In this piece I combined thin elegant script lettering with loose drawings of oranges, leaves and blossoms to create a rich background tapestry of leaves and fruit and to accompany the text.
I usually start with a pencil sketch that I refine over multiple versions to get a rather tight drawing, especially for the lettering parts. I first tried lettering the text with a Uniball pen, but decided to do it again with a steel nib to get smoother and overall more harmonious curves. I used a Brause Rose for this because it has a great amount of flexibility, and a rather thick hairline. I wanted elegant thin lettering, but the thin parts of the letters still visible. Sumi or India ink works great for this type of work, you don’t want anything that gives you very thin hairlines because this will create problems when going digital.
For the illustration parts, I often use colored pencils. These are very soft and give a nice texture that shows up nicely in the scan later.
I work on most if not all my images with Photoshop after I scan them, to add additional drawn elements, color, and texture. This analogue process is only the first half of the artwork creation.
It is possible to work in color from the start and just scan your image at the end, but color correction is more difficult this way – sometimes colors end up dull, or too garish, and this is not the effect I’m going for. So usually I leave coloring for the digital process.
Usually I decide a color palette before I start or draw a sample on paper before I add color digitally. It really helps to make decisions beforehand about contrasting colors and what kind of vibe you want for your illustration.
For a more sketchy look this could of course be done entirely with colored pencils, or with fluid mediums like gouache or watercolor. Right now I enjoy like the crisp, high-contrast look of digitally colored illustrations.
Here is the video of my process at the computer (3x speed so that you don’t fall asleep):
This is the finished piece: