February 2, 2011

illustrations for enGrossed.me

Another thing that has kept me busy for the past several months is a full time gig I started in October at a competitive intelligence firm called Sedulo Group. I'm their Creative Director and oversee everything design and marketing related, like the website(s), tradeshow materials, newsletter, and even powerpoint presentations. They keep me pretty busy.

Our managing partner, Heath, started a blog called enGrossed.me to write about competitive intelligence for people who don't really understand what it is, like for example, ME four months ago.

When I first started building the articles, I looked at some stock images but quickly realized a few things:

  • Stock images are super cheesy.
  • The illustrations are way too expensive.
  • It was impossible to find an image that conveyed the exact concept I wanted to illustrate.

I thought of one of my favorite sites about web design, A List Apart, and how they use a simple illustration for their articles. I thought, hey, I can do that! Heath loved the idea. Then I just needed a "style."

The goal was to do two posts a week, and these illustrations were in addition to my already ginormous pile of work, so I needed to be able to do these quickly and easily.

Here's the process:

First I do a very rough drawing. I never do a bunch of thumbnails, I just go with my gut on these. For this particular article about using competitive intelligence to see the future, PhotoBooth helped me pose for my own reference shot for the hand.

I scan the sketch and tweak it in photoshop.

I print out the tweaked sketch, throw it on my light box (My favorite two guesses as to what my old crappy lightbox is: a time machine, and an 8-track player.) I then trace the drawing onto Bristol paper using my brush pen.

I scan the brush drawing into Photoshop and then proceed to layer it up with multiplied layers of black tones, and then top it off with one darkened layer of color.

All in all, the entire process from concept and sketching to posting to the blog takes about 2 hours. And in the end, we think it's well worth it to have a fun, consistent image for each of the articles posted to the blog.


Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator


graeseric said...


Rachael Hunt said...

Very cool to see the process...neat stuff!

Cat Scott Larimore said...

thanks, Eric & Rachael!

nora chou said...

awesome blog! - always interesting to follow the creative process of other designers/artists! :)



Cat Scott Larimore said...

Thanks, Nora!

Amelia Rice said...

AWWW It's so cute and cool!

Cat Scott Larimore said...

Thanks Amelia!