Posts Tagged ‘digital’

After finishing two very intense weeks of serious work proofreading and copyediting, I got back to a couple of self-imposed tasks to illustrate two articles.

One was intended to honour some of the celebrities that died in 2016 (delayed from New Year – when it was at least relevant! – because my dad died suddenly). The other draws attention to the amazing number of crowdsourced activities currently happening. These seem to range from medical operations to new products to books to activities. Getting the money doesn’t seem to be a problem (the aspect I show here), but getting the market reach afterwards might be 🙂

My favourite of the two, though, is the celeb one – I wanted to show them (I hope you can recognise them!) refusing the die off, and the reaper’s angry look as their legend lives on. I hope you like them. Both started on paper and were coloured and finished off digitally.

crowdfunding-final

 

celebs-who-refuse-to-die-aoi

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Lots of illustrators’ sites have a few pieces labelled ‘personal project’ and I suppose everything I have ever done has been that. I mean, we all choose what to write, what to draw, what to paint – until someone commissions us to do it for a price, that is!

Well, while waiting for that lucky break, I decided to do a set of images in the same style. Just because. I suppose I had in mind that I wanted to pitch an article to a particular magazine. I still intend doing so, and they won’t want my images because they’re not in their house style. But it did set me off thinking how I might illustrate such an article if the style choice were mine. And this is the result.

active-kids

I drew in HB on cartridge paper in my sketch book, scanned in the images, locked the unused pixels and painted the lines whichever colour I wanted, and then added some colouring and some photo-image backgrounds blended in. Do they look like a set? I gave them all a light source and something coming out of the frame, plus the frame in a frame as if watching. And the hand-drawn look, of course.

I chose air, water and fire as my topics: taking one’s children out to a dark place to inspect the stars; investigating how quickly a hot drink cools (I decided against adding a graph into the image but you would record the results over time); and cooking dampers on a campfire in the garden (not on a modern barbecue!) for which they had gathered the twigs and wood to do so. These are not things many urban kids do these days.

Despite being super busy on journal work, I have actually done some personal tasks on pushing my writing out there and assembling various pots of illustration work that someone or other might see one day. There’s always hope. But no hope at all if I don’t tell anyone I’m illustrating! It’s always been like that with the writing. If I don’t send it out, how will an editor or agent know I’ve written the bestest young adult novel in the world??

So, what have I done? It amounts to this:

  • Put myself on the Association of Illustrators site with a portfolio
  • Remove my writing site from one provider to another to save some money and bring it up to date
  • Produce some more work in Adobe Illustrator (Ai)
  • Print a picture book text on one side of a postcard (well, they’re always short!) and put a sample picture spread on the back, ready to mail to a few children’s publishers
  • Print out on A4 a sample sheet of my artwork (either children’s or editorial) ready to send to art directors today.

For a week when I was also fighting a losing battle against rampant loosestrife in the garden (garden? a.k.a wilderness), that was a pretty impressive list of achievements, usually known as getting off one’s backside 🙂

Here are some Ai flowers for you. They may not see the light of day anywhere else, but they’re fun to do. Composition could be improved, of course; I just like the effect of cutting down on glue! Have a look before they drop off the page…

new flowers

I wrote a short chapter book which would divide into six chapters. It seemed reasonable for the target age group to have a six-year-old girl going to a new school, having just moved into a new home. It would need colour illustrations on every page, I think, to encourage the new reader to read, even if being read to. The (dreaded, compulsory!) synopsis starts like this:

Jess hates her new house because it is draughty, noisy and ghostly. She also hates her new school because she has, as yet, no friends. Grandad has stopped travelling and moved into the attic. He remarks that his beautiful stones are magical and not to be touched. Jess creeps up at night to borrow one to help her solve her problems at school. But his caged mouse challenges her and demands cheese for his silence, after which he lets her take it, with warnings about telling on her if she loses it.

Obviously, things must go wrong with the stone and at the end she must have won a friend – by normal means using her skills – and be reconciled to the new house. Otherwise, where is the story?

