In The Beginning: Illustrating a children’s picture book


So, I wrote a ‘good-night’ poem for my kids, and I’m an artist so it seemed like a Good Idea to illustrate it and publish it as a children’s picture book. Get famous. Make a million bucks. Easy.

Now, I’m primarily an oil painter. I suppose that sort-of means I do that more than something else. In an oil painting I can develop an entire narrative in one image. It’s what my extremely short attention span was made for. But illustrating a book is a much different task that requires consistency and planning to maintain stylistically and thematically a Look throughout a whole bunch of drawings. In order to compensate for my incredible lack of discipline I thought it would be another Good Idea to make the illustrations an eclectic set of different looks and styles so that no one will feel left out. And I wouldn’t have to concentrate so much. In the end I had a bunch of beautiful drawings that at best looked stylistically inconsistent. Another manifestation of my lack of discipline and ADD nature is that I have a gazillion different projects going at the same time. One of them is a graphic novel I’m developing. Since this would require an insane level of dedication, discipline, and consistency, I came up with a different workflow (different for me anyway) to make the thing possible. It included sculpting the characters and environments and animating everything and posing each shot just so. This would enable the adjustment, and readjustment, of cameras, lighting, colors, textures, and materials.  Being able to pose each character in each frame would lend a consistency to the look and design that would possibly (definitely) be a bit more work up front but once everything was in place would make production a more straightforward thing. So, I decided to try this workflow out on my stylistically inconsistent picture book. The book is called The Girl On The Moon, and I sculpted The Girl after the concept established in my drawings. The render of the sculpture includes basic materials, which you can see here:

 the girl

This is called a T-pose for obvious reasons and is used to make rigging the character as easy as possible. I used a program called Zbrush for sculpting and another called Blender for rigging, animation, modeling, material development, and rendering. I tried using Maya, but it was so insanely overpriced I gave that up in a hurry.

Here’s an example of the render of one of the illustrations, followed by a digital ‘paint-over’ to create the final image


a rendered scene

the final painting

Here’s another example of an environment from the book, created with the same workflow:


Once all of this was done I moved on to formatting the book. I’ll discuss that in another post soon.

Hugs and Kisses,




Hello world indeed…

As the title of this blog suggests, my name is Robert Francian and at the behest of clients and publishers I’m starting this blog to document the tortuous journey through and around the “Artworld”. In particular, and at first, I’ll be trying to make sense of the process of writing, illustrating, and publishing a children’s picture book. Then I’ll talk about a graphic novel (for some reason some people dislike that term) that I have waiting in line, and a video game that I have in development as well. Periodically, I’ll be adding some rants about various gallery exhibitions that I have popping up here and there, various other rants in general, and occasionally reviews that may or may not be related to anything concerning anything about any of this.. You can visit my website at, and hopefully check back here to read about what I went through to get a children’s picture book written, illustrated, and published. Then continue on with stories from life in the “Artworld”.

Hugs and kisses,