Josh Cleland Illustration

Josh's Blog

A collection of quick sketches, doodles, and updates.

Blog Tour, My Illustration Process

Welcome to my stop on this fun blog tour. I want to thank my illustrator friend, Josh Lewis, for inviting me. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Josh a couple weeks ago while he was visiting Portland. We chatted about faith, family, and illustration while chowing down on some pizza and fantastic Portland brew. You can see Josh's blog tour post here. At the end of this post I will give links to two other amazing illustrators.

Let's get started!

What am I working on right now?

I have several fun projects currently on my plate, including website illustrations for a client in Belgium, an updated website banner illustration for Stuff and Nonsense, some illustrations for an animation, and more. Since these are all in progress I can't share them quite yet. But I will show you some recent personal work.

My first children's book was recently published. It was written by Dan Schuch. You can find out more by visiting Amazon, or visit the website here.

Lately I've been pursuing other revenue streams such as licensing, so the personal work I've been doing is geared towards that goal.

Rollerskating Giraffe

Dog Drinking Toilet Water

Why do I illustrate what I do

Someone once told me my work makes her smile. It's simple really. This world can be a very dark place. If I can be a small light in that darkness then it's all worth it.

How is my work different from others in my genre?

Interesting question. I think everyone looks at the world in a unique way, and my work represents my personal world-view. I’m not sure how else I can answer this.

My current weapon of choice is Adobe Illustrator, however I like to keep my vectors very loose—giving the work a hand-of-the-artist quality. I suppose that’s a unique factor. Maybe I need to think about this more.

How does my illustration process work?

For this section I'm going to simply give you a big behind-the-scenes glimpse of my work in pictures--rather than give you a tutorial. I'll share sketches, doodles, and drawings (I really don't know the difference between the three) and keep the talking to a minimum. Pictures are much more fun. I'll interrupt with commentary as needed.

Nearly all of my work begins with an old-fashioned pencil and paper. Most of my finished work is done in Adobe Illustrator, however I like to keep things as analog as possible. There’s nothing like feeling and smelling actual pencil/pen and paper. It’s so good. Plus, it’s much easier to flip through old sketchbooks rather than old digital sketches scattered throughout your hard drive. Digital files tend to get lost. And they don't smell as nice.

Josh Cleland Sketches

Once I’ve settled on a direction I take a photo of my sketches with my iPhone and bring them into Photoshop. Scanners take too long. I fine-tune the sketches in Photoshop and quickly try out different compositions and methods. This is where my trusty Wacom Intuos 5 comes in (I have my eye set on the Cintiq 13HD).

Travelers doodle - Josh Cleland

Travelers Doodle - Josh Cleland

Travelers Doodle 2 - Josh Cleland

Illustrator Josh Cleland at desk

Below is a quick look at how I achieve a more painterly look in Adobe Illustrator.


This method produces thousands of points so use sparingly. It won't be long before your document becomes very cumbersome. This poster I did for Tower International (below) took 5 minutes every time I saved! Potty break! Click here to see the complete poster.

That's about it, folks. If you have any questions or comments just let me know.

Next up

I'm really excited about the two artists that have agreed to be the next stops on this fun tour. Bob and George have been Twitter-lifelong artist friends of mine (meaning we've been Twitter friends since the early days of Twitter).

George Coghill illustrator

Illustrator George Coghill

WebsiteTwitterDribbble George Coghill is a vector artist specializing in cartoon logos and mascots. His personal art reflects his interests in ancient civilizations, psychedelic/visionary art, mystical and occult imagery, with a mix of monsters, creatures, sci-fi and pop culture thrown in. His personal art can be seen at I've always admired and appreciated George's dedication to clean, hygienic vectors. He's a master at the bezier, and a helpful chap.

Bob Ostrom Illustrator

Illustrator and teacher Bob Ostrom

WebsiteTwitterDribbble Bob is an all-around fun guy. His dedication to his craft and education is inspiring. Each week he teams up with cartoonist and entrepreneur, Carlos Castellanos (cartoonist for the Baldo comic strip), in a Google+ hangout chat called Friday Hangouts with Carlos and Bob where they bring valuable business advice for freelancers. I highly recommend listening.