A labor of love for both author and artist!
over 100 illustrations
Baby gooroo’s mission is to give parents the knowledge and confidence they need to keep their babies healthy and safe. At MedDraw Studio, my focus is on simplifying science and patient education, so we were a perfect fit.
Breastfeeding: A Parent’s Guide (The Big Book as they like to call it) was a multiyear project with author Amy Spangler, President and CEO of Baby Gooroo. Over 100 illustrations (and counting) span three volumes; Breastfeeding: Ready, Set, Go, Breastfeeding: a Parent’s Guide, and Breastfeeding: Keep it Simple, as well as informational bookmarks, table tents, and lactation consultant materials.
The primary focus of the illustrations was accuracy in all things breastfeeding, the secondary focus was accurately representing the diversity we find in our society. And of course, the final focus was on creating beautiful illustrations.
“As a nurse educator, I have worked with multiple illustrators throughout my career. That being said, I know how difficult it is to find an illustrator who can produce images that are medically accurate, extremely detailed, and extraordinarily beautiful—and then I met Mandy Root-Thompson. Not only is she extremely talented, she also listens to her clients and responds to their concerns in a highly professional manner. I am delighted to be working with her and recommend her without hesitation.”
If you want to have great results, you need to start with good reference!
I find that sometime people are surprised to learn that artists work from reference. It is really the only way to make realistic, believable figures. The old masters, who were basically the illustrators of the day, always worked from live models. Now, of course, we are lucky enough to be able to take a photograph, so the models don’t have to stand for hours!
For the majority of illustrations with people I worked with a local birth photographer. Through the nature of her business my photographer had great contacts with parents of newborns. She could usually get models in the approximate poses I needed but getting models of a particular race for a specific drawing was nearly impossible. In the first series above we weren’t able to have a mom with twins, so we posed the baby on each side. Also, the babies seldom fully cooperate but who can blame them, they have other priorities.
In the line drawing phase, changes to the model were done. Here, the man was made slimmer, and his race was changed. Various aspects of the backpack were also altered to give a cleaner final image. Photo reference is very important, but you can’t be afraid to change it. In the twins example above, I especially loved the models tattoo, I thought it gave the piece a more modern-mom look so it was retained in the final art. I am a huge fan of Norman Rockwell and this is pretty much the way he worked. Though he used a canvas and oil paint, not a Cintiq and Photoshop!
The final “painting” in Photoshop is usually the easiest and the most fun part of the illustration. Once all the planning is done, and the client likes the direction, I can just put on some music and enjoy the process!
From concept sketches through final art, I use a 27″ Cintiq (27QHD for you technical types), which is basically a large monitor that you can draw on with a special stylus. It’s mounted to the wall on a swing arm, and it functions very much like a large drawing board. I can do linework, watercolor, airbrush, pretty much any technique I want right on the computer.
Would you like to work with me?
At MedDraw Studio I work with medical and scientific professionals to communicate complex information to a lay audience in the form of patient and consumer education materials, editorial illustrations, and journal figures. With a background in advertising, marketing, education, and biological and anatomical sciences, it is my goal to create a unique solution to your communication needs!