At the end of last Summer, I took an online class taught by Cory Godbey with the Lamp Post Guild. The Class was The Art of Personal Work, and was really pretty great, in spite of a lot of other projects and deadlines I had going on at the same time. As some of you may know, I’m no stranger to doing personal work…Heck, I do it every week here with Watercolor Wednesday and the Life With Girls comic. I wanted to take an opportunity though to work under someone else’s guidance, with a group of people who had the same goal, and learn a bit about my process and see how it could be better.
I started off the project in pretty much the same way that I always do, by working out various ideas in my sketchbook, and thumbnailing the main composition. Making rules for how things work together is also a big part of this phase, because the ultimate plan has always been to do all four seasons, and I want them to be thematically consistent. Normally, I’d move straight from here to a final drawing, but Cory had some more steps…
Scanning the thumbnail into Photoshop, we blew it up to it’s final size, and started adding in the more finished sketches as small pieces. This way, we could explore scale and size relationships, and also make sure that everything did indeed make sense. We also took some time to actually paint over a lot of the sketch exploring tone and placement, and getting a more clear idea of where the illustration was headed. I realize now that this planning stage is important, because we rely less on things just “working out” and it gives a solid base to start from. Now that the planning was complete, I printed it out at the final size (11×17) and took it over to the light table to do the final pencils and inks.
I’ve been following him on his blog and in social media for quite a while, so a lot of what he had to say I’d already heard. There were still several surprises in the working process though, and I feel like my illustration work is much stronger because of it. Cory’s class was a great experience, and I’d recommend it to any one.