Children's Book Illustrations - 2D / 3D TRADITIONAL AND DIGITAL



Please post your children’s book work!!! We would love to see it, even if it’s in the midst of our challenge! mishmash :slight_smile:

~Post! Post! Post! :slight_smile:



Well, okay then! Thanks for the invite!

I have two images to post, may favorite digital childrens’ illo and my favorite watercolor illo. I’m especially excited about the watercolor, if only because I never thought I’d have the chance to show it on a site like this devoted to CG art. So I’ll start there:

I start with a pencil sketch - or a dozen - and then scan them into Photoshop to tweak, rotate, rescale, scribble on top of, flip, and generally rework 'til I’ve got something that works.

Next I start throwing in color in Photoshop, usually on a lot of different layers so that I can change just one element - for example, maybe the sky - without a lot of work. Eventually I come up with a final palette, which I print out and use for reference in creating the final painting.

I trace the pencil lines onto Fabriano 300lb hot press watercolor paper and go to work from there, using the print-out as a palette guide. Many of my watercolors end up a lot more intense than this one, but I was really happy with the soft and understated feel of this piece. It was done for a contest over at the Society for Childrens Book Writers and Iluustrators site, and came in second place for a contest there on depicting any scene from a zoo, circus or carnival. It took a few weeks of sporadic work, but I couldn’t telly you an exact amount. It was around 7 hours of actual painting, I’d guess. The painting size is 9x13 inches.

Okay, so the second one, this time a digital piece. Thias one was done for a Valentines Day contest for the SCBWI. It took about 3 days total, but I’ve broken down the hours counts below. This time I have many more details on process:

  1. Again, I start with a pencil sketch or ten and bring them into Photoshop to tweak and refine. When I’m done, I print it out and trace onto a sheet of 55lb 11x14-inch Tracing Vellum. I scan that back into Photoshop at 300dpi. This whole step took about 3 hours.

  2. I paint the whole thing in greyscale. ~4 hours

  3. Local color: On all seperate layers, I fill in basic, solid color for every part of the picture. As they’re all on different layers, I can make a lot of changes after I’m done… And I do! What you’re seeing here is the final colors I ended up with, but it took a while to get there. (I’ll explain a bit more on step 5.) Anyhow, this is about 3 hours of work.

  4. I use my greyscale image only to come up with two new layers: One a neutral purple for just shadows, and this layer is set to Multiply. A second layer, a pale yellow, is for the hilights, and is set to Overlay. Here you’re seeing both layers at the same time on a transparent background. ~2 hours.

  5. Now at this point, I have local colors seperate from hilights and shadows, so I can make any changes I want to the colors of the fur, background, trees, foliage, sky, fog, or anything else, and it still could look good. #5 is an example of an entirely different color scheme I arrived at by fooling around with the Hue/Saturation settings (command-U) on all of the layers seperately. I even color-shifted the shadows layer to give the piece cooler shadows. It reads well, but wasn’t warm enough for the Valentines Day theme I was doing, but it’s literally a matter or 5-10 minutes to get a drastically different - and sometimes improved! - color scheme for a painting in progress.

  6. Once I’m happy with the colors - the warm version - I flatten it all into just a few layers - foreground, middle-ground, and back - and really start painting in the detail. This capture was taken when it was about half done, but the whole process is where the love really comes in. ~8 hours.

And here we have the final piece:

Anyhow, if you want to see more finished work, you can check it out on my web site’s Childrens Art page. Thanks for letting me share all of this, Rebecca!



well i see people are sending prewiews…well im allmost over but here my prewiew of granny…but beware, GRANNY KNOWS KUNG FU!


Well, here’s mine. I know I could make this much more presentable, but I kind of like the rough look. Reminds me of a block print. :slight_smile:

Here are a couple of steps I took – his body is sketched out in squares and rectangles because I wanted to focus more than usual on perspective and the volume of the old man’s body. There’s a background layer (green), the outline layer (blue) and the coloring layer is between the other two. I added the cat at the end rubbing against his leg – cats seem drawn to the one person in the room who either hates cats or is allergic to them.

Any and all crits are welcome. :thumbsup:

walrus – Those are amazing! The bears are my new wallpaper. :slight_smile:


amazing work guys!


Yo nebz, nice one:D
That one made me laugh:D
The others are great too.
Great work guys! thumbs up


Whaaahaaa Nebz that rocks :buttrock: :applause:


Did a fast one in about 10 min. Don´t know if i should keep working on this concept or if i should create another…



I think that if you refine this one, it could be pretty darn funny!!! I like the man boobs…Mmm…man boobs… :wink:



I wish I had more time…So busy with other things! Anyway, I’m hoping to have something posted over the weekend!


wip old man higgens.


LOL - years ago I worked as a bartender in a resuraunt. There was one old couple that came in every week - your drawing nails them! (although they were a “cranky couple”)



Thanks Gord! I’ve been to a few restaurants where there’s been old people complaining that their food is too cold. When I thought of an ideal cranky oldman, to me, it had to be someone complaining… who’s never satisfied… something is always wrong lol.

  • Leo


nice illustrations guys!

is that me or what!? hehe great concepts! lovely!

Sick skintones…you just know how to do it right! Rocks!!


hey doods,wasup.
plz be gentle,my first post.
someone told me its too creepy for kids.
it does evoke the right emotions tho.:scream:


I like Ilikesoup’s style, it’s adorable!


If you color this, it will be awesome!! :slight_smile:


I LOVE the new avatar! Tho I really liked the wacky gorilla, too… :slight_smile:


Great to have you here! Yes, some of the work here is wacky (it’s because artists are ALL wacky!) but there are lots of gold nuggets if you just keep digging :).

Hope to see you post your work soon! :slight_smile:



well here she is, cranky and ready to kick butts, granny knows kung fu


excellent nebz!


Nice one nebz, that’s awesome, now…go post some tutorials!:stuck_out_tongue:


NOOB! thanx
Skurai… wow… talk about a one tracked mind…hahahaha:D