Fuzzy Buzzy

I'm so happy to announce that the children's book I illustrated for Misty Baker is now out!  It's an adorable story about a bumblebee named Fuzzy Buzzy who finds a beautiful field of flowers but learns that to help the flowers survive, she must share her new find with all the other bees.

fuzzybuzzycover

You can purchase your own copy of the book (paperback or for Kindle) HERE

p2_final_sm.jpg

I painted the spreads in watercolors, with pen and ink for the lines work.  I really like using sepia ink for my inking, because it's much less harsh than black ink, and gives a warmer, more approachable look to the painting.  In fact, I very rarely use pure black ink in my work.  If I want a cooler look than sepia, I'll mix a 1:1 or 1:3 solution of blue and black inks.  It gives it a cooler, darker tone, but is not nearly as stark as pure black.  I'll write another post soon about what supplies I use and how I mix my colors!

beeflowers

You too can help save the bumblebees!  One easy way to do this is by planting a bee-friendly garden.  Not sure what kinds of flowers bees like this?  Try to stick to native plants and even find new bee-friendly flowers here: http://beekind.bumblebeeconservation.org/finder

And now for some behind the scenes looks!  Have you ever wondered how your favorite children's books come to life?  I'll walk you through the process with one page, where we go from sketch to finished painting.

The first thing I did after reading Misty's initial manuscript was to start sketching.  This is a really fun part of the process because you get to explore lots of different looks and styles for your character(s).  Nothing has to look pretty (and often doesn't), as long as you can get your ideas across.  I'll generally spend a day or two doing nothing but sketch, just trying to get as many ideas as I can down on paper.  You can revise later!  Right now, just get it all down on paper.


The first thing I did after reading Misty's initial manuscript was to start sketching.  This is a really fun part of the process because you get to explore lots of different looks and styles for your character(s).  Nothing has to look pretty (and often doesn't), as long as you can get your ideas across.  I'll generally spend a day or two doing nothing but sketch, just trying to get as many ideas as I can down on paper.  You can revise later!  Right now, just get it all down on paper.

  Since I think primarily in color, I decided to do some watercolor sketches as well.  As you can tell, not all ideas made it into the final book.  The important thing at this stage is just to have fun playing with all the possibilities!

 

Since I think primarily in color, I decided to do some watercolor sketches as well.  As you can tell, not all ideas made it into the final book.  The important thing at this stage is just to have fun playing with all the possibilities!

From there, I began storyboarding the book.  While it might seem intimidating at first, storyboarding is a great way to see the book laid out all together so that you can better control the flow of its illustrations and color palettes.  Once the storyboards have been approved, it's time to start in on the individual pages!  Most of the pages in Fuzzy Buzzy are two-page spreads because I wanted to really give the reader a feeling that they were looking out over a vast field of wildflowers.  Before I ever set brush to paper, though, I created digital comprehensives (or comps) for each page, to get everything laid out and make sure that my values and colors made sense and matched the author's idea of the story.  Also, watercolors are incredibly difficult if not impossible to edit later on, so I needed to be sure that everything looked a-okay before I began!  Then, much sketching, inking, and painting later, we arrive at the final painting.  This painting is then scanned in and cleaned up digitally so that it's ready for formatting!  And there you have it: illustrating children's books in a nutshell.   Want to learn more or have specific questions about the book?  Just send me an email at kakingillustration@gmail.com ! 

From there, I began storyboarding the book.  While it might seem intimidating at first, storyboarding is a great way to see the book laid out all together so that you can better control the flow of its illustrations and color palettes.  Once the storyboards have been approved, it's time to start in on the individual pages!  Most of the pages in Fuzzy Buzzy are two-page spreads because I wanted to really give the reader a feeling that they were looking out over a vast field of wildflowers.  Before I ever set brush to paper, though, I created digital comprehensives (or comps) for each page, to get everything laid out and make sure that my values and colors made sense and matched the author's idea of the story.  Also, watercolors are incredibly difficult if not impossible to edit later on, so I needed to be sure that everything looked a-okay before I began!  Then, much sketching, inking, and painting later, we arrive at the final painting.  This painting is then scanned in and cleaned up digitally so that it's ready for formatting!  And there you have it: illustrating children's books in a nutshell.

 

Want to learn more or have specific questions about the book?  Just send me an email at kakingillustration@gmail.com !