There is a lot more involved in illustrating a book than I realised, so I’ve asked my illustrator to give us a glimpse behind the scenes.
“After receiving the brief, the crucial first step is to rough sketch some pleasing compositions that illustrate the scene described to me. I start to pull together some reference photos at this stage (more on this later) to help me realise the development of each sketch. I select a couple of the more successful sketches and pass these on for approval.
The next stage is more difficult. As I don’t own a husky or know anyone that does, nor do I live near a zoo with wolves, I rely on LOTS of reference photos to make sure the various characters look like real animals. For a single, finished drawing for the Akea books, I am probably referring to between 20 and 50 photos. The characters are well defined in the books, so this has to be reflected in the illustrations.
Each animal has its own look and achieving consistency is important. Sometimes there’s a challenge working out how a hair pattern I designed for one illustration works when the same character is in a different position for another illustration.
I am used to illustrating books on the supernatural and cryptozoology, but working on the Akea books has been a refreshing experience and I hope to work more in the field of wildlife illustrations in the future.”
Anthony Wallis: https://antwallisillustration-com.webs.com/