The making of a cover

September 13th, 2010

As you might have heard in twitter land earlier today, I illustrated the cover of Anthology, a gorgeous new print publication from editor-in-chief Anh-Minh Le and creative director Meg Mateo Ilasco. I finished working on it months ago, so it’s really exciting to be able to share it with the world!

If you’re curious, here are the sketches and how we got to the final image:

I submitted four initial sketches on the theme of “The Slow Life”. The rough brief was a depiction of home, possibly a NY brownstone and a girl on a bike, but I played around with different scenes and points of view.

Meg liked the bottom right sketch best and suggested having the buildings cut away from the masthead at the top. I redrew a second, more refined sketch, making the girl smaller to balance the scene and giving the buildings more character.

The colours were looking a bit bright, so I presented two more muted versions to better complement the content inside. The warmer version on the right was chosen and I had the go-ahead to produce the final cover.

And ta-da, here it is! Each little window and step (every “straight” line in fact) was hand drawn on my Wacom, which I think gives it that slightly wonky charm that you just can’t get with line tool. I thought I would drive myself insane by window number 50, but it was actually quite therapeutic in its own way!

A couple of detail views:

Can’t wait to get it in the mail and see inside!

50 Comments

  1. eli says:

    just saw this on the Design Sponge site earlier, looks soooo awesome! congrats!

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    September 13th, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

    thank you! x

    reply

  2. Kim says:

    These kind of posts are some of my favorites – it’s so exciting to get little peeks inside another artist’s world / process.

    And an entire cover all to yourself – SO exciting! Congrats!

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    September 13th, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

    Thank you! I love seeing others WIP too, I’m so nosy! xx

    reply

  3. Jennifer says:

    Gorgeous cover! It’s nice to know there’s an actual new magazine being published, not just a virtual one. Congrats to Anthology!

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    September 13th, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

    I know, isn’t it great! I’m really looking forward to giving it a read.
    thank you! xx

    reply

  4. Angélica says:

    Congrats on the cover, it looks amazing! Very interesting to see this process, thank you! :)

    reply

  5. Angela Joy says:

    beautiful! what a process! its so fun to see how it develops! congrats!

    reply

  6. congrats what an amazing cover. i have subscribed to this new mag and i sure hope i get this issue.

    reply

  7. meligrosa says:

    this is fantastic +how the blogesphere works – I found you via some bicycle link over a year or two ago, and Meg+migh are based out of the Bay Area. I believe the interview I took part of will be here.
    AWESOME + beautiful work kris!! <3
    xxo.meli

    reply

  8. […] a few posts detailing the process that goes into creating her colorful artwork. (See a few of those here, here, and here.) I love getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the process artists use to create […]

  9. Hannah says:

    Cool – I like seeing how you from A to B (or perhaps Ato Z) – I would get so impatient re-drawing things, but I guess that’s why you’re the pro ;)

    reply

  10. ChantaleP says:

    Wow. Gorgeous covers, all of them really. Was this ‘drawn’ digitally?? I’m really impressed, love the paper effect.

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    September 14th, 2010 @ 9:30 am

    Thank you! Yep, all digital :)

    reply

  11. Jen says:

    Aww, congrats! These are gorgeous!!

    reply

  12. Katie says:

    This is the most beautiful cover I’ve seen in ages! Its incredible, I admire your patience haha :)

    reply

  13. Kris, this is just sooo gorgeous. I first saw it earlier today on Design*Sponge, and was so excited for you! :)
    Meanwhile … are you giving lessons on how to draw using pen and Wacom?? When I try to freedraw I’m all over the place! ;)
    x

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    September 14th, 2010 @ 9:50 am

    Thank you :D
    Haha I promise it’s just lots of practice! I couldn’t actually draw with mine for over a year of constant use! I just coloured and edited bits and gradually my brain got used to the change. Try scanning in a rough sketch and drawing over that, I found that helped a lot in the interim. x

    reply

  14. Ann says:

    This is gorgeous, Kris! Thanks for sharing your process :) Do you use the computer the whole time now? Even for sketches?

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    September 14th, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    For this one, yes. Sometimes I do sketches and line art on paper though. Depends what I feel like on the day! Generally I go digital for the more elaborate and complicated stuff though, as it’s easier to tweak and edit.
    And thank you! x

    reply

  15. Congrats! Super exciting to have your work on the first cover of what looks will be a fabulous magazine! Can’t wait to get mine in the mail!

    reply

  16. Mary says:

    Saw this publication on another blog earlier today and instantly recognized your work. It’s fabulous! You definitely made the right choice in hand-drawing instead of using the line tool; it looks perfect! Or perfectly imperfect…you know what I mean:) And thanks for sharing your sketches.

    reply

  17. Lillian says:

    Wonky charm indeed!!! I love that this is a publication that is embracing the illustrated cover, like back in the 40s, 50s and 60s. And you’re just the gal for the job! I can’t wait to get my hands on this!

    reply

  18. Carolynpom says:

    I saw this on Oh Happy Day and knew it was you immediately!

