Understanding the Digital Illustration Process – Part 2 – Sketching

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The best illustrations are created by first taking an idea and refining it through the process of sketching. By experimenting with variations of the concept the artist becomes more familiar with the subject they are drawing and therefore opens up more opportunities for further creative development.

When designing an illustrated mascot for example, sketches are used to determine the appropriate proportions for the character, posing, facial expressions, and allows the artist to experiment with different identifying features (in the case of humanoid mascots: hair styles, body shapes, clothing, accessories, etc…). When sketching, it’s important to note that the character can begin to take on a life of its own. Sketching is generally a very fluid process and therefore influences are often pulled from the artist’s imagination, photographic reference, and real life subjects. It’s not uncommon for the initial idea to transform and evolve as the artist builds upon and refines the concept.

Once the idea has been fully fleshed out, it’s time to finalize the sketch. By tightening up the line work of a sketch and clearly identifying the boundaries of the objects and shapes that make up the character, the artist prepares the drawing to be used as the basis for the finished piece.

-Kyle Dawney, Graphic + Web Designer / Illustrator