sketches...




Rebecca asked about sketches, and I've just taken a break from working, working, working on polished roughs, so I'm going to stick is some examples I pulled up a couple days ago of sketches for the picturebook art I finished up in December. I think this question of sketches is a good one, because I've found that different people "read" sketches differently. So the big issue is: do your sketches tell what they need to? In my experience, the rougher the sketches, the more the person viewing them won't know what's in your mind. But, that doesn't mean that any and all sketches need to be polished. I think that a bit of written explanation to go along with sketches (OK, maybe not just a bit, but sometimes some significant detail) can go a long way to helping the viewer understand what you are doing. In these examples here, the first ones are really rough - and when I sent them in, I explained that what I wanted them to see what a basic concept for page layout - the whole idea of boxes within boxes. Did it scribbled out, and small - a spread being half a 8.5x11 sheet. Sent the whole book mocked up that way, and it was fine for the designer and editor to see what I wanted to do, and give a go-ahead for more detail.
Then, before I do finishes, I do pretty detailed pencil roughs. In these ones I need to get my critters and plants and other things accurate. These roughs allow me to do that, and also to make whatever visual notes (shapes, values, etc) I'll want for myself when I do the finishes. This works for me, because most of what I do needs pretty significant accuracy, since a lot of it is sort of "natural science" stuff. But I must admit, there's a side of me that would like to just jump in and not be quite so careful...
But, still, I think the bottom line, with sketches, is to have some sort of written or oral communication that goes along with them, to give them some context... even if you are pretty sure that the viewer already "gets it". Still, explain....

6 comments:

June said...

Great examples to show Consie, and good reasoning behind the practicalities.
I work in a similar way, and even have smaller, sketchy thumbnails just for my own use on a storyboard spread!
Like you, my final pencils are tighter, as then I find it easier to go to finished art, knowing all the potential problems have been dealt with at pencil stage.

Thanks for posting, I am too rushed to share images myself just now.

June

Liza Woodruff said...

Nice sketches, Consie. Seeing the difference between the roughs and the tighter sketches makes me wonder if you have to re-submit your tight sketches for approval. I'm sure the finished product is beautiful!

Consie said...

Liza: Yes, I did submit the polished sketches. Actually, I also submitted an in-between stage, too (not shown). The really rough ones you see here were what I sent in before submitting the "rough sketches" that were required by a certain date (and after which I got part of my advance); I sent those in to make sure that they were OK with this "boxed" format I wanted to use before I spent time doing initial roughs. They were really fast and dirty and probably took me less than half an hour to do, total. This is all in keeping with my feeling that I want the AD/editor to understand what my sketches mean, with no questions lingering, if at all possible. Also, I didn't "have" to submit those polished sketches (as outlined in my contract) but I did anyway, so that they would know the kind of detail I was aiming for, and also so that they'd have a jump start on knowing exactly how I wanted the layout to be. I know that the designer (this is at a small publisher) really appreciated these extra steps, because she told me so, and also copied me on notes to the editor. I didn't do any extra sketching, just for them - it was stuff I would have done for myself anyhow.

Breadwig said...

Very cool to see these, awesome! I'd like to see them even bigger!

rebecca said...

Thanks for your great description (in words AND pictures) of your sketch process, Consie! That was really helpful. (Your sketches are terrific, by the way -- I just LOVE looking at people's sketches.) I especially appreciated your noting how important it is to "explain" what you intend -- and that you can do this explaining with words as well as with your sketches.

Consie said...

I'd really like to see somebody else's sketches... I love to see sketches too. You can't convince me that there aren't lots of other rough sketches out there... C'mon, somebody else!