Illustration process

Craft & Design
Illustration process

Dan is an illustrator, and shares some information on how he creates his images in a few posts on his blog:


These pencil sketches mark the initial step for all my illustrations where text and concept are distilled into a visual expression.


Once I settle on sketches I think work the pencil roughs are scanned from my sketchbook and cleaned up, and ‘tweaked’ to fit the client’s specifications and my idea of what the illustration should communicate. I’ll then attach the jpeg image and email it to my client for their review and feedback.


After discussing the sketch with the client I complete any required revision of the sketch and working directly from the approved sketch I render the line work onto 140lb Arches Hot Pressed watercolor paper using Higgins waterproof drawing ink and a Hunt 101 Imperial pen nib. Once the line work is dry I paint over it with Winsor Newton watercolors. Absent any specific requests from the client I generally allow the mood of the narrative to dictate the color pallet.

What’s your process for completing and delivering creative products?

8 thoughts on “Illustration process

  1. tudza says:

    Nowhere does this article say “Scan into Photoshop….”


    1. Daniel Vasconcellos says:

      and cut, paste, and basically mess around with the composition, etc. Then file is sent to client via email. Didn’t intend to mislead in any way as this copy was taken from my blog where I listed a very basic description of my working process. Feel free to direct any questions about my work or process to me at

      Thanks for sharing this Chris.


      1. Chris Connors says:

        Agreed that Dan didn’t say what software he uses in the original quotes. From my perspective, it is more important what the software does than who makes it. Personally, I haven’t used PS in years. There is no way that I am going to pay hundreds of dollars for a photo editing package and I am not the type to use pirated software.

        Occasionally I use paint on windows, but for moderately complex stuff and on Ubuntu it is Gimp all the way. is great photo editing software and can handle everything I have needed it for. Gimp is legitimately free, and open source. Layers, brightness/contrast, threshold, image sizing, cropping, and way more than I have had time to explore. Worth the time to download and try it. Guilt free, too.

  2. carboncanyon says:

    I do think he uses Photoshop a bit: “…the pencil roughs are scanned from my sketchbook…”

    Still very impressive.

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