Friday, January 31, 2014

What goes into a book?


In 2013 I wrote my second book: Fantasy Fashion Art Studio (which you can get at my website, etsy, and many book stores. When you take a project like this it seems both daunting and simple at the same time. You don't realize that it will take so much more time and work than anticipated, doubly so if you are perfectionist. Fantasy Fashion Art Studio covers the costume design information that my first book didn't have room for, as well as basic watercolor techniques, background painting and demonstrations of 12 full page paintings.

I started with an outline and a copy of the page layout so I could determine what information would be on each page and the number of images. The number of images is of course guessing at this point because I drew much more than I needed.

Book layout

Once I know what goes roughly where in the book I did sketches for the different topics. These include anatomy diagrams, lots of costume and hair details, wings, background elements and patterns. Many drawings were made with blue pencil so I can further refine with graphite on top.

Book sketch

On to the finished drawings. Finished drawings (or sketches as they were supposed be, but I didn't think my sketches were nice enough to publish and needed to be redrawn) were refined with a fine point mechanical pencil over the blue sketches or by using a light box. A few of them are then inked as well.

Book drawings

Even though now I had all these drawings, I though many just weren't finished yet, because, I'm a detail nut. So many many of them are painted over in watercolor. Some of them show watercolor techniques and color theory and others are painted just because it's prettier.

Book paintedpapers

Planning out the full page paintings - First I start with many small sketches on each theme until I came up with an idea I like. These were scanned, and then sketched over digitally in many layers. I would use one layer for the figure, and more for background and different bits of clothing.

Book digitalsketch

Then before painting I added some digital color to the sketch to help plan out the colors. Unfortunately, since I'm writing a painting demonstration I cannot just choose random colors while painting and need to plan what order they go in or it becomes too complicated for readers to follow the color mixes.


Then drawings are transferred to watercolor paper using my light box. The finished drawings are much more detailed than the sketches which just block out the main shapes. I use a dip pen to ink outline the drawings and and then the finished watercolor paintings are done in 10-14 steps.

Book paintings

Here is a pile of all the paintings and drawings.

Book everything2

For a 128 page book all this adds up to:
many pages of notes
234 typed pages of text
58 pages of preliminary sketches
34+ pages of finished drawings and inks equalling 346 individual little drawings
36 pages of drawings with small watercolor paintings equalling 198 tiny paintings
13+ pages of color swatches, color mixing and watercolor technique illustrations
15 digital pencil and sketches for large paintings
15 digital color mockups
15 full color paintings including the cover
1 large background texture painting

The book sure looks small next to all the art!

Book pile1


Carmen Medlin said...

What an enormous amount of work!! This must have taken quite a long time. It's all beautiful, though! :)

Tanya McAlexander said...

I Love this book....your books are great....I know I have at least one...I must find the other one now...because I am a huge fan, and I want to see what I am missing LOL <3 thank you for all the amazing work you have put into these books...that are amazing tools to learn from as well as very pretty to look at.

Jennifer said...

Wow, Meredith! I agree with Carmen, that is a LOT of work and I know that you probably handled it beautifully! Congrats on the new book ♥

Nadja said...

Wow, this is stunning and amazing! All the work and beautiful art work. Congratulations to your book!

Krystal Barton said...

That is a ton of work!!! Congrats on the book and this one is just amazing. I can't wait to see what you do next. ^_^

Meredith said...

@ Carmen It sure is!

April said...

That is an impressive stack of art and work that goes into a single book! How long did it take from start to finish?

Meredith said...

@April - I'm not totally sure but I think 7-9 months I think. There was a lot of waiting for the color design to approved (lots of meeting apparently)