May 21, 2012

The Making of Mr. Pepper Lapin

I just finished my very last school assignment of the year! We had to illustrate a book cover. We could illustrate anything we wanted and the book's subject was up to ours. TOTAL FREEDOM! YAY! I though it would be fun to show you how I came up with my final illustration, since my initial concept evolved a lot during the whole creative process. Attending James White's Design Renegade during Montreal Meets II really paid off. He's one of my design heroes, so when he insisted on the importance of pushing yourself out of your design comfort zone, he really inspired me to do so. The illustration below is the result of a open-minded walk in the Woods of Illustration :)

I started with a random drawing from my sketchbook: an obese rabbit roaming through outer space. Too sweet!

I  drew some 4 cm x 4 cm squares in Illustrator, printed two pages of them and drew different compositions. Working on miniature surfaces allows me to really focus on composition, not details.

The moon on my original sketch reminded me of a chocolate chip cookie, so I developed a few propositions around the idea of floating space cookies!

I did a last mini-sketch, then picked my favourite one to try a few tone variations. I did not choose one immediately, since I wanted to experiment with colours first.

I drew a quick sketch in Illustrator and imported it in Photoshop to play with colours. At first, I stayed in my comfort zone of 5 years by building a galaxy with clouds, stars and light effects.

When I had a pretty cool galaxy, I merged all the layers and played with the hue/saturation and selective correction tool. In a moment of pure curiosity, I inverted the colours, which made the rabbit turn brown. Awesome! The yellow/greenish texture looked dumb, so I decreased its saturation and painted it in a pinkish beige colour. Even if my sketch was now far from the initial galaxy, I liked the result and decided to settle for the brown/beige/pink palette.

I drew my final sketch, scanned it and imported it in Illustrator.

Using the pen tool, I retraced my drawing in black lines. After, I scoured for a pretty brown/pink/beige palette and picked this one. It had a fresh shade of pale blue, which kept my illustration from looking too monochrome. I used it for the eyes and background. It adds a nice warm/cool contrast!

I imported my Illustrator illustration in Photoshop and started playing around with textures. I wanted to avoid the "too-sweet" look of clean surfaces, so I picked grungy textures. I also put a few stars, since they create a nice magical atmosphere. I added the title of the book and the editor's logo, then I went to bed. I was close to a final version, but I couldn't figure out some ways to make my illustration better. Sometimes, it's preferable to sleep on it!

When I woke up the morning, I immediately saw what was wrong: my illustration looked flat, empty, dull and dirty. First, I brightened the colours using the saturation tool. Then, I cropped the picture to make a square and reduce the surface. I added a cookie on the bottom right corner to give an impression of depth. I also used the "Bevel & emboss" and "Drop shadow" tools to add a little dimension to the elements. I picked a more playful font for the title and added the author's title (it's me! hehe). 

Despite all my efforts to avoid the "sweet" look, the Woods led me to making something as sweet as cookies.

Noémie Beaulieu presents the adventures of Mr. Pepper Rabbit


  1. Gosh, I loved this post! Your illustration is so cute and it was nice to see how you developed it :)

  2. That is so freaking adorable! Really interesting to hear how you arrived at this point.


  3. That is adorable.
    If it were a real children's book I would definitely pick it up off of the shelf.

    I enjoyed reading about your creative process!
    Great job!

  4. lovely.

    c'est très beau.

  5. Ok I seriously loved it <3 and loved how you explained the whole process, is amazing how much it changes while still being the same (a floating rabbit), the color palette is perfect

  6. Love your illustration-very creative,I feel that you have fun working on it! I'm a graphic designer as well and like to post illustrations on my blog too:) Glad I found your blog/follow you now


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