Early in 2008 I changed from my original paints and paper method to using a graphics tablet and the computer, but for some work I've now changed back again.

My traditional method is to draw in 2B pencil on 40 gsm bank paper. This allows me to see through the paper to whatever template or layout I might be using which I can slip under the top sheet of my pad. That way I can make illustrations fit nicely around text or fit inside a frame or box of a particular size.

Once I've rubbed out lots of times and like what I've ended up with, I draw loosely over the pencil using a Pigma Micron 0.5mm permanent black ink felt tipped pen.

Then I rub out all of the pencil. The ink drawing is left behind.

I photocopy the ink drawing onto 160 gsm colour photocopy paper. This allows me to make new copies if I don't like how the colours have worked in the next step, and the toner repels water so my watercolours bead off the lines leaving them nice and black. The thickness of the paper keeps it from buckling too much with watercolour paints, and the texture is one I love to work on and allows me to work the paints around a bit.

Then comes my favourite part- I paint with a little set of watercolours. They're a brand which I can't get any more, Guitar, but I love the colours and how they work together on the paper.

Sometimes I draw in crayon first if I want to make a pattern on clothing or wallpaper, and I use pastels and coloured pencils on top of the paint when I feel like it.

After the artwork is dry I scan it at 300 dpi, play with brightness and contrast, clean it up and touch it up if necessary using my PainterX program (which is still crashing a bit) and the graphics tablet and stylus which give me fine control, then convert it to a jpeg file and email it off as an attachment. Huge files I combine by compressing them on the MacBook Pro (there's a compression option in the dropdown menu under "File" in the "Finder" toolbar) then send by Yousendit.com .

For "The School Magazine" illustrations and for book illustrations (such as the illustrations for Duncan Ball's "My Sister Has a Big Black Beard") I have found that I still MUCH prefer to draw straight onto paper rather than using the graphics tablet. In fact, once home after travelling for three months and using the graphics tablet while on the road, I went back to paints on a few illustrations and it FELT SO GOOD to be painting again. I LOVE what watercolours do.
The Paint and Paper Method