Saturday, 17 January 2015

alice in wonderland: from first ideas to finals

as this week has been committed to giving presentations and chilling the fuck out after completing my first module of third year, i thought now would be a good chance to talk about the development and process behind creating my final three alice in wonderland illustrations because i haven't really done all that much else creatively this week, but hey, sometimes you've just got to give yourself some time off, and i've done that in generous amounts this last week as the week coming will be spent refining my dissertation for its final hand in this coming friday. so, without further ado, i'll talk through my process as briefly as possible and let the images do the talking. 

character design

for me, character design seemed to be the obvious place to start after choosing which scenes i was going to illustrate. alice in wonderland is such an iconic, well loved story, and as such has been reinterpreted countless times, so i really had to think about what these characters said to me personally, and how i then wanted to interpret them. alice is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the entire story and as such i focused a lot of energy into her, and in the end i wanted her to have a bit more of an edge and an attitude than the alices i've so often seen in films, because in the story i found that she became really quite head strong and confident as it progressed.

composition development

as part of the brief, a portrait format was set for each illustration and i initially found it pretty hard to work around, particularly for the mad hatter's tea party scene, where there's just so much going on. after countless thumbnails and reconsiderations of the scenes, i think i ended up with compositions that helped to show off the personalities i'd developed for the characters rather than masking them in an attempt to fit the brief's specifications, and while i think that perhaps i may have strayed away from the initial brief a little, i think it helped to add the life and vibrancy to them that my work so very much needed.

first drafts to finals

when the drafting is over, that's when the work really begins (or at least for me it is, anyway.) i very much feel at home in my sketchbook and never feel more relaxed or confident than when it's just me and my pencil, so when the time comes to start adding colours, textures and really considering how each element is gonna slot together, i begin to panic a little, which i think is really apparent in some of the earlier drafts of the illustrations. while drafting and redrafting is something of a frustrating process, especially when you have tight deadlines to meet, i can completely see why so much drafting is required to get to the final piece, because you can really look at all the good and bad within your work and work towards making it the best it possibly can be when the final draft eventually rolls around.

i hope you've enjoyed this little peek into my sketchbook and my working process, showing such initial stages of my work really is something of a daunting task for me, but i know from experience that it's nice to see the inner workings and bare bones of other creatives' projects, so i thought it'd be nice to open up for once and lay my creative process down entirely barely for others to have a peek into. i hope you've enjoyed it!


  1. Oh I LOVE this. I love looking at these type of things when articles show them for Disney, and it's interesting every time to see all the changes. I've had characters I've drawn in the past and I've changed up their design as well. (Although mine are just casual works, not professional in the slightest, haha) It's cool. And I love the buns that Alice ended up with!

    1. me too, i've seen a few of my own favourite illustrators share similar posts recently so i thought it'd be nice to reflect upon my own process :) thanks so much!

  2. So awesome and interesting to see how it's done! I don't even want to imagine how many hours you spent drawing and drafting up ideas for this project.. but it's well worth it in the end!! Looks great! xxx

    1. thanks so much amy! yep, you're right, a lot of my life went into my sketchbooks for this project haha!