Adding Color

I try to figure out what colors I am going to use before I start to color the final illustration because coloring can take quite a long time. A large illustration like this can take 8 hours or more. If I start to use a new color  after I have been working several hours on an illustration and it doesn't look good, it is....  not an occasion to celebrate.

So, I scanned the illustration outline, reduced its size, and printed out several copies. Then, I tried coloring them in (left).

I did not worry about making the coloring neat. (the picture makes that sort of obvious.) I was just trying out colors at this point. If I ever have any questions about how something should be shaded, etc., this step is the time to figure it out.


Once I had decided what colors to use, I started coloring the actual illustration. First, I traced the outline onto a clean sheet of heavy paper using the same colors that I was going to color each object, and tracing lightly so that my lines wouldn't show later. I have a sample of this step on the right. For this example, I traced the outline much darker than usual so that it would be visible

Next, I start filling the outlined shapes with color. As I work, I like to keep track of what colors I use. On the left is the paper where I kept track of the colors for this illustration. Yes, they are always that messy. (sometimes worse!) Having a record of the colors I use comes in handy if I want to make changes to the picture later, or if an object is in more than one illustration in the book (like the moose) and I want to use the same colors every time I color it.

Usually, I start with the part of an illustration that I think I am most likely to make a mistake on. That way, if I do make a mistake and have to start over, I won't have to re-do so much coloring.
Moose Illustration


It is important to keep my hands very clean as I work. It can be easy to get  little bits of pencil lead or ink on my hand and then touch the picture. To keep that from happening,
I have to pause  my coloring occasionally and wash my hands, especially after using a pen or sharpening pencils. I also place a clean sheet of paper under my hand to protect the picture as I draw.

On the lower right is the finished illustration.
When I finish coloring, I e-mail a scan of the illustration to the author. If she likes it, I am finished. If not, I get more coloring experience.


On the lower left is the finished illustration with the words in the final printing layout.



1- Introduction      2- Character Sketches      3- Planning the Illustration      4- Adding Color