wilhelm Von Kaulbach in the 19th century utilised etching techniques to create satirical anthropomorphic illustrations. 

                William Hogarth

                                 London, Baldwin, Cradock & Joy 1822 Copper engraving

Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)

Grinning cat taken from ' Alice's adventures in wonderland'.

Illustrators such as Beatrix potter working at the turn of the century, where part of a transition whereby the availability of children's books was beginning to expand to the masses through developing printing technology. By the turn of the century and the subsequent world wars, the marketplace begin to expand and anthropomorphic books and board games are seen more readilyA good amount of this forward progress is thanks to the Uncle Wiggily series by Howard Garis. The Uncle Wiggily series and its contemporaries illustrate the next advancement in the evolution of anthropomorphism in children’s literature. Instead of being animals living in fear of humans, this world has in fact moved to the point where humans are unnecessary for the story, so they are removed. It should be noted that as art transitioned from the 16th to 17th century, degrees of anthropomorphism began to move in unique directions. No longer animals were those who merely talked or walked divided between two or four feet, creatures began wearing clothes, living in homes and having complicated family structures develop.

Howard Garis . Uncle Wiggily and the Sleds 1910-present
Illustrated by George Carlson

Thanks to previous generations, children have begun to think more creatively, and are more likely to grasp the ideas involved in a purely animal setting.This expunging of humans begins a new chapter in children’s literature, no longer being held back by the constraints of our own reality, authors and illustrators have the opportunity to effectively create new universes for their characters to play in. Though many more artists could be mentioned to describe the variety of styles present in the current marketplace, such as Jon Klassen, Ursula Vernon, and John Manders, the works of Boutavant and Brett succinctly illustrate the range that is possible. In a general sense, as the world population has increased, so to has the variety of possible outcomes and artists to fill the needs. In any section of the market, it is possible for any particular style to be relevant and represented. As the world moves forward, and we continue to explore new avenues for anthropomorphism in art, it will be exciting to see what develops, be it realism or abstracted, traditionally painted or digital. The important thing is that children continue to enjoy and learn from these interesting animals and the worlds they inhabit. As an Illustrator of children's literature I am constantly evaluating my own practise.  My style has evolved to such a degree that I don't have any trouble drawing anything I can imagine. Anthropomorphism offers an excellent vehicle for expressing ideas, as it affords an in depth analysis of an imagination, and along with the culturally informed  universality of personification, it continues to offer  a stimulating vehicle for illustrating  children's literature. Over the last month or so I have developed further my ideas and produced four personification illustrations. My style has evolved to encompass a bright and modern aesthetic. Although they are mainly created with traditional media. Artists today have a vast plethora of digital tools to enable a whole new aesthetic, buts let us not forget that too much one sided digital work may endanger an artists originality and also lead to a mass of work that all looks the same. I have tried most digital software and can tell you that although most offer promises of an exact replica of traditional media outcomes, this is just not true, you cannot replicate the reality of traditionally produced work digitally. Technology is not there yet. Digital tools are exactly that, a tool, and not a replacement.   I have included new digital  tools to my visual vocabulary that are utilised to further enhance the images. Utilising digital tools also prepares the work for web and print options, being able to manipulate the environments and augment the differing size and DPI measurements is a vital  step in an illustrators arsenal. My work may have a traditional 'feel' but with its simplified forms and colors , along with relevant deconstruction to create the most pleasing aesthetic for children viewers.

Billy the frog

                                                                                         Frog and mouse motorcycle race

                                                                                        Max the squirrel inventor

                                                               Timmy mouse steals the golden egg .