It starts likes this:

Jess hated her new house. The bedroom door moaned and groaned all night. She tried propping it open. She tried pressing it shut. She tried pushing her slippers against it.

But: Creak! Squeak! 

Moan… groan…  

Cold air brushed against her face. 

A scuffle on the floor: mouse or ghost?

Jess shivered and pulled the covers over her head.

It was nearly morning before she fell asleep. She dreamt that tree roots were curling round her feet. When she woke, the quilt was twisted round her legs and the wind was whistling round her toes. 

She pulled her uniform on and ran down to the kitchen, where Mum was frying bacon. 

“I hate this house,” she said. “And I hate my new school.”

Anyway, I decided to sketch the bit near the end before the final thing happens, where we read:

Later, Jess lay in the dark listening to the door creaking and groaning, despite the pile of books she’d dumped in front of it. The wind blew cold about her ears.

Then I painted it digitally.

jess and books

It’s not intended to be neat and tidy. And I want to add a scene in the same style with Grandad in his attic room showing the melée of things from his travels, including the cage and its mouse (that is, or perhaps is not, also magical). I can see it in my mind’s eye, preferably with the sun streaming in, not darkness like here! But it will be hard to do, whether neat and tidy or scribbly!

This is not a story I would want to illustrate myself, though. More of an accompaniment to submitting a manuscript. But it was fun to try.

Yes, I know I should be editing. Or writing. Or cleaning. Or exercising. But I have done all those things today and wanted to invent something nice.

I found a print of a tree I shot many years ago. It was a photo, developed in my dark room cellar and later photocopied on an ancient mono machine.This gave it the texture you see here and I brought it into Photoshop and added the green background one day recently when I was playing around.

After that, it sat on my hard drive till this week, when I added some pelicans. I grabbed the image from a seascape photo by Yair Hazout at www.unsplash.com (where you can get and use hi-res photos free of charge). I cut out his pelican and made three of them, layering each of them once or twice with different blend modes.

Then I brought in a guy I found in the support materials of Manga Studio 5 – now called Clip Studio Paint – and layered him in too. The moon I pulled in from a children’s illustration I did a few weeks ago (you can find it in my portfolio here) because I hate to waste a good bit of art! And then I used a KyleTWebster splatter brush to fling a bit of paint around!

But I’m a writer, you say? OK, so I invented a haiku to go with it while doing the aforesaid exercise (a drippy walk in the rain). It’s a pretty naff poem but I hope you like the image!

screenshot pelicans

sharp eyes

 

 

 

Don’t worry, I’m still doing children’s art and writing. It’s just that I recently shot my lovely spelter statue of Waverley and, since someone in days of yore painted it black to look more posh (spelter was apparently for poor people!), it made a nice silhouette, complete with dust. Who needs to add noise to a photo when they don’t dust their ornaments??

So I collaged and grunged it a bit and this is the result. Hope you like it. The first version didn’t have a window, but I think it now has more depth and perhaps a story.

This collage/layering business – art-ing up your photos – is very enticing, although, as a former keen photographer, I do know it doesn’t mean you stop trying to take decent photos. Just that you have another purpose in mind when shooting. Like silhouetting my beloved Waverley and his dusty coat to revamp him in a mysterious place!

waverley grunge v4

Grunging up a bit

Posted: June 17, 2016 in art style, learning, process
Tags: , ,

Have been experimenting with the artwork and textures I have amassed.

It’s no different really to drawing my children’s images by hand and finishing those off in Photoshop. Digital on its own is fine. But I really really like using both natural media or my own photos and then digital media on top.

This image is the first one I tried (and it’s very very bad indeed!), although I’ve done another couple now. The joins and changes were too obvious. I shot some of the street furniture around the village and used my own wild flower images on a watercolour group of trees too. Not sure what it means but it was fun. I will practise further, with the help of the PhotoArtistry website.

first grunge collage