Ryan and his son Riley.
Ryan lives in New Hampshire.
To see more of Ryan's illustrations, please visit
creating the art for:
WRITE, WRITE, WRITE
by Ryan O'Rourke
For Write! Write! Write! I wanted to return to my roots and work traditionally again. I started my illustration career working with a mixture of oil paints and collage. For this book, I wanted to get the same handmade aesthetic that my earlier work had. However, to save time and have more control over color, I integrated digital techniques to my process as well.
I start every assignment, big or small, with lots and lots of references. I scour the internet for pictures that pertain to the subject matter I'm tasked with illustrating. Sometimes I gather pictures for inspiration and other times I try to find pictures I can use as a direct drawing reference.
I sketch out all of my artwork in pencil first. After my sketch is approved I move to the painting part of the process. Using a thin layer of transparent oil paints on illustration board, I create a grayscale version of the piece using only black and white paint. I started working with this technique to have more control over my range of dark and light values.
Once the paint has dried, I scan the artwork into Adobe Photoshop. I then add transparent layers of color over the grayscale painting. After numerous color adjustments, I add small details using an assortment of textured digital brushes. I also add digital textures that I've created by hand.
I had a blast working on this book. It felt so incredibly refreshing to return to my roots and work with paint again. My process and style has taken a lot of twists and turns through the course of my almost 20-year career. I can easily say that I plan on using the techniques I developed while working on this book for many more books in the future.