Taking a Fresh Look-from the Illustrator’s Perspective

I’m a member of Wordsmiths, and I’m also an illustrator. Here are some thoughts about self-editing from my perspective as a children’s book illustrator. 


When I work on a drawing for an illustration, I’m constantly revising throughout the process. In order to do this I need to look at the drawing with fresh eyes. Here are four simple approaches that help me see things in a new way.


1. Look at the drawing in reverse. Some artists look at their drawings in the mirror. Since I use tracing paper to work out my drawing, I just flip it over. This is amazingly effective. I instantly see body parts that are out of whack. Maybe an eye is too high, or a hand is too big.


2. Take a picture. Sometimes I can’t figure out, in my mind’s eye, how a body or facial gesture works. So, I get out my digital camera and tripod, and snap a picture of myself in the pose I need. Here are a few goofy shots from my growing collection.


3. Take a break. After drawing for a while, I start to focus more and more on the details. Stepping away and clearing my mind from the details, even for just ten minutes, helps me to take notice of the entire picture once again. This is also an opportunity to throw some laundry in the washer.


4. Switch to another project. This is effectively the same tip as above, except all my laundry is done, and my house is so clean and organized that there aren’t any more chores to do! Really though, it’s helpful for me to schedule a good chunk of time away from a project, and one way to do that is by working on something completely different for a while. This is especially good to do if I’m going to look at several drawings and I want to analyze many details.


Happy doodles!

Contributed by Veronica Walsh, Illustrator


5 responses to “Taking a Fresh Look-from the Illustrator’s Perspective

  1. gloriastockstill

    Veronica, very interesting. I especially loved the pictures! 😀

  2. Sherri Crawford

    Veronica, this was a fascinating look at the unusual things an illustrator must do to get it right! I want you to do some of those poses for us at our next meeting. (o; I’ve seen some or your characters and they have such great expressions. Now we know why!
    Love, Sherri

  3. Diane Kress Hower


    Nancy asked me to check out your blog. I am in her pb group and am an author/illustrator, too. I love your idea of taking pictures of myself! I take pictures of many other things. Recently, I have been working on a pb dummy involving my dog. If it wasn’t for the camera, I would have never got it right with a birds’ point of view of his belly! I will look forward to your next post.

  4. Shirley Shibley

    I think illustrators need to be good actors. Thanks, Veronica for this helpful look at what we’re writing.


  5. Excellent suggestions for dealing with combining of illustration and writing.

    Thank you!

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