Sometimes I can completely get an idea from inside my head to the paper in front of me using sheer imagination. Other times, I need photos to work from to get accuracy of shapes and details within my work that contribute to the bigger picture. Typically, I sketch out a rough idea. Along the way, if I need help, I just start Googling images of keywords. Sometimes I have someone mimic the shape I want if I need a human outline. Then I can make a more refined version of my design, and I’m ready to bring it to life either on paper or in Adobe Illustrator.
Here’s how I brought my recent Gatsby illustration (a custom design for a friend) to life: I needed an distant perspective of a dock on the water, a car from the 1920s (a motif in The Great Gatsby), a pocket watch to symbolize the theme of time, and a perspective of someone reaching for something in the distance.
The final piece:
Making it happen: