One of the challenges of illustration and creating art this past few years has been getting my head around the idea of loosening up and getting comfortable behind the pen! If you know me personally, you know that this isn’t always easy for me. As a designer, I’m a planner. I’m a designer who likes clean, tight layouts.

When it comes to illustration, I’m VERY happy (finally) settling into a place of looseness and playfulness. I love working with organic lines and rough shapes. It’s making me incredibly happy.

There’s another thing I’m thinking about lately. Framing of an illustration is so important. The images in this post are two illustrations of the same moment in a book I’m drawing for Cantata Learning. The image below (the yellow one) was the image I started with for page 6. 

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This is the VERY dramatic moment when Billy Bison finds himself dealing with a pesky fly on his nose. My knee-jerk reaction and first instinct was to frame the image this way. Straight-on. Fly on his nose. It satisfied the requirements of the manuscript. Done… or so I thought.

When I moved from sketches to color, I realized that there’s a lot more potential here. Also, even though the fly’s only in the story for a couple of pages, let’s make him a character. Why not?! Here’s what I came up with:

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There’s no reason this antagonist needs to be reduced to a black circle with two white ovals for wings. And now, I feel, this page has a lot more charm, emotion and movement to it.

Let’s see what the editors say!