Joe Mathieu Process


My work process begins when the publisher gets in touch with me. It used to be a phone call, now it's an email. The books that I illustrate are generally already written and scheduled for publication before the publisher contacts me. I am given a schedule, naturally, and I usually sign a contract before the work begins. Sometimes I am paid advance and royalty, and sometimes by flat rate with no royalty. I rarely have any contact with the author.

First, I do rough sketches. I used to start with "thumb nail" sketches (sketches done much smaller than actual size, maybe 50%), but these days I usually start with full size rough sketches. After the art director sees the rough sketches, I make any changes that the art director would like, and re-submit the revisions to the art director. When the rough sketches have all been approved, I create the finished art. Sometimes there are revisions on the finished art as well. I often receive layouts with text in place from the art director. I can usually move the text around as the composition develops.

When illustrating children's books, it's usually a good idea to keep the compositions interesting by zooming in or out, changing the perspective, and keeping the action moving from left to right.

Joe Mathieu Digital Process

Digital Process

These days I work exclusively in Photoshop.

Joe Mathieu Reflective Process

Reflective Process

I've illustrated many books over the years with paint on paper.