My Illustration Process for Scenes 1-3 of Sands of Time

These three images are my most recent contribution to my book Sands of Time which I started around Christmas when I got stuck on my Jesterphant story. For this one I have been sure to write it all first before illustrating. As much as I will admit that the process of illustration and doodling aids the writing process for me, it was wasteful to fully illustrate the Jesterphant before writing. With Sands of Time I have been pacing myself for the most part. Drawing the scenes rather than painting them until this point.

I am now 180 pages into my sketchbook which was started February 6th, my first initial sketches and manuscript were transferred to it. This is the 4th sketchbook that I have created like this. this style of art Journaling is essential to my process and it is referred to as an IW (investigation workbook) which I learned to do from the international Baccalaureate program for art. Sadly my 3rd sketchbook was near completion and stolen in college. For that reason I took a long break from art altogether. My spirit was broken because I pour everything I have got into these sketchbooks. It wasn’t until I started teaching art classes locally, and teaching my students to create IW’s of their own that I started this one and got back into the rhythm of documenting my process and creating art daily again.


If you have been keeping up with my blog, you have seen this initial drawing of the first scene in Sands of time, created simply with graphite.

I did not want to ruin my drawing, and the paper I was working with was smaller than this, so I redrew it smaller on the new paper which I first treated with toned linseed oil. This caused the graphite to come out darker and crisper. Using water color paper causes the oil to absorb into the paper so that it feels dry to the touch, but always acts wet on application. As discussed in previous posts, caution is warranted here. Too much and you have a gummy surface and a fire hazard. Also linseed oil boils on oxidation, so moderation is key to this technique.


I have been experimenting with many mediums trying to find my personal artistic style. Below is my attempt to achieve the dreamy look that I love using tempura-a medium brought back from the grave since the guache hype on Instagram. Guache essentially is high grade tempura, once thought of as childrens paint- it has been redesigned and packaged for illustrators. Turns out tempura does have many qualities that make it desirable sharing the best of both world between acrylic and water color.

Unlike water color it is forgiving, but can be diluted like water color, and unlike acrylic, it can be reworked once dried. However it has a chalky finish that to some make it a childlike medium. I tend to prefer it over the sheen of acrylic. Like acrylic it too can be layered. The chalkiness of it also makes tempura a prime candidate for mixed media projects, or pastel painting.

However for this particular book, tempura was not working for me. You are about to see the four different styles where I depicted the same scene. (Reimagined each time). It took me a while to figure out the composition.



water color

Oil: above is where I redrew the scene on linseed treated water color paper with graphite before adding oil color, so your looking at the before and after. It isn’t my favorite composition, but it is certainly my favorite depiction of the characters which has been the hardest part so far. I have been educated in many art mediums from drawing and painting to metal working and glass arts. However I have never been educated in character creation or illustration, so I am completely self taught here. I am studying, documenting and praying that I can do this. Write and illustrate a beloved childrens story.


It seems that with each graphite drawing my skill improved quite rapidly after getting back in the rhythm. Drawing and painting however have two different mindsets. I tend to get nervous about adding color. I love this drawing so much that I was scared to even add more contrast. So I left it and redrew it like the others on the linseed treated paper. If you look at the knees you can see how erasing over linseed is pointless.

My step father is the only person in my life who has given me the real honest feedback I need concerning my art because his feedback was truly constructive. He said something to me once as a teenager starting out that stuck with me, because he was right. Adding color can be destructive to art because if you add to much color it looks like a paint by number. I think at the time he was referring to tacky tattoos, but it seriously does apply. So I have been hesitant to add too many colors.

In order to avoid this I have been studying the illustrations that I love most. They are usually vintage and tend to use two colors aside from the black ink (usually from a press) and yellow toned book paper. The two colors that I seemed most drawn to in illustration are red and green. So for these illustrations, I made the choice to follow those examples.

As you can see I did not think about this in scene 1, it wasn’t until scenes 2 and 3 that I chose to simplify to red and green. Scene 1 needs a rework anyway because I messed up the figures when I redrew it.

Thanks for reading! Please comment with your feedback. It really does feed my work and give me the push and momentum that I need to keep going when I feel like giving up.

For more from the sketchbook, tips, tricks, medium experiments, and more please subscribe by email or follow me on the wordpress reader. Don’t forget to like this post so more people can see it.


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