In honour of Finn McCool and the Giant’s Causeway, written by Terri Karsten, being released this week I wanted to share a bit of the process behind the illustrations!
Here's a little step by step!
Because Finn McCool is based on old Irish myths, my journey towards illustrating this book began with some good old-fashioned research!
The story of Finn McCool and the Giant’s Causeway is set in Northern Ireland, a place I have yet to visit (it is on my bucket list). Because I’ve never been, I had to rely heavily on images I found through google and social media.
Can we all just admire the beauty for a moment?
Once I got a bit more of a feel for Northern Ireland and the stories of Finn McCool, I began to make character designs for Finn, Benandonner (Finn’s arch-enemy), and Oonagh (Finn’s wife).
Sketching characters takes a decent about of time. Using visual characteristics to show personality traits is a challenge- but one that I find really fun.
Here are a few sketches of the character development process!
Once Terri and I were happy with the characters, I moved on to sketching thumbnails for each spread of the story.
The more ideas I can get out onto paper, the better. Sometimes I’m the only one who understands my thumbnails and I'm not surprised- they're a mess.
I would show you a picture, but it looks like I've deleted them! haha oops.
After explaining myself and making sense of the thumbnails for Terri, I moved on to creating more detailed (but still very rough) sketches of each spread. These sketches help us get a better sense of how the book flows.
Once the rough sketches were approved, I moved on to refining the rough sketches into something a bit more polished.
By this stage of the process I am always itching to add colour- especially when I’m drawing inspiration from the beautiful, rich colours of the Northern Irish coastline.
This is my favourite stage of the process- colouring in all my ideas- bringing everything to life.
Of all the pages in Finn McCool, this one was my favourite to colour. I love a good sunset scene.
Even after all the interior pages are done, the process isn’t over.
The cover design is critical to the book- it has to tell enough of a story to intrigue the viewer and make them want to see more!
I took inspiration from old Celtic books and classic Celtic knotwork for my design.
With the illustrations and cover + any extra spot illustrations for the back cover and title page, the book is ready to be formatted and sent to print!
If you’re interested in ordering your own copy- you can find it on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/McCool-Giants-Causeway-Terri-Karsten/dp/1953444067/ . If you order a copy, please consider leaving a review- it always helps SO much.
I hope you've found it interesting learning a bit more about my process and I hope you absolutely LOVE the book!