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Children- Character design 2

Well here I am again exploring the happy world of children's illustration.There are lots of skills needed to be a children's illustrator, but for today I want to focus on one in particular, That of Character design. In my last post I discussed and showed examples of character design drawings. To follow this path further, I decided to create some pieces for my portfolio that would illustrate how I would accomplish character design within my finished artwork style. One of the main elements of character design of course is how an illustrator accomplishes continuity of characters through multiple images within a prospective publication.This is termed sequencing. Sequencing is also used in animation where characters are continually generated through multiple frames. The ability to carry an individual or group of characters through stages of emotion and physical differences is an important one in any artists skill set. especially within the children's illustration oeuvre. It is not terribly easy to accomplish. Varying human physiology and emotional status distorts features, making for a difficult task when designing on a two dimensional plane, with very few lines and shapes available, to  facilitate a believable representation An understanding of anatomy is important, as is an understanding of how emotions affect facial features. at the same time maintaining your style, a style that hopefully is based aesthetically within the paradigm of children friendly illustration. I decided to complete four character illustrations, two of each gender, with varying subtle age differences. I also wanted to include interior and exterior images, with single a multiple figures within them. I have illustrated the characters in different postures and completing different tasks, as It would be within a story context. Below are two completed child character design illustrations described.

As you can see I have added relevant text as an indication of the story context, and positioned the images within a structured page layout. The format  also offers an possibility of how the images may be rearranged and used as  independent spot illustrations.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Character design-drawing children

As we all know the human body is extremely complex and the individual mind within each of us decides how our bodies interact with the world. Human emotion and the mannerisms it creates makes for a challenging thing for an artist to draw. If we then attempt to draw children, we are then faced with extra challenges. Children  not only possess  a smaller stature, but they also have their own set of nuances. My own personal style has been formulated over time developed by the very act of living, my susceptibility to read everything perhaps more diligently than many (sensitivity) my preference for detail and a modality that is expressed through knowledge of  codifying images to fit a perceived norm, That is,  infantilizing, cuteness, and universal mannerisms that constitute everyone else's experience and knowledge of how children make their way in the world. Aside from emotional content, how do we represent naivety, for example. I guess this is only a perceived notion, within a drawn image context, or is it the overall universal  visual cues we receive when viewing a drawn image of a child. we all know how a child of a certain age 'looks' but how do we translate this knowledge into a visualisation. Children have smaller features than adults, Their heads appear larger compared to the size of their bodies, they appear to have slightly larger eyes because their faces are more compacted generally, and because the nose for example is generally closer to their eye line. Their ears appear to be larger, because visually their heads are smaller. They tend to have bulbous cheeks (puppy fat as its known). They tend to have round rather than long faces. their hands are smaller as are their limbs. An illustrator can take these visual cues,  alongside the use of universal coding, to exaggerate all these elements, thus  reinforcing  the overall universal iconography.Through infantilization the illustrator can  exaggerate eye size, along with the ear and nose size, exaggerating  slenderness of limbs, and slight stretching can produce good results. My style has been arrived at partly because I wished to produce humour in my work which is an obvious universal notion creating a sense of well being and happiness. A quality anyone would want for young minds eyes. Codifying humour, is well documented within what we call cartooning. Cartooning has a very long history with many, often famous protagonists of the art form. I had researched cartooning as part of my university studies, and in turn that knowledge has influenced my own style. I utilise many of the universal cues in my work The overall look of my style may appear cartoon like, however, I have developed it further to produce more of a drawing than a cartoon, I have further developed the general naturalism, further enhancing realism. To a point that is, until I feel comfortable that the image still retains the freshness and simplified form of a true cartoon. The drawings below are examples of how I have exaggerated and further infantilised the individual characters. This is the initial 'raw' line drawing,  My style is such that after this stage I may develop the marks further and once colour is added very fine differences to the initial drawing may be seen although most of the time any changes are so subtle that they are not easily seen.

