Cookie Roll Commission Process

This illustration was completed as a commission- the customer wanted a digital piece with a watercolor feel, involving his Lilliputian Wangou and Kara playing together.  If you are interested in commissioning something, don't hesitate to email me for a quote!

Character Design and Concept: 

Although the commissioner already had a design for Wangou, he requested a redesign that would reflect the aesthetics of 7" Kara

Although this is a digital commission, I do my best brainstorming with a color pencil in hand, so I utilized my sketchbook and tracing paper to hash out a revised design.

Tracing paper allows me to reuse the same framework and devise new clothing options quickly and easily.

I also sketched out a Kara wireframe, for easy size reference.

To share this with my customer, I laid out my interations side by side, so they would be easier to parse.

Once I'd hammered out the details, I redrew Wangou in his final design, so I had all my reference handy and condensed.

Final Character Designs:

For Kara, I selected one of the outfits I liked from Chapter 8.


When planning illustrations, particularly those that involve a background or movement, I like to generate a few thumbnails, and select my favorite (or allow the customer to choose their preference).  This is a great way to play with a variety of ideas with low commitment.

Wangou handing a cookie down to Kara

Wangou and Kara rolling a cookie like a hula hoop

Wangou and Kara sitting on the edge of a sidewalk, eating their cookie

Wangou and Kara stealing a pack of M&M's

Wangou and Kara sneaking the M&M's down a grate

The customer selected the cookie roll, and I began refining the idea.


The sketch and design process for this commission is very similar to that used in Planning an Illustration in Photoshop, so I recommend you check that post out for an indepth exploration of the process.

Tight Sketch:

This sketch was converted to bluelines, and printed on Fabriano Studio watercolor paper- which I enjoy using for inks, but cannot recommend for watercolor.

This was inked with a Sakura Pigma FB (a pigment based brushpen) and scanned to preserve the watercolor texture.


Digital Shading and Texture:

After flatting this piece, I began by blocking in my shadows, utilizing layers, layer opacity, and multiply mode. 

As I worked, I introduced more traditional media scans and textures- papyrus, scanned corn husks, and loads of watercolor splotches and bleeds to add interest and texture.

The Completed Piece

I really enjoyed this opportunity to work in a different medium, and to utilize mixed media techniques to achieve an illustration that pleased my customer.  Many artists think traditional media and digital media have to be divorced, but regardless of my end product, I utilize both in the majority of my art and comics.  I hope today's post has inspired you to mix up your process, or perhaps try something new!


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