Children’s book illustration – Working with Licensed Art
You never know what's going to pop up in your inbox. Today it was a request from Nickelodeon to illustrate a Team Umizoomi children's book. I'm generally a 2D guy but with the right type of reference and a little know how I can get by. Putting together illustrations like these was a bit of a challenge. Even though we had to imitate a 3D look, the creative process is basically the same no matter what kind of book it is. It starts with sketches and ends with finished illustration. To build each illustration I had to become familiar with the characters, the sets, their personalities, how they move, the mannerisms they use, and all the other little things the animators masterfully build into the property to bring it to life. That means reviewing each episode over and over again until I'm sure I've got it right. By the time the project is complete, I've probably watched 10 different videos, 50 times or more, but it all pays off in the end when I get to see the printed book sitting on a shelf with my name as the illustrator on the cover. I love working on licensed properties and am always looking for something new. Each one holds a separate challenge and requires a different skill set. My ultimate goal when I work on a project like this is for my work to match the original so closely no one can tell it was illustrated by me. Unlike my other books, the best compliment I can receive when I am working with a licensed property is when someone looks at it and says, "You did that? That doesn't look anything like your work."