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Finn McCool is OUT NOW!

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.

Rough Sketches

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.

Refined Sketches

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.


Finally- colour!

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.

Cover Design

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.

Wrapping Up

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: . 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!





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