Illustrating with pencils

Hello!  My second tutorial is about pencils. When I received the text by Karen Owen for the picture book ‘As Quiet As A Mouse’ I imagined the world of Edgar and Ruby in pencil. I love the texture of pencils! I went for a white background plus very colourful characters.


I used Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolour Pencils and a Daler Rowney heavy weight A4 sketchpad. Why watercolour pencils? I love the colour choice and the softness of them. I used them just like normal colour pencils. To illustrate  ‘As Quiet As A Mouse’ I used about 100 pencils!


Step 1: Sketch

I usually do a little thumbnail on paper and then sketch a bigger one in Photoshop. I always like to try different compositions – it’s easy manipulating it in Photoshop. Once I’m happy – I print the page. sketch_illustration_golubeva

Step 2: Pencil drawing

Once printed, I can use the sketch to draw the details for the final illustration. I draw the characters separately from the objects. Also i don’t draw expressions – I will draw them all in Photoshop. It allows me to have more control over the final result – I can easily adjust the expressions and colours.


Step 3: Scan

I scan at 600 dpi in colour.

Step 4: Photoshop

First I put all the scanned images on the canvas approximately in the right place. I adjust the sizes.


Then I use the magic wand tool to select the white paper and cut it out!




I do this with each element and then I arrange them together with the text. I adjust the edges using the eraser and I adjust colour using ‘Brightness and Contrast’, ‘Levels’ and ‘Hue and Saturation’. Because most of the objects and characters are on separate layers, it gives me more control over the final result.


The last and most important step is to draw expressions! I use the Pencil Brush Tool to do it. Then I add shadows and other little details like buttons on Mr Cheddar’s jacket and holes in the cheese. Ta-dah! The spread is ready!


I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions. My previous tutorial about illustrating with ink is here.


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