Here's an example of my process. This is generally how I work but I experiment all the time and am always discovering new things. The text in this part is about a very young pirate giving pirate rides to other kids. I decided to do a line up shot with a few kids. So I started with with pencil sketches in my sketch book(1.) , going back and forth between the composition and the details. This book only had a few characters in it so this was an opportunity to have some more.
When I more or less have things worked out in my sketch book I move on to the rough pencil drawing(2.) I use a fairly inexpensive drawing paper, like one of the lower end Fabriano papers.This is when I start using reference and the picture starts to take shape. I try to figure out the basic composition, the lines and the tones of the picture. Although my roughs are pretty finished, nothing is set in stone yet.
Then I transfer the rough on to tracing paper(3.) At this point I'm still working on the drawing and adding and subtracting things. I keep switching tracing brands because I'm still looking for the best kind. This one was probably done on Canson 25 lb.
I transfer the drawing to a good water colour paper. My favorite is Arches 300 lb. hot pressed paper. I love this paper but it's fairly expensive. I rework the pencil drawing again on the Arches and then I ink it(4.). For inking I use Fw sepia acrylic artist's ink by Daler Rowney. This ink will disappear easily beneath gouache with no ghost lines peering through.
After the ink has dried I start a water colour under painting (5.) This may seem like an unnecessary step but I find it makes my final pictures better, I work things out in water colour, like tone and where the shadows will go. In this one the under painting had some colour but now I prefer a more monochromatic under painting which will match the temperature of the final.
And finally I add the gouache(6.) I tend to work in one area at a time, as it's already blocked in with water colour.
When the gouache is done I'll go back and re ink some lines. I find my lines are disappearing more and more and I'd love to retain them.
And the final painting(7.)
I hope this helps someone out there who is experimenting with their own process. If you have any questions or complaints just leave a comment or email me.