Ink About It

I was asked to create an illustration for the new Art with Heart publication, 'Ink ABout It', which is a black and white, therapeutic activity book designed to meet the emotional needs of high-risk teens. It's a book that kids can use to work through their thoughts and emotions with creative self expression. Each page is designed for a specific activity and over 20 illustrators and designers participated in this pro-bono project.

The spread assigned to me was to create a page where kids can write down and keep track of goals and stuff to remember. It needed to appeal to both boys and girls and be funky, fun and engaging. I thought it would be interesting to show my process on how I created my illustration so below you'll see how it evolves from a rough sketch to a finished illustration.

Step 1: I brainstormed on imagery and sent the art director three rough sketches to choose from. She really liked this one which was also my favorite. I came up with the hand idea because I remember always writing things I didn't want to forget on my hands when I was a kid. Then I starting thinking about fortune telling imagery, palm reading and also henna (Mehndi) patterns and I thought those things would be fun to incorporate into an illustration.


Step 2: This is the revised sketch I sent to the art director before I started actually building the illustration. Her feedback was to not let it get too feminine since it needed to appeal to both boys and girls.


Step 3: This is the illustration being executed. I initially thought I would do it in Adobe Illustrator and use custom brushes to keep it from being too perfect, but I decided to just do it by hand instead. Using a light table I traced over the second sketch with Sharpie pens onto paper towels which give it a neat quality and allows the ink to bleed and have cool textures.


Step 4: This is the final illustration after taking it into Adobe Photshop, cleaning it up ALOT, swapping out sections I didn't like and then dropping the image into Illustrator to add the text. At one point I had a light gray background that got nixed because it would interfere with the kids' ability to color on it. (This is how it will look in the book.)


Step 5: Because I love color and couldn't stand to just leave it black and white I created my own colored version. It's always fun to figure out new color combinations. :)

I look forward to seeing the final book, I know it will be awesome and help a lot of kids! Be sure to check out Art with Heart's website to learn more about the great work they do!