    I love it when you show your design process, I had no real idea how illustrations came to fruition! How did you get that great texture on the fill colours?

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    September 14th, 2010 @ 9:28 am

    Thank you!
    It’s a scanned brown paper texture I use as an overlay :)

    reply

  19. Nicole Block says:

    love the process post! so few people realize what goes into the perfect illo. congrats on a beautiful piece. =)

    reply

  20. rose says:

    wow, as always, amazing to see your behind-the-scenes process. just out of interest (and i apologise if you have answered this question before) what sort of wacom do you use? i’m really keen to get one myself but have read there are some which are a lot more user-friendly than others! thanks.x

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    September 14th, 2010 @ 9:27 am

    Hi Rose!
    I use a Wacom Intuos3 8×6 tablet. It’s great, I’m really happy with it! I prefer it to using a mouse, even when I’m just browsing the internet or something. x

    reply

  21. emma says:

    congratulations! this is lovely xx

    reply

  22. tommy says:

    Always like process posts. Shows the “hand” behind the work. Congratulations!

    reply

  23. Love, love your cover!!! Can’t wait to buy that magazine too. Thanks for sharing your process too, those are my favorite posts on your blog.

    reply

  24. Ley says:

    I truly adore your style, absolutely charming. :)

    reply

  25. Marie says:

    Wow, looks wonderful!
    It’s funny, I’m doing an illustration with a background full of NY buildings as well (Brooklyn ones), and I know what you mean as I’m also drawing tons of little windows by hand, it takes a looong time to finish, but in the end I think it’s worth the difference!
    But again, your illustration is beautiful, congratulations!
    :)

    reply

  26. Sofia says:

    Amazing, I love everything about it! You are the best :)

    reply

  27. Joséphine says:

    I love your blog, and this cover shows how you’re talented, it’s really great, colours are gorgeous, your pen tablet is a magic stick in your hands!
    Congrats!

    How could i get the magazine? I’m living in France…

    Thanks

    Joséphine

    reply

  28. lyi says:

    holy crap, that’s absolutely gorgeous. i would love to own a piece of that!

    reply

  29. Connie says:

    You are absolutely amazing. What kind of brushes do you use in Photoshop? Just the standard ones? I couldn’t do this even if I had 80 years to practice!

    reply

  30. Luna says:

    wow you are one very tallented lady!!

    reply

  31. Natalie says:

    I saw this on Design Sponge first too – immediately recognised your work and decided to buy a whole subscription on the strength of the cover. It looks rather splendid, congratulations!

    reply

  32. olivia says:

    it’s so stunning. they were lucky to have you! definitely gonna subscribe :)

    reply

  33. Didi says:

    It’s so beautiful :)

    reply

  34. Anthi says:

    Loved the magazine but most of all I loved the cover, the illustration is so lively and colourful!Congrats once again!

    reply

  35. […] is not dead”. La copertina del primo numero è stata ideata e illustrata dalla bravissima Kristina, altresì nota come […]

  36. […] I stumbled across a gorgeous illustration of a similar bike, from illustrator Kris Atomic (top right) which looks a bit like me on my bike (almost – if I dyed my hair blonde […]

  37. LindseyBee says:

    Hello Kris! Of course, as stated many times, these illustrations are stunning!!
    I have a question if you don’t mind me asking (no worries if you can’t answer! :))… did you use Adobe Illustrator accompanied by your tablet? I have a Bamboo Wacom tablet, & I seem to have troubles using Illustrator with it, but maybe that’s just me not practicing as often as I should!
    Thank you!

    reply

  38. […] of a bike March 11th, 2011 Just realised that I never posted this illustration I did for the first issue of Anthology. I’ve got another drawing in the second issue (and a feature on me and my […]

  39. […] a few posts detailing the process that goes into creating her colorful artwork. (See a few of those here, here, and here.) I love getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the process artists use to create […]

  40. Alana says:

    You are amazing. My biggest source of inspiration without question! We have to do a uni assignment based on our illustration hero and of course I had to pick you. Lovelovelove everything you do <3

    Alana xx.

    reply

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