Sunday, March 31, 2019

Step #2: Coloring main characters.

I'm actually done with my final illustrations. Sent them to the printer last week. All I have left to do is put them in my portfolio and I'm ready for #MMW, Marvelous Midwest SCBWI Conference in Naperville. I'll wait to post my finals after the conference but thought you might enjoy seeing some of my characters in color, so here goes:

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Working, working, working to get ready for MWM 2019.

Since the beginning of February I've had my nose to the grindstone getting images ready for the Marvelous Midwest. I'm taking a risk, working on a series of images that are related and visually linked. It really makes me nervous but I've got a back up plan if that doesn't work out. Here are some of my characters. They are tons of fun to draw. I wanted to show variety, movement and humor. You'll have to check back in at the end of March and see how I've progressed.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Through the eye of the needle.

An agent once told me that the chance of being an author/illustrator is as good as a camel entering heaven through the eye of a needle. I didn't let that slow me down. I'm pretty much invincible! Or at least stubborn. But dividing my time between writing and illustrating has slowed me down.

In the past, I've just followed my muse. If I felt like drawing, I drew. If I felt like writing, I wrote. However, when I was writing, I missed drawing and when I was drawing, I missed writing. So my new plan is to split the week. Drawing three days one week, then writing the other two. (I try to save the weekend for my hubby!) Then the next week I switch writing three days, drawing two.

Like a great number of picture book writers, I participated in Tara Lazar's StoryStorm in January. (I have been a member since it was PiBoIdMo.) It garnered me a huge list of picture book ideas to flesh out during the year. Of course, some of the ideas really stink but others are gems. One of the prompts was to look at pictures that make your heart beat fast and come up with a story that matches it. Right up my visual learners alley! I mined my Pinterest page,  https://www.pinterest.com/mattylou/, where I collect illustrations that I LOVE under many different boards, such as: Illustrated Kiddos, In a Chair, In the Snow, Illustrated Adults, etc.

So my tip of the day for those of you who write and illustrate is to participate in Tara's program next January, or if you're ready, jump over to her website and review the prompts. I assure you, you'll be impressed. Here's the link to the blog: https://taralazar.com/2019/01/31/storystorm-pledge/#comment-234846 .

Thank you Tara for the inspiration!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Enhancing colored pencil drawings with Photoshop.

Deer in the Woods (A) did not have the color contrast I was looking for. So I imported the image into Photoshop, and used a transparent dry media brush to enhance some of the colors, I sharpened the images which helped clarify the cardinal and owl, then darkened the sky for additional contrast.
Deer in the Woods (A)
Deer in the Woods (B)
Penguins in the igloo (A)
In "Penguins in the igloo" (A) the penguins are wrapping a gift, Some of the colored pencil marks were distracting from the center of interest. So, I imported the image into Photoshop enhanced some of the colors with a transparent dry media brush, sharpened edges, and made the box look empty, which in my opinion, adds a better story. the penguins are shocked that the box is empty.        

  In this example you can see my original drawing first. I wasn't happy with the choppy blue background, the penguin too close to the top of the page, and the lights didn't look lit. So I imported the image in Photoshop, used the dry media brush to smooth out the background without totally loosing the artist's marks. I reworked the top penguin to better fit the page and brightened the whole image up by adding glows to the lights and placing a few more decorations on the tree and lighter berries on the wreath.

Stringing the lights (b)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Returning to a favorite media: Colored Pencil.

After the SCBWI-IL Downstate Illustration show in November, I was reminded how much I enjoy working with colored pencils. This December, I've decided to do a series of drawings with a holiday theme using colored pencils. As I finished, I scanned the images and then imported them to Photoshop to digitally edit and enhance. What follows are the ones I have so far.

First Snowglobe

Harder than it looks.

Chalkboard Drawing

My drawing on our home chalkboard (above) was the inspiration for the illustration (below).
Nativity Illustration inspired by chalkboard drawing.
Elves Sledding
Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree
Putting a Star on Top

Under the Tree

Gift from Santa
Heavy Load

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sketches from May/June

Dog chasing his tail.
 Back to work on my portfolio. I spruced up the lines on my sketches and hope to finish adding color in July. It's been a very busy year so far. I'm co-writing a book with a colleague about Illinois Rock Art and it seems to have put a dent in my typical illustration work. SINCE I'm planning to have a show of some of my illustration work in November, I'm eager to add new images. I like to choose an animal and do a series of sketches using it in a number of ways. With a few exceptions I focused on geese/ducks and penguins in May and June. Here are the sketches....Hope you enjoy seeing them.

Boy Fox

Girl Fox

Goose meets snail

Dancing goose

Goose sipping a drink

Goose driving

Goose jumping rope

Goose reading a story

Goose carrying a dog

Skating goose carrying an egg

Duck with ice cream cone

Goosey Gander

Penguin catches a snowflake

Turtle bites penguin's oar

Penguin's snow angel

Penguin learns to skate