Thursday, 22 November 2018


I thought I would share my process with you as I am completing the 19th illustration for my portfolio. It is an insight into the way an artist/illustrator uses all their  visual technical ability and the way they design a work. I am a children's illustrator and so my style is focused aesthetically on simplified form and colour. Infantilised elements and exaggerated forms. The initial idea for the work has been floating around my mind for a while. I wanted to produce an illustration that would include a number of different monster characters. I came up with The monsters reunion. I wanted to have a small boy in amongst the monsters, with the text/story, ( I will include later when its finished ) to include  a monster named Rob, who is a friend of the boy and has introduced him to the annual monster reunion. I wanted to include some flying dragon like creatures and a city in the far background. I also wanted to place a large bridge and an enclosing wall, then I thought well some monsters would be seated and some having drinks. I began the drawing with the foreground monsters and worked forwards/upwards including two tables etc. The initial drawing is the point where the basic design is mapped into the work, It is worked out at the concept stage where I have a focal point and all the elements should work as a whole to focus the viewers gaze. Occasionally I will produce a thumbnail or plan sketch/drawing. Commissioners may require this, but for self initiated work I generally just start drawing pick a starting point, I think it was the foreground character on the right on this occasion) Then I work outwards from there composing the design as I proceed.The drawing stage took me around 6 hours to produce, the illustration is A2 in size, and I have filled the sheet almost completely. When I had completed the drawing I then applied spray mount to the rear and then glue the drawing down upon a sheet of white mount board. I have shown in the image below the starting point for the first layer of paint (watercolour).

                                                    Initial drawing and a start on the paint.

The first layer of watercolour is applied in a thin wash, I cover the whole area quite quickly The colours are chosen arbitrarily, I obviously don't know what a monster in reality looks like and so I am picking the colours randomly and thinking on my feet so to speak, where each colour should go and what the right colour should be. When I say the right colour I mean not just for each character to work with the next, I also mean that these base colours are important as they are the basis of the design by colour. Do individual coloured elements work as a pictorial whole, is the colour balance correct. I have in my minds eye a general feel I want to achieve, and aim for that. I am also mindful of the light source, and the strength of the application of the washes as I need to create depth with a foreground, middle and background, I tend to lay in a nominally lighter tone wash for the first paint layer. I work from top to bottom until all, the drawing is covered in colour. As you can see from the image below, the first paint layer is very light, a vague indication of form is indicated, but as yet there are no shadows or dark tones The first layer of paint takes around 4-5 hours.When its dry I begin the whole process again, for the second layer of paint. following this time, the first paint colour , I lay a slightly thicker wash over the top of the first. I may begin to define certain areas of interest, and or find ways in which to promote or not promote areas with thickness of wash and variation of some tones of colour.I began from the sky and worked down for the second paint layer.

                                                                First paint block in layer

The first and second layer are very close to each other in tone, and so I will jump ahead one layer  and show you the third layer. You may say why don't you just paint the  whole picture in opaque paint to begin with, and just add highlights and darks all at once? Well, my technique has been developed, over time, through experimentation. In the past I realised that I could gauge the nuances of the paint and visual aspects as the work progresses in a more sensitive way, which enables me to play with tonality and depth of field more readily, because I vary the paint  transparency very finitely giving me more scope as I develop the work. If I just painted it all thickly from the first I would have to manage all the nuances at the end, and as I've tried this before I found that the painting becomes something other than what I am trying to accomplish with my style. ie a painted drawing, rather than a painting of a drawing. I am also aiming to produce a light rich, work, and by utilising the white of the paper for my whites I can create a far more airy generalised  light. Also if I complete the whites as I go, this cuts down the time of production. As you can see by the third layer things are beginning to become more defined, as I build the opacity and the strength of tone. I tend to define the eyes at this point. The psychological impact of producing work this way always is always the same , the thing is I am not looking at anything else for reference. From the second layer point, I equate with climbing a hill, You can vaguely see the top , but you know you have to do a lot more walking uphill, You just keep building and building until you reach the top, when you look over the top of the hill that's when the work is virtually complete.

