What part of the process of creating, "Raucous Royals" did you enjoy the most?
The research. I love to read and uncover facts and truths about famous people and I enjoy the challenge of making history irresistibly fun for kids. I hated history as a kid, so I always channel the memory of not wanting to go to history class into every book.
Your illustrations are so beautiful and unique. I also find your style to be very elaborate. Do you mind sharing with us a little about your illustration process? Can you describe what happens after you have your final sketch down and you are ready to work on color? How long does it take you to work on a single page illustration?
This subject matter required me to be very detailed because I was portraying royalty and all their costumes, furniture and jewelry were so darn elaborate! I am usually very messy with sketches. I make a rough sketch to get the placement of the characters, their expressions, the main action and a rough idea of how the type will flow around the art. I will often make a sketch and then change it completely to fit the flow of the text or completely change the text based on the feel of the illustration. Once I have a rough completed, it takes me 3-4 days to paint it in. I “dress” the figures at this point by creating patterns and textures and wrapping it to the clothing. I work digitally using mostly Corel Painter with a little Illustrator and Photoshop. I like the freedom of working digitally because it allows me try on different patterns and colors.
My advice for illustrating is to keep a visual library going at all times. You never know when you are going to get that assignment to paint some revolutionary war scene or Egyptian tomb and need the details to recreate that piece of history. I keep a fat binder of different historical costumes, foods, toys, furniture, objects and basic ephemera. It contains first hand accounts and descriptions of people too (Samuel Pepys diary is a treasure trove of info!). I think it helps to be prepared for assignments before you get them because you may not have the time for detailed research.
See you tomorrow for the end of the interview.
True or false. Did Anne Boleyn have 6 fingers?
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