I always begin with a bit of paper and a lead pencil. I read the brief, or story and usually have images in my head immediately. I sketch really messy thumbnails, then when I like the way it’s looking, sketch in more detail at actual size. I may play with character designs, to get them looking just right. I often need to research for reference images like a removals van, or a bus, I use the internet as I live in a remote town where the library is quite small. I can easily spend huge amounts of time wandering off into cyber space so I have to be very careful not to forget what I’m looking for.
Depending on the commission, I either use digital or hand drawn illustration methods. When going digital, I use my wacom tablet. It’s like a big drawing board, with a pen, and it draws straight onto my computer screen (I’m saving up for a Cintiq, just draw straight onto screen like a real drawing pad). I generally use Adobe Illustrator. Then I colour, shade, add patterns, sometimes backgrounds to the illustrations.
Hand drawn work is usually washed out Windsor and Newton inks as a base, then drawn over the top with pastel pencils. I love the immediacy of pastels, I can achieve some lovely bright colours this way.
I always have a deadline to meet, so I’ve found both these methods suit me well, and it doesn’t take as long as coloured pencils. I do like these too, but they take soooooo long!