                                                              The third watercolour layer

The fourth layer is when I begin to use the coloured pencils exclusively. I have experimented with many types of coloured pencil to find the best feel texture and depth I prefer, and require for my style. I eventually settled on three types that I use exclusively in my work. The first is a cheap pencil you can buy in a supermarket, they are generally poor quality and quite hard and difficult to gain any colour mark from them, I use this fact to my advantage, for certain jobs within a picture, I dont use them often but when they are needed they are invaluable.The second type I use is Derwent procolour.They are really rich and you can attain great depth when they are mixed and layered on top of each other, they are really nice to use with strong colour definition. and the third coloured pencil I always use is Derwent coloured drawing pencils, these are particularly dense, almost like a pastel, if you need to fill an area quickly they are perfect, and for strength of depth they are brilliant. they have a slightly deeper depth achievement than the pro colours both are excellent. So, using watercolour as a base layer enables me to build quite quickly from the third layer of paint with coloured pencils. Using this technique I  can also leave areas without pencil intervention, and these areas can be used to fade areas and make less opaque for background and far away areas. Plus, the base layer of paint gives a solid ground. the paint layers are the mid tones and highlight definition,  The pencil stage is for the  dark low tones, which almost  immediately bring the picture into view and define everything, Its with the pencils that the good stuff happens with development of form and depth of field, and the hill I was talking about earlier suddenly the top is in view and you begin to run, instead of plod.

I have around 80 pencil colours at my disposal, The colours can also be mixed to a degree. I also use various graphite pencils, I use a 6 H for lights work and a 4,and 6 B for the darks and variations of the two for detail. The forth layer then is a building process upon the grounding of the base watercolour. I have started with this particular illustration at the foreground, but this is not always the case, for other pieces. The two characters on the left and right where blocked in as with a few others in the semi foreground. The reason for starting here is two fold, firstly I can gauge the strength of application whilst being wary of how this interacts with the middle and background, all the time gaining a feel of the whole ambiance and the work required to facilitate the whole, in a comprehensive ideal. and secondly, the light source is further defined. and sets the scene for the rest of the picture plane.The light source in this case is coming from the back of the composition. I use this technique of the behind light quite often in my work as it adds to the illusion of depth quite readily. This particular illustration, because of its many characters, and subsequent depth indicators, offers a complex scene to gauge correctly, There are many ways to achieve depth of field, one of the most common, involves, lessening the opaque levels as it recedes, into the background, another way is to lessen, and /or adjust  tonal variations. In this instance, I began with the foreground characters building high opaque colouration to the foremost characters. As you can see some areas are not clear at the moment, and will only become apparent when other areas have been established. its a matter of engaging with the image as a whole , adjusting and rectifying as you proceed. the stage I have shown here is not entirely finished this will not happen until the whole image is near to completion and then a final overview layer is applied, in the last layers I also build further detail into the work. The pencil stage is not without the use of extra watercolour, here and there, again altering the tonality and opaqueness as you proceed.

                                           Stage 1. Beginning of the forth layer Pencil and paint

From now on the illustration is built up piece by piece, I tend to focus on one element/character at a time, building it up until it feels right for the time being, as long as the tonality is just about ready for details, I will go onto another element and build that until that element fits with its surroundings, in tone and colour depth. I work across the illustration in this particular case because of the depth of field, and the multitude of characters.  I need to make sure in this instance, that the foreground, semi foreground, and the mid ground are unified as far as strength of colour is concerned as you will see in the stages after this one, that it starts to look as if there is depth (the illusion) because I have paid attention at this stage to the points outlined above. In the image below you can see that I have now completed to a large degree, the foreground semi foreground and the mid ground. There is only a slight variation in the tonality and depth of colour at this point, I will probably keep reinforcing each as required  as time goes by. I have started adding more detail generally, and have worked up further the foreground characters. The initial colour selection at the beginning of the paint is now becoming apparent as the base tones can be used to build complexity and the design by colour of the illustration, is proving its self. An image works when the structural design and the colouration design knit together and balance the work. The focal point is the boy, and Rob the monster. that's where the structure of the design will be pointing towards, I have done this with pointing fingers and other gestures like the monster on the left waving, the glasses of the foreground monster. (offers another pointing diagonal) the stripy head of  the monster on the right holding up his glass is another design pointer. The flying monsters white bellies offer another visual pointer and the bridge on the left mirrors slightly the monster belly is another design mechanism.there are other smaller indicators as to where the eye will travel and the direction I would like the viewer to visualise the work.The colour design is generally quite logical, where there is a red tone, there is another red tone opposite , or near opposite, which counter balances the composition. The same is true of any other primary or secondary colour. either a single colour on its own or a block of colour across a number of objects, it should all be balanced. At this stage when everything is not yet worked up this design will not be completely apparent, but I give you heads up so you can see where there should be relevant tonality/colour when the work is completed, for the whole illustration design to work

