Kuruz – the illustration process

I’ve been getting a lot of emails recently from people asking about how I develop my illustrations and the process to getting to a final piece. So heres some insight using the Kuruz brief that I had recently as an example.

For me, the most important stage it the thumbnail / concept sketch. This is where you work out your composition, how the illustration is framed in the piece, elements of the drawing, character focus etc. You are simply working out and developing the illustration, you don’t have to focus on the detail, mostly shapes and ideas. This stage is where most of the work / thinking ochres.

My first drawing showed the portrait of the character, the hands on the face, the patterned hair and a symbol above his head. This was the general concept for the illustration.

Kuruz - cover draft 1
After talking to Sonesh (the client). We decided to simplify the hair so it had more verticality and frame the symbol above the characters head. The illustration now has a focus and a direction to follow. I also adjusted the tones so you got a better indication of foreground, middle ground and background. This was to show how different elements would ‘pop’ out and show a different indication of depth.

Kuruz - cover draft 2
The final change was to remove the hands. They were becoming confusing and also covered the symbols and markings on the characters face. Since we wanted to highly the symbolism of the character and showcase he is alien, it was harder to do with so much of his face being covered up.
Kuruz - cover draft 3By working through this process (weather its by yourself or with a client), you can develop the illustration in sketch form and refine the piece. If you compare the final sketch to the final illustration, the composition is the same. The differences from the drawing element are simply that the final has more detail and is neater. The alphabet / scrabble pieces were added after the drawing element was complete, but this was discussed with Sonesh before hand.


I hope this helps for anyone who wanted an inside look into my illustration process and into the development of ideas and composition. I can’t stress how important it is to work out the elements of an illustration before you start the final drawing. I may have a ‘sketchy’ style, but I still have to plan a drawing before I start the final piece.

For those of you who haven’t read the graphic novel Kuruz (which you should), you can find out more on the link bellow.

Kuruz link

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