Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Here's a timely little post for Halloween!
For anyone interested in having a little sneak peek at my working process, here's a bunch of behind the scenes sketches and notes produced for the 'Halloween Friends' digital book I illustrated for JibJab's line of Storybots - 'Starring You' books, now available on iTunes and the iPhone App Store.

After they sent me the text for the book and briefed me, I started off in a similar way to how I approach storyboarding - doing a quick pass at the whole thing in the form of very rough thumbnails (below). These are really for my own reference, not to show the client. I use this stage to just vomit out the ideas as quick as possible and also to get a sense of the pacing and flow of the book, as well as attempting to develop variation in the shapes and shots (close-ups, wide-shots etc) from page to page.

Working from the thumbnails, I'll then produce slightly more refined sketches and notes which will then be sent to the client for comments/approval/disapproval etc.

Below are two examples of pages where the action/animation would affect the lighting of the scene, so basically the colours on the background and characters would change. This required me to produce 2 variations of each illustration - like a before and after.
Quick note - This particular series of books allow you to personalise the stories so that the main character will have your child's (or your own) face and name. For the purpose of this post I added glasses and a mouth to the main character wearing the ghost costume instead of leaving it blank or having a random child's face.

Below are more sketches from the book. The animation notes were just suggestions and ideas I'd had while sketching. Once I handed over the final art is was then up to the super-talented people at JibJab to work their magic, and infuse it with their own fantastic ideas, giving us the final book as it is now.
Kurt Hartfelder was the animator on this project and did an awesome job!

This page (below) was a lot of fun to do. The character shifts her shape into lots of silly objects. I adjusted the colours of the BGs to emphasize the transformations.

Once I'd done a first pass at the whole book in sketch form, I then did a rough colour script (below) to give myself and the guys at JibJab a sense of the pacing of the colours throughout the story and how they evolve from one page to the next.

...And from there I worked it up to final art!

Big thanks to everyone at JibJab for hiring me to illustrate this project. They did a fantastic job of taking the project to the next stage with animation etc, and I'm very proud to be a part of it! 
Can't wait to work with you all again!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Fresh off the digital presses and onto a tablet near you is 'Halloween Friends'- a shiny, brand new digital children's book I illustrated for the wonderful folk at JibJab. This book is part of their Storybots, 'Starring You' series of books. These books allow you to personalise the stories so that the main character will have your child's (or your own) face and name. Fun stuff!
Rush on over there and get yourself a copy in time for Halloween!!!! Also available at the iPhone App Store and iTunes.

Here's a selection of pages from the book. For the purpose of this post, instead of having a random child's face, I added glasses and a mouth to the main character wearing the ghost costume.