In my work, creating an illustration usually consists of a rough sketch, a detailed drawing, outlining, coloring, and fine-tuning. When I receive a commission that requires the creation of several, sometimes dozens, illustrations in the same style, I notice the same phenomenon over and over again.
For some illustration steps, such as coloring, I’m on autopilot. By the third illustration, at the latest, it’s like assembly line work. All that’s needed here is my craft and consistency. It doesn’t require a “creative view” or a willingness to experiment. In this phase, I can relax and listen to music, or an episode of King of Queens on the iPad, or talk to friends on the phone.
But at some stage, I always get to the point where that’s no longer enough. It’s a moment when I have to look at the subject closely and match every stroke and detail, whether it’s a portrait, a product, or a scene. I’m sure it sounds corny, but I have to feel it somehow, look at it sensitively. I can’t describe it any other way yet.
I have learned that every work deserves a certain amount of individual attention. Be it just a few strokes or color adjustments. Then it’s music off, smartphone on flight mode, and just feel and react, feel, react, until there is nothing more to discover.