This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Cartoon illustration in progress

When a cartoon illustration is created professionally, there are two major steps - the sketch, and the final artwork. The sketch is the first thing that the client sees, and it is done in pencil. For this drawing, the sketch was so big that I had to scan it in in sections and then reassemble it in Photoshop. It should be complete enough to give the client a clear idea of what the final artwork will look like, but it should be sketchy enough to not make them feel bad if they need to make changes and corrections. I always write *rough sketch* on it, just to be absolutely clear that this isn't what the final will look like. Yeah, I worry.

I've been doing cartoon illustration professionally since I was 19, and I know that it seems a long wait between the sketch and the final OK. Nowadays, in the world of email, a client can let you know right away if they like it, and what changes they need to make. And remember, this is not the time to argue with the client, this is the time to do what they want. They are paying for it. If they want the dog to be facing the other way, they get the dog facing the other way. Many of these things are much easier for me now that I have Photoshop. Some minor changes can be done directly in Photoshop, and for things that need to be redrawn, all I have to do is to take some tracing paper over the original, draw what's needed, scan that part in, and merge it with the Photoshop file.

I try very, very, hard to get the instructions correct. In my younger days, I took notes at the client meetings, and now I have the luxury of getting an email. Either way, I keep that information in front of me while I am drawing. It's a small trick, but it's very helpful in getting it right. And I double-check everything about ten times before I submit the sketch to the client. Mistakes happen, of course, but it's not the client's responsibility to find your mistakes. Besides, it makes you look careless and clumsy.

One of my earliest cartoon illustration jobs
A few small changes from the client when they see the sketch always makes me feel better. If they are too quick to OK it, chances are that they haven't really taken the time to confirm that it's what they really want. Changes on a sketch are fairly easy, changes on the final artwork aren't so easy. Although I will do changes on final artwork (I think of it as *warranty* work) if the client and I are working together in good faith, and we always are.

I love doing this kind'a stuff!