Although I can’t prove it, many people say that my illustrations in Chloe and the Lion are the best part of the book. To these people, I say, “Thank you!”
It is wonderful being a Professional Children’s Book Illustrator. I have always admired the blog of Adam Rex (who did most of the illustrations in Chloe and the Lion), where he gives readers a “behind-the-scenes look” at his “creative process.” I’ve wished I could write posts about my “creative process,” but my “creative process” is not visually interesting, because it is just tweaking Word documents and not ironing my pants. But now that I am a Professional Children’s Book Illustrator, I can share my “creative process for drawing a lion.”
MY CREATIVE PROCESS FOR DRAWING A LION
STEP ONE: RESEARCH
This is the step where lots of illustrators look at pictures of lions or go to the zoo. My question for these artists is, “Haven’t you ever seen a lion before?” Luckily, I already know what a lion looks like. (I know what almost all the animals look like!). Also I do not have time to go to the zoo because I have stuff to do, like watching six hours of cable news and writing “IRON PANTS” on my to-do list. So during this step I have a bowl of cereal.
STEP TWO: SKETCHING
This is the part where we illustrators do rough sketches to figure out what the character should look like.
The lion’s head is basically just a circle, because heads are circle-shaped.
Next I put the face on the head. My rule is, “lines for for the different kinds of hair, everything else is half circles.” I particularly like this lion face because it shows the animal being sad and thoughtful, which are both powerful emotions.
The mane is important. It is how you know the lion is a lion, and not a house cat, or a seal.
D. OOPS I FORGOT THE EARS
The lion’s body is a lot like a dog’s body, or any other animal’s body.
STEP THREE: FINISHES
This is the step where you do your “final art.” Usually my sketches are so good that I just decide that I am already finished. Then I put the artwork in an envelope and mail it to Adam Rex.
Then he adds color and puts my art in the book.
TOTAL DRAWING TIME: 23 seconds.
(So why did it take Adam Rex years to illustrate this book?)