Jacket Illustration for C. R. Mudgeon

I just finished illustrating C. R. MUDGEON (Atheneum 2012), written by Leslie Muir, and I thought that it would be fun to show how the very last illustration was made.

First, due to the small size of the actual artwork, I had to scan and print a much larger version to work from (original sketch is on the right). An added benefit of this, is that all of my mistakes (hopefully) disappear when the painting is shrunk back to 100%.

Then, I cover the back of the print with graphite, transfer the sketch onto a block of water color paper, and get to painting. It's a coloring book at this stage.

I slowly build up the color with at least three layers of paint all around.

When the painting is finished, I use charcoal pencils,
vine charcoal, and blending sticks to outline and shade everything.

*washes hands from all the charcoal*

...and done!


  1. Dear Julian,
    It's very good! You are a great artist. :D LOL.
    From, Leo

  2. Ditto what Leo said--with the addition of ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing your process. I'm always fascinated to see how different artists go about their work. Is this the back of the book?

  3. Aw, thanks, Leo and Leslie!!! :D
    This is for the back of the book - I think that it's going to be very, very small when it's printed.

  4. Fantastic!
    Thank for showing the process- really interesting to see as a "non-illustrator." :)

  5. Wonderful bushy tail. Thanks for taking us through the process. Very helpful.

  6. You're so welcome, Kari and Suzanne!
    I had always wanted to show a step-by-step process, but it's hard remembering to snap photos along the way.

  7. Julian,
    I'm assuming you use some sort of spray fixative at the end?

  8. I avoid fixative at all costs! In my experience, it usually effects the color in a negative way, and still allows the charcoal to smudge by a tiny amount. Instead, I just wrap each piece of art in a non-abrasive archival paper, like glassine. It works pretty well, and there's always photoshop if the artwork smudges during travel.