Skip to content

098: Behind the Scenes (II)

How I design Fire Jar graphics.

Jeremy Finch
Jeremy Finch
3 min read
098: Behind the Scenes (II)

This is a more technical breakdown of my illustration process.

Multiple people have asked about this.

My current recipe involves some paid software, but there are also free alternatives and workarounds. My hope is that this process is accessible to basically anyone.

It includes analog-digital aspects :

  1. Draw by hand (pen and paper)
  2. Scan drawings into digital format
  3. Make edits / add color, on a computer

It's not the best or fastest method.
But it's the one that I like.

Tools used :

• Pen and paper
• Smartphone camera
• Adobe Capture (mobile app, free)
• Adobe Photoshop (desktop app, $$) 1

1: Free / cheaper alternatives available.

Start with drawing

1/ First, do a light pencil sketch.

Then outline using a dark pen.
And shade with a thick pen (optional).

2/ Take a photo.

3/ Crop, rotate.

4/ Good contrast is helpful.

🔽 This part happens in a mobile app.

Note :
There are many ways to scan images.

5/ Open the photo, adjust threshold, capture it as a new shape.

6/ Save the shape in SVG format.

7/ If you want to edit using another app, you can export a vector file now. And use whatever image editing software you like.  

🔽  These steps take place within Photoshop 2 (desktop version).

2: Many alternatives are available.
Figma, Affinity, Photopea, Procreate, GIMP, Pixlr etc.

8/ First, I open the title image template.  

9/ Color it in (fill, paint bucket).

10/ Save file (jpeg / PNG).

Embed into post / newsletter.

Strengths and weaknesses :

Pros :
This method creates a unique look and feel. It forces me to draw by hand (fun!). I can also use the graphics for video / motion.

Cons :
It's inefficient. So I tend to batch this process and digitize multiple drawings at once. It's slower than drawing with a tablet.

What does your approach look like?
I'm open to adjusting my tools / workflow.

Want me to design something for you?
Let me know!

Related :

091: Illustration Process
Some sketches I made for an article.
047: Art for Amateurs
A drawing course. No experience required!
083: Reader Mailbag (X)
Your responses re: creative practice.
005: Drawing + Writing
On Lynda Barry and the value of comics.
062: Your Drawings
A crowdsourced gallery of sketches.

Season 2CreativityInteractive