Sunday, August 5, 2012

Romeo and Juliet (and process)

Hi everyone!  I wanted to share a new illustration.  And I'm happy to say I can actually post my process for this piece since I remembered to save the steps as I worked! 

I was dying to do some sort of interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.  You all know I'm hooked on romance!  So I grabbed my sketchbook to do some thumbnails and idea sketches.  One of the ideas kind of "stuck" with me so I scanned it, adjusted it and started working with and revising it.  I included a border design because I've been enjoying using decorative and graphic elements in my art lately.

Scan from my sketchbook

Rough redrawing
Final sketch

The final sketch doesn't have all the details drawn into it because I always get impatient doing too much with a final sketch.  I like deciding what the details will be and then just going for it in the final drawing!

I used a light table to trace the final sketch onto a piece of paper from my sketchbook.  I like the feel of the paper and the graphite drawing wasn't going to be final art anyway, so it didn't matter to me if the paper wasn't of great quality.

Graphite drawing

Then I scanned the graphite drawing into Photoshop, adjusted the lines for lightness/darkness and cleaned up the result.  But I didn't clean it up completely!  I wanted some of the qualities of sketchiness and graphite to remain.  I also transformed the angles and sizes of the heads and faces.

Digitally adjusted pencil drawing

From there I researched colorizing black and white photos in Photoshop.  I've never digitally colored a pencil drawing before and I figured the instructions for colorizing photos would translate as well as anything!  I played around with colors, which I think is the absolute best part of coloring digitally.  You can try whatever you want and not ruin your base art.

Color trials in Photoshop

One thing I tried that worked well for this piece was duplicating the line art layer in Photoshop and pasting it on top of the original one, set to "multiply" and at an opacity of 100%.  It really punched up the line art, which I thought was good since the colored graphite lines didn't look strong enough to me with only one line art layer.  The punched-up line drawing supported the color well too without losing any of the details I liked about the drawing. 

Final colors and details were worked out and rosy cheeks were added.  I also created and added a signature, something I hadn't bothered with earlier.

Final art

I'm really happy with how my "Romeo and Juliet" turned out.  It's about time I did a process post, eh?  I hope you enjoyed it.  As always, thanks for visiting!

Added June 6, 2013:  "Romeo and Juliet" is now available as an art print in my Society6 shop here.


  1. It is just amazing and very romantic, indeed. I love the way they are looking at each other. And so wonderful to see your process! I'm in awe.

  2. I love seeing process posts because I get so many ideas about how to in different and possibly more useful ways. This is an inspiring post on two different levels!

    Also, thanks for reminding me that I need to go out and buy myself a light table.

    1. Thanks!

      My light table is really old and small but it does come in handy sometimes. It's not good when I'm using thick paper though!

  3. It's a lovely illustration, with your trademark, a very sure line. The process hints at how the line grows in confidence and certainty...but I love the sketches, too. I am like you in one respect, when I do a final sketch I become very impatient to "get on with it"!

    1. Haha, I'm glad I'm not the only one! Thanks for your visit and the nice comment.

  4. So great to see your process--especially the sketches. I love seeing all the adjustments you made to make this very sweet, romantic illustration. So well done!

  5. Wow...Fascinating process shots, and a gorgeous result! You have such a wonderful feel for a composition. And that scan from your sketchbook is beautiful piece of art, too!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! The drawings on top of other drawings that happened in the sketchbook was an effect I kind of liked. I might have to explore it more sometime.

  6. Thank you for showing the process! It's great to see the image grow and how you make your decisions. The result is gorgeous. It's so detailed! Wonderful linework, and I love what you did with the background too.

  7. You are so amazing! You are so talented! You do such beautiful amazing work!