Some wonderful blog readers have pointed out that my "process" photos don't really show much of my actual drawing process. Part of that is because the bulk of illustration problem-solving occurs before the final drawing starts. There are lots of early considerations in a science illustration including: pose, dimensions, accuracy, details, colors, lighting, and whether or not the illustration is best telling the story. Sometimes I get to problem-solve on my own, and often I get to collaborate with my clients on issues as they come up. These are some of my favorite parts of science illustration for publication and I like highlighting them on my blog!
Another reason I rarely show the actual stages of drawing is because I get so into the final rendering that I forget to stop and document the process as I go:) So with my Olympic Marmot illustration for Washington Trails Magazine, I tried to stop and remind myself to take a couple true "process" shots. This was the final piece in the 2014 summer nature series. Thanks to Eli Boschetto for being part of my illustration problem-solving process and catching all the little (or not so little) mistakes along the way!
1. The assignment was to illustration the Olympic Marmot in its natural habitat of the Olympic mountains showing some lovely peaks in the background and summer foliage in the foreground. I decided to draw an adult with its baby and included lupine and glacier lilies in my draft. The feedback I got was that while "adorable" the marmots were not quite the right species. Oops! Caught. I had used poses of a different species for reference and while trying to adapt them to Olympic Marmots had not quite succeeded.
2. Thanks to my editor's sharp eye, I spent a few days immersing myself in photos of Olympic Marmots and sketched them in many different poses to get a feel for their species. Defining features include their smaller eyes and ears, and broader face shape. Ideally, I would have hiked out to the Olympic Mountains and just sketched them from life!
3. Once I was happy with my final pose, I drew it on tracing paper and as usual transferred it onto fancy bristol stock for the final rendering. Here you can see part of the trace, the transfer, and some early shading.
4. Next I focused on the foreground, specifically flowers. The color in the next two photos is a little over-saturated.
5. A little farther along in the foreground foliage...
6. Then I got totally immersed in the drawing and podcast I was listening to and forgot about taking process shots of all the tedious hours of fur-work. So here it is a bit farther along!
7. Finally, I painted a separate background layer for the final image, digitally combined them, and here it is all laid-out in the article.
Web & Moss Studio
The science illustration studio of Lindsay Holladay