Illustrator and author Cory Godbey has just completed a new series of illustrations for a show based on a selection of folk tales. Based in South Carolina, Cory has shared his time to answer some questions, including an explanation into his work process, as well as the tools and equipment he used in creating these pieces.
1) How did you get into the kind of illustration you do now?
I started in high school working for a small textbook publisher doing illustration and continued with that job on into college. I gained extremely valuable experience there as well of a working knowledge of Photoshop, how to deal with clients (the authors) and meeting deadlines. I started off doing traditional watercolors my first couple years there but slowly starting learning the software after a while. Photoshop became a tremendous tool for me.
Speed was the name of the game and the turnaround time of pieces painted in Photoshop versus traditional watercolor couldn’t compare. For what the final illustration needed to be, straight Photoshop coloring worked great. My method had evolved a bit to incorporate more traditional methods with the digital side of illustration.
While I was in high school and met up with Justin Gerard and Brannon McAllister, the two guys who would go on to found Portland Studios. We hung out, talked about art, talked about the kind of stories we liked. From there, 5 or 6 years later, here we are. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really great clients and do some fun work.
2) Can you run over your work process, including the tools and equipment used for this work?
I’ve found one kind of paper in particular that I really enjoy drawing on. I get it from Graphic Chemical and Ink Co. It takes the pencil very well and feels good to draw on. Typically, my process involves thumbnails, color comps., all that sort of stuff. From there I do my final drawing. I scan it, so I’ve got the drawing. Then I watercolor it. The watercolor is for texture and value. I love what opaque gouache does in the watercolor.From there I scan the watercolor and to some degree, depending on how badly I destroyed the watercolor in my quest for texture, I pencil back on top of the watercolor. I love the good line work and texture that this process affords me. After that I go into Photoshop and continue working digitally, depending on the stage reached with the watercolor.
3) What is the market like at the moment for children’s illustration do you think?
It’s slow like most other markets, I believe. Since my work doesn’t focus solely on children’s’ books I haven’t noticed too much of a downturn in work. But as far as picture books go, I’ve got one in the works for a client and several for myself that I’ve been steadily working on.
4) What are you currently working on and what’s in the pipeline?
Before working on “Grimm and Other Folk Tales”, I worked for two months on my story for Flight 6. You can see my contribution, “Walters” in July. Right before that I worked feverishly for several weeks of late nights on Ticket, my first book completely of my own doing. Looking ahead, I’ve got several personal projects I’m toying with, the biggest one will be later in the year. Justin and I have been slowly putting together plans to do a show based on Greek mythology.
Good luck Cory!
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