Dinosaur Construction Kit: T.Rex – Illustration Process

Around 12 months ago I was contacted by the lovely people at Egmont to see if I’d be interested in illustrating a dinosaur book they were developing – illustrating dinosaurs, er, yes please!

As the book is now out (released last month), I thought it would be a good time to share a little on the process of creating the artwork for the book.

The Cover:

After receiving the script for the book, the first thing I was asked to work on was the design/look and feel for the cover. After researching what would be our competition on the book shelves, I had a clear idea in my head of what I thought might create a strong brand for the book series (this is where my background as a graphic designer comes in handy).

Rather than working on numerous ideas, I thought it would be more efficient to run this initial idea by the art director first – luckily they loved it.

Below is the initial sketch and the finished cover (if you look closely at the finished cover, you can see a sneak peek of the cover for book two too).

T-rex-cover-sketch

TRex_Cover

Spread Roughs

The next step was to take the script (and notes from my Art Director) and draw up some quick rough sketches for the 9 spreads.

T-Rex-process-1

Based on feedback, these were then amended and drawn up a little tighter.

T-Rex-process-2

Once approved, I added some quick Photoshop colour behind my sketches for final approval, then we were ready to jump in to the final artwork.

T-Rex-process-3

Final Artwork

Here are the first three finished spreads from the book – you can see that even once the roughs have been signed off, slight tweaks like the sky colour and other elements of the layout still sometimes need to change as the book evolves.

Sometimes major changes may be needed and if you have a great Art Director (which I did on this book in Faith Booker from Egmont), you have to trust that they know what they’re talking about. Every suggestion that Faith made, resulted in stronger spreads and eventually a stronger book.

Trex-PAGE-2-3

Trex-PAGE-4-5

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T-Rex Model

Paper engineers blow my mind. I’m so in awe of what they do and the model that comes with this book was no exception.

Following the cover, the model was the next phase of this project and illustrating a flat surface that will be folded to create a 3D object is always a tricky thing, requiring such a different mind-set (because you aren’t creating the edges of your artwork and every edge needs to include bleed – which can look a little weird when you’re working on it). Luckily, having already designed the look of our T-Rex on the cover, the process of Illustrating all of the parts of the model ran more smoothly.

As challenging as this part is, it’s equally rewarding to see the final model dressed in your illustrations – my kids loved this part too as they got to play with models prior to publication.

jonathan-woodward-studio-T-Rex-HEAD-&-BACK

Couldn’t resist sharing this photo – my little boy Samson (age 2), particularly got in to the spirit of things when posing with his model 🙂

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This book is part of a series and I’m happy to say that book 2, with the mighty Triceratops as its star, has already been Illustrated and is with the publisher preparing to bulldoze its way on to the bookshelves sometime next year.

Here’s a sneak peak at the star of the show…

jonathan-woodward-studio-triceratops-cover

It was such a joy to work on these books with Egmont from start to finish and enabled me to tick a box on my illustration wish list. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Illustrating dinosaurs!

I’m also thrilled to say that our T-Rex book made it in to the shortlist for the Junior Design Awards ‘Innovative Children’s Book Of The Year’ too!

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