After I receive the assignment, I research all information available on the subject, I proceed to brainstorm on paper, and produce several rough sketches that might lead to an original rendering of the subject matter. Usually this includes several juxtapositions of the idea, and sometimes might lead to a caricature or realistic portrayal depending on what the mood of the story requires. Once I have shown the preliminary roughs to the client, and a decision has been made that is mutually agreeable, I proceed to research in depth all the visual images needed to complete the piece.
Once these preliminary steps are out of the way, I begin to form the actual pencil drawing. This, to me is the most important part of the illustration, by far more important than the technique used later on. It is in this phase of the drawing that the character of what I do is exposed. Once the drawing is finished, I trace the outline of the drawing onto a scraperboard. That silhouette is filled in with black India ink. Once it is completely dry, I start scratching away the ink with a scraper tool to “bring out the volume”, much like a sculpture. If I do add color, I usually do it with Photoshop, and not directly on the original.