Behind the Scenes; Hello, Australia! Illustrations

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Popping in today with a quick process look for you at making Hello, Australia!, my new book out this October. I love looking back on my original illustrations and seeing them come to life in colour in the pages of the book. It's so fun to see them side by side, even if I do occasionally spot some small errors or things I might have changed if I'd noticed them sooner! ;)

All of the double spreads in my books are illustrated on one giant sheet, usually an A2 page that I've cut down slightly to allow for the text that runs along the top of the pages. Working on an A2 page gives my plenty of room to include lots of small details, such as the dots of sand, the spikes of an echidna, or the petals of a waratah. I work with a fine black pen and draw the whole page in one go, each illustration often taking around 4-5 hours to complete the line work.
Before I start sketching and inking, I've usually developed a good grasp of the colours that will be used in each spread, which are a selection of 8-10 colours from my original palette of 16(ish). Keeping this in mind means that I work ahead for drawing each component, so that nothing that is the same colour will be touching (like 2 Tasmanian devils sitting next to each other) and so that I can balance the colours throughout the spread (like having one Tasmanian devil on each side of the page so that the dark colours don't make the pages feel too heavy).

Once I've finished all the inking for the illustrations, I have them scanned in one sheet and then I start digitally colouring. This is another multi-step process in itself and takes another 5-6 hours to complete. The last tweaks are made, it's put into the book file, and then the text design is added on top — and then before you know it, we've got a finished book!

It's still a little while until the book is officially published and for sale in Australia, but pre-orders are available from Booktopia in Australia and the Book Depository for anyone shopping from overseas. 

Megan McKeanComment