Matthew Holm

Dan Santat

Stephen Shaskan

Dan Yaccarino

A crop of Dan Yaccarino's art from I Am a Story. Click through to enlarge.

Digital Media uses computer programs to create art.

Digital media is a general term for a range of artistic work that uses digital technology as an essential part of the creative process. Since the 1970s, various names have been used to describe the process including computer art, multimedia art, computer enhanced art, computer manipulated art, and digital art. The impact of digital technology has transformed activities such as painting and drawing. In an expanded sense, digital art is a term applied to contemporary art that uses the methods of digital media. (From

Many illustrators using traditional medium like pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor are now scanning those images and manipulating them in software like Photoshop. We are referring to this technique as digital and mixed media.

Cover. Click through to enlarge

Process. Click through to enlarge

Final art. Click through to enlarge

Matthew Holm: Babymouse, Queen of the World

Holm created all of his final art digitally using a special stylus that allowed him to draw straight into the computer.

In 1997, Holm was among the first illustrators creating cartoon webcomics. When he began drawing digitally, scanners for computers were so expensive that he couldn't afford to use the method of drawing out the illustrations, inking it on paper, and scanning it to get it online. Instead, he had a personal tablet device that he drew on. That's how he created images digitally and uses the same technique now.

Holm got used to this process, liked how easy it was to erase or undo things, move things around digitally, and recompose an image. He became so proficient at this process that he decided to continue using it in his work.

Cover. Click through to enlarge.

Process art. Click through to enlarge.

Final art. Click through to enlarge.

Dan Santat: Are We There Yet?

"The majority of the time I will work on a computer, using Adobe Photoshop and a drawing tablet. However, in the last few years I’ve often tried to illustrate a book using materials that I feel lend themselves to the content of the story and incorporate these various elements on a computer. For the last five years, I feel like I’ve been under constant deadlines, and the computer is just the most time efficient way to do things. I’ve always been open to the idea of using various mediums together to add to the look of a project, and I’ve always wanted to have a more organic feel to my books without it feeling forced. The computer affords me the luxury to experiment without losing time. In [Mac Barnett’s] Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World), I actually screen-grabbed scenes of white from old movies so that I could overlay that gritty texture over my artwork in order to make it feel like a still from an old film."

Santat’s style ranges from detailed to quite spare, but always seems to have a freshness and snap, in part because of his lively linework, rich colors and loose, painterly textures.

Santat used to paint in acrylics. He moved into a process of starting pieces in acrylic and developing the finish in Photoshop; and now does many of his illustrations directly in Photoshop.

Even when working digitally, Santat said he worked from dark to light with opaque strokes of color, analogous to the way he painted in traditional media.

Lines and Colors is a blog about illustration by Charlie Parker, a teacher in animation for Web at the Delaware College of Art and Design.

Cover. Click through to enlarge

Sketch. Click through to enlarge

Process Art. Click through to enlarge

Final art. Click through to enlarge

Stephen Shaskan: Max Speed

When illustrating Max Speed, Shaskan began with pencil sketches which were then scanned into Photoshop. He inked the pieces digitally using a digital pen and Wacom Cintiq touch tablet. He createed backgrounds directly in Photoshop using shape tools, a few brushes, and the “transform” and “modify” applications.

Cover. Click through to enlarge

Crop. Click through to enlarge

Sketch.  Click through to enlarge

Process. Click through to enlarge

Final art. Click through to enlarge

Dan Yaccarino: I Am a Story

“When I illustrate a book I didn’t write, I read the manuscript over and over and doodle whatever appears in my head. It could be the main character, the environment, or some small detail. Once I feel I’m ready, I block out the book in thumbnails, then move on to a rough dummy, then a polished dummy, all the while moving elements around, editing, creating new images, etc.”

First I take the rough sketch and place a sheet of frosted vellum over it. Then using the rough sketch as a guide, I redraw the image onto the vellum using India ink and a brush. I like using vellum because it's smooth so the lines are clean. I also use the blackest black ink I can find, so the lines are clear and dark.  Then I scan the line art and open it in Photoshop, then apply color."