Thursday, October 01, 2015

My Illustration Process for These Robots

As a visual person I'm always curious to find out how images are stitched together.  I always look close at posters, paintings, drawings,… I mean really close, a couple of inches, in the hope of seeing part of the process, how the strokes are laid down, or which tools are used.

So I figured I share this basic step by step process I use to make markers illustrations I've been doing for Curio & Co. - as I mentioned these are molding into a future project…


• Red pencil (erasable) I use a Stabilo Original 87/305 - it's soft and it has a wonderfully worm red.
• Kneaded eraser I use the Prismacolor brand I found they don't get gummy/gluey
• Prismacolor Markers
• Prismacolor Premier - these are great the go on paper wonderfully and give the feeling of watercolor
• Animation paper - I like this a lot better then marker paper, it's sturdy you can erase heavily and the fibers hold up well.  And, there's no bleed through of the marker.


Before getting started

a. Gather all of your tools and get comfortable in your space
b. I usually work with multiple sheets one on top of the other so that I get some cousin when I draw.  The animation disc I use does the trick quite well it locks the page in place and it allows me to turn the drawing as needed.

1. Roughing 

Sketch out the idea, get the feeling of image you want to make on paper.  If you don't have an idea do some thumb nails before, that will help get some juice flowing.

Rough sketch of three robots - drawing by Cesare Asaro - Curio & Co. (Curio and Co. OG -

2. Erase 

Erase the whole drawing lightly with the kneaded eraser, lightly, you still want to see the ghost of the drawing so that you can go back and properly define the shapes.  Be carful not to wrinkle the paper while you are erasing, I still do that once in a while.  Even though you can fix the image when you scan the drawing you can't fix the paper, and the original art is damaged.  Take your time when you work, and don't loose sight that it's only a drawing and that the next one you make will be even better.

If you work light with the pencil in rough/sketching stage you may not need to erase at all.  This is definitely a better approach, but don't be afraid to use the eraser or to try something new.  It's only paper.

3. Tightening thing ups

Final sketch of three robots - drawing by Cesare Asaro - Curio & Co. (Curio and Co. OG -

At this point I'm finalizing the design and shapes and solving any problems with the image.  If you don't do that now it will be a pain to solve problems at a later stage of the image.  I can't say it enough – solve the problems here!!! You really don't want to spend three to four hours trying to do something later, it will only look as a patch.

4. Erase Again

I erase the whole thing lightly with the kneaded eraser.  You'll still be able to see the line work and the marker will pick-up some of the red pencil and create a homogeneous tint allover the image.  Think of it as a color photo filter in photoshop, or a glaze in painting.

By erasing it again you give yourself the opportunity to fixing things when you apply the marker.  Also the marker does blend with the pencil pigment but if the pencil is too thick on the paper the maker will only glide on the paper, and not respond to mark you hoped to make.

5. Marker
Marker concept art of three robots - drawing by Cesare Asaro - Curio & Co. (Curio and Co. OG -

There are no tricks, just practice. Work from light to dark and be careful with smudges! 

Have some fun.