                                                         Stage 2 of the forth layer progression

As you can see,in the image below, I have now begun to work on the middle ground, including the bridge, work on the background buildings and the sky, I have only to work on the flying creatures being the last thing I haven't touched since the last paint layer. To suggest depth I have changed/lessened the tonality to a degree, and worked up some of the colours and detail, I have also worked into the previous work from yesterday, strengthening areas in colouration and detail. The blacks I have used for example, are less dense, as is the general colour, to assist in the illusion of depth (being further away to the eye) I hope you can see better now the colour composition, and how the colours relate to each other to assist in the overall design of the work. You can see the Greens are in a arrow shape bank, with Bob being the tip. The reds are evenly dispersed throughout the image weighing each other up and the picture as a whole, as are the blues, and yellows which  are dispersed so that a colour balance exists throughout the design. The development of the flying creatures will be particularly interesting as they are mostly within 2 pictorial distances, the heads being closer than the the majority of the rest of the body. In particular The head of the flying  monster on the right is almost the same level as the stripy head monster.The flying monster in the centre is mainly in front of Bob and the boy, the boy is looking up at it. The monster figure on the bridge is behind all of them.Once the rest of the work has been worked up , then the next layer is when I look at the whole image and decide which areas require more information and depth, the rest is fine tuning until I believe its finished. I am working in sections on this illustration because of its complexity .When I produce smaller less complex work, I tend to review and work into the image as a whole.

                                                       Stage 3 working towards the rear

The image below is another 6 hours work on this illustration. As you can see, I have now blocked in the majority of the illustration, I have only the monster on the bridge to bring up to the same level as the rest. I have worked further  into the sky and the buildings. reinforced the monsters in the foreground, and begun to develop the flying monsters.I am nearing completion now and will probably finish within another day or so. It is a crowded piece and fairly complicated and so there are a number of problem areas to remedy, mostly to do with readability, and there is a lot more detail to be finalised, along with some colour adjustment, in some areas. I liken it to tuning in a radio, the devil is in the detail, and just the right amount for each element, will dictate  the image as a whole, fine tuning is a funny thing, I mean when is something finished? I guess when it finally works, in my eyes at least, There is a lot to be said for leaving it out of sight for a while, when you think its finished. Then on re evaluation with fresh eyes, issues may present themselves. Its always an agonising process, finishing. I desperately want it to be right. Because There is nothing to compare it to, no reality, its a question of relying upon your experience and knowledge and whether the work fits within the parameters of my initial Idea and my minds visualisation. I mean I wouldn't of even started the work if my initial mind visual didn't work, the actual illustration is the physical product of my imagination.

                                                              Stage 4 further working in.

Below is an image of another 6-8 hours work. The work  is now finished. As you can see, I have further strengthened  all the foreground monsters, inclusive of modifying one of the monsters mouths, I did initially, want a monster with a grumpy closed mouth but on reflection, I needed more detail in that area with a complimentary colour and so I opened his mouth wider. The foreground creatures required further work as did  the background figures and the city in the further background along with the bridge.with some more work on the flying monsters.  To finish off I processed the work digitally, cropping, and adding a white background, and then adding the text I had written down at the beginning of the process enabling me to illustrate part of a story. And that's it..My process.