Work in progress image of whimsical city in a terrarium.

My creative process

After rediscovering my love of drawing it took me about five years of experimentation before I settled on a creative process that works for me, my style, and how I want to create. I had an illustrator (who I look up to) tell me I needed to concentrate on one medium - either traditional or digital and I did try for at least a year just to focus on digital art but eventually found my way back to sketching and watercolour and now my process combines both.

  • I start with a sketch using my trusty 2B pencil and my visual diary. 
  • I then scan the sketch - settings usually 600dpi and scale at 200%. I save it as a tiff.
  • I open the sketch in Adobe photoshop and clean it up. I remove any dust, erase marks from the scanner, or add details that I missed.

For instance in the cityscape illustration below I didn't finish sketching the windows in one of the buildings, so I copied the windows from one building and placed them where needed.

Once the sketch is ready I print it out onto A4 watercolour paper, using my Epson printer. The printer ink is waterproof so doesn't run when I start painting.

Painting the base layers

  • I paint all the base layers using a mixture of watercolour pencils, watercolour pans and tubes. This process can take up to several days until I reach a point where I want to finish it in photoshop.

Base layers

  • I scan it once again. Same settings as before. This means that I can scale it to A3 size without losing quality.
  • Once in photoshop I add layers, shadows, and highlights using photoshop brushes. I use a mixture of Kyle T Webster's, other brushes I have purchased, and free ones I have downloaded from various courses I have completed.

 Photoshop brushes

 It takes me up to a week or even two weeks to finish an illustration. But I love each step of my process and as the saying goes it's not about the destination but the journey.

I hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of my process. Until next time take care.