I thought it might be helpful to other people studying illustration to see the working process that goes into a magazine illustration project. I recently had the great pleasure to create a cover, fold out poster, and several spot illustrations for a children's magazine. Below, I'm going to walk you through the creative process that went into the job.
The initial brief said that the project would have the theme of brain vs. technology. The project would include a cover, spot illustrations, and a fold out poster that included a mad scientist and his brain collection. My job was to work with the magazine's designer and come up with some illustrations for the cover and inside spreads that would feature some sort of face off between the brain and tech. My initial ideas for the cover and spots played off of the mad scientist theme for the poster. I envisioned illustrations that would be in the style of a z-grade 1950's horror flick, with a monster brain battling a monster robot. The editorial staff felt that approach might go over the target audience's heads, so I worked on some more ideas.
My second batch of thumbnails played around with several different versions of face offs--game shows, board games (featuring a sock'em robot game of course), boxing posters, video games, and wrestling rings.
The designers and editors really liked the direction of a game show, so I worked up a few layout ideas for the cover.
We settled on a basic sketch, which I further developed through inks and color comps.
Ink sketch over the pencil thumbnail.
The initial color comp.
A further developed image incorporating a more detailed background.
The final drawing for the cover.
My initial thumbnail for the poster illustration.
There were multiple brain-related facts that the design team wanted to include on the poster. I drew up several different visuals to illustrate the brains in humorous ways.
The final poster illustration. I'd post the more refined pencils, but I seem to have misplaced them at the moment, and since it's getting close to my bed time, you'll just have to take my word for it that there were some tight pencils that came before this final, colored stage.
The final cover and spots.
The final poster.