Thursday, August 8, 2013

Making of Ike's Incredible Ink

Ike's Incredible Ink, is a book! A real live book! In book stores! and the internet!

I'm pretty darn excited. I'm excited that Candlewick let me make something that I had a blast making. And I'm excited that they did such a lovely job printing it. And editing it, and designing it, and marketing it. They are just great.

It started with a manuscript, lots of loose sketches, and research (click to enlarge images).

Then on to thumbnails. Here are two alternate thumbnails for one page.
From there the manuscript and sketch dummy went to my amazing editor, Liz Bicknell; art director, Ann Stott; and designer, Heather McGee. They came back with lots of suggestions for both the text and images. From there I moved on to tighter sketches.

After these were approved, it was time to ink. The art for this book was created using a combination of traditional and digital techniques. I compiled a "library" of ink blots and bits of colorful paper that included everything from Japanese printmaking paper to vintage graph paper to dry-cleaning tags. These were scanned and digitally collaged onto the line work, which I inked by hand. Then I chose an ink blot for Ike's body that I thought matched his mood or his motion across the page. For the larger, more elaborate spreads the ink work looked like this.

For smaller, simpler drawings, it looked like this. Because I hate wasting paper and am a horrible person. Don't do this! It's insane. I'm horrible.

Then, through the magic of Photoshop, the drawings go from chaos to this. Less chaos! Did I forget to leave space for text? Huh. Photoshop! The sky in this illustration is a beat-up sketch book cover. The grass is a combination of two papers, one green and one kind of aged and splotchy. The booga-bird's body is a swirl of gouache I painted for a different illustration.

From here, Candlewick worked their magic and turned something that just existed on my little laptop screen into a real book that is big and beautifully printed on beautiful paper. They pick and place the type, arrange the spot illustrations, design the cover, pick the get the idea. And now I can hold it in my grubby little hands, which still may have ink under the nails from that darn blender illustration. THAT is not digital.

Thanks, Candlewick. Thanks, Prof. Drummond. Thanks, SCAD friends. Thanks, pb. Thanks, Team Rodeen. Thanks, family. Thanks, friends. Thanks, friends with kids. This is so much fun.


  1. this is so exciting to see the process. Congratulations. I can't wait to go buy a copy!

  2. Love seeing the process and all the fun bits in between!

  3. Congratulations from an old friend.