Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Creating the Illustration for the SCBWI Michigan 2023 Conference - Part 1: Brainstorming

In support of aspiring illustrators in SCBWI and everywhere, I wanted to share my process for this fun illustration project for the SCBWI Michigan 2023 conference.  The conference theme was “Digging Deeper: Unearthing Your Literary Treasures.”

There were two size formats:

  • 1080 x 1080 px
  • 980 x 200 px

(I was later allowed to make one at 980 x 500 px as well.)

The illustration needed to allow room for text about the conference and the SCBWI logo.

My first step was to brainstorm off the theme, which was a visually rich one.  I listed words and made quick sketches, based on the words, digging and treasures.  But I couldn’t forget the two adjectives linked to them: deeper and literary.

As you can see from the pictures, I dug into range of sources from gold mines of the American West to dwarf mines of Middle Earth, and Poldark’s copper mines of Cornwall, England.

This is usually the fun part of an editorial illustration for me.  I let words and images flow as quickly as I can get them down.  As the project progresses new ideas pop up.  So, brainstorming doesn't really stop.  If I get stuck on a subject, I will consult a thesaurus for related words, browse my personal book collection, or search the internet.  Or I might just need to a rest to let it marinate in the back of my mind, while doing other things.

In part 2 I will show how I developed this ideas into three rough layouts for my initial submission.

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