I documented my work process from start to finish for my illustration “Kooky”. This was drawn for an illustrarticle called “The #1 Secret Ingredient For Baking Delicious Cookies”
Before starting the illustration, I wrote the story “The #1 Secret Ingredient For Baking Delicious Cookies“. These are my initial notes in my tiny moleskine sketchbook that goes everywhere I go. After these notes, I write the complete story on my laptop. Then I edit, edit, edit.
I sketched some thumbnails of what the illustration might look like. Since the #1 Secret Ingredient is amazing, the illustration had to be, too. So I chose the last thumbnail and added circles that would later be painted as a bokeh background. Bokeh is a photography term. I love photography and it’s in my background. So naturally, it influences my illustration work.
The thumbnail was then redrawn with more detail, on a larger piece of plain paper. This is the sheet that is sandwiched between my lightbox and a sheet of watercolor paper. I turn on the lightbox and start to lightly trace the main lines on the watercolor paper, with watercolor. It’s all freehand-permanent-no-going-back from here so it has to be perfect. I’ve had to redraw and repaint entire illustrations before, if they didn’t turn out like I’d imagined.
And when I started working on the final piece, I started thinking of even more ideas to play with. No more lightbox from this step, forward. So, then this goat made an appearance. And a car. The planet Saturn. A shoe. You know, all those things you’d normally find in a delicious cookie.
Color! Here, started to color the smoke/steam and the new cookie ingredients. I usually do a few color tests on separate sheets of paper to determine which colors will work with the illustration.
Here, I inked the hand and the cookie. And after I painted the background and some bokeh, I decided that the smoke/steam needs to be toned down. Since the story is not “The #1 Secret Ingredient For Making Amazing Smoke,” I painted over most of it.
Then, I painted the steam/smoke with a few highlights using acrylic. Now the focus is more on the cookie/bokeh/awesomeness instead of the smoke.
Illustration is complete! Yes, total completion deserves its own step. You can see the color layers I added to the smoke, through which some bokeh can still be seen.
I was just kidding about total completion. This work process isn’t complete without this step: Put your Kooky where your mouth is!
The story is not far from how I bake cookies… I don’t usually attempt cooking fancy stuff, and stay in the pre-mixed items safe zone. So, one of the recipes I like to do is from the back of Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie Mix.
You could use another brand, I guess. But I’ve only tried Betty Crocker’s. I thought it would be good to add white chocolate chips and dried cranberries into the dry mix because I’m adventurous like that. Add 1 cup of each of those, and then add the 1 egg and 1 stick of softened butter that that sugar cookie mix asks for. Mix everything together to make the batter.
Then, after I bake the cookies like a crazy person, I let them cool for a just a couple minutes. Stick them into a ziplock bag or airtight container right after that, so that the steam stops escaping the cookies. That keeps the cookies soft.
I’ve made these White Chocolate & Cranberry kookies for my friends and coworkers a couple times, and they keep asking for more because “these cookies taste like cheesecake.” Since I don’t want to quit illustration to become a cookie-mix baker, I’ve written my recipe here because with practice, anyone can make these into their own recipe.
Now go out there and make some of your own kookies, you daredevil, you 8)