I get asked this quite a lot (mostly by students) so I thought I’d give a bit of a glimpse behind the scenes of some of my illustrations and how they are eventually conceived.


Like most illustrators, I’ll start out by scrapping out thumbnails (literally tiny sketches the size of thumb nails) for myself of possible ideas and compositions.

I’ll then take two to three of these and work them up into loose drawings to present to the client. This shows them a rough idea on what I envision for the brief whilst not wasting time over rendering something that may be turned down.

The quality varies a lot at this stage depending on the deadline of the project or the number of roughs I need to supply (if a series of illustrations is needed by the end of the week, I can’t spend too long over thinking a single illustration and denying the rest).

Colour values

Sometimes, I’ll produce a colour rough mostly for myself but may let the art director take a peak. This gives a rough indication on how I might apply the colour to achieve a balanced image without investing too much effort.

The size and complexity of an illustration can often dictate whether I need to invest in this stage or if I can just skip straight to the next stage.

Final rendering

I have quite a basic procedure when it comes to the finishing off the illustration. I’ll often lay down my blocks of colour first, and then apply details on top. This ensures I see the illustration developing as a whole rather than in chunks.

I’d love to see/read how other people work so message me your process.