Sunday, September 01, 2013

My Month of Portraits Project

Yesterday I finished a month of watercolor portraits project. It was challenging but since I made a public commitment, it was easy to stick to it and I proved to myself how much a person can actually accomplish "one day at a time."

To see the entire project, please visit my Facebook page here.

This is one of my favorites is below, a painting of my friend's granddaughter.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Month of Portraits Day 9

I painted this cutie's sister yesterday. (She's the the little cherub with her hand under her chin.)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Month of Portraits Days 5-8

My continued progress in painting a monthly portrait during august. Here are Days 5-8. I completely forgot to post them here but the watercolor portraits are being posted daily on my public Facebook page.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

A Month of Portraits (August)

During the month of August, I decided I'm going to paint one watercolor portrait per day. I've been posting them on my public Facebook page and just realized I forgot to put them on my blog so here are my first four portraits in August...children so far but I've got a few adults in the mix.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Watercolor Portrait - Hayley Plus

This is a watercolor painting of my daughter. Her friend took the photo at a banquet and it was so cute I just had to paint it. Then time for some fun with Photoshop. I think she and her friends will get a kick out of it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to prepare your line drawings to color in Photoshop?

This seems simple but if you don't know exactly what you're doing and learning as you go (like me) it's easy to mess up. I have been working on my first digital children's book and fortunately the company has been working with new illustrators and has been very understanding.

What I had been doing 

Scanning and then desaturating and adjusting levels, making the blend Multiply, but when I needed to edit my line drawing, I both drew with my tablet and scanned additional lines. Well, what I learned was that this makes a huge mess! Each time you adjust the levels it affects the pixels and the more you do it, the more pixelated your lines can get. So that's my problem?!  Though the "multiply" layer method is the standard, I like this one better because you just get your outlines rather than a white background with it and the author talks about being able to work with transparent pixels which is a future lesson for me but sounds handy.

So now, rather than beating myself up for making so many mistakes, I'm realizing how much I have learned and feel confident that my second book which I am just starting is going to go even more smoothly!

What I have learned

I am so relieved to have found this information that I wanted to give them a shout and share with people like me. This link is to a blog called Chopping Block. It explains everything and then includes a free downloadable Photoshop Action. I first went through the instructions manually so I understood how to do it and then I tried the Action that I downloaded. It is slick! And I anticipate it will make my future line work much better.

I am in their debt.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reposting Sylvia Liu Land: Penguin Art Director Giuseppe Castellano Critiques...

Back in April, I had the opportunity to participate in a mock book cover assignment with a free critique from Penguin Art Director Guiseppe Castellano. Twenty-six of us from Mark Mitchel's  online Children's illustration class How to Be a Children's Book Illustrator participated.

One of my classmates wrote a blogpost about the experience. He didn't hold back although I don't think his delivery was too harsh. I think I am so used to my own self critique that his wasn't so bad. :)

Below is my bookcover, which was my second version. I am soooooo glad I listened to my gut instinct and trashed my first one (which was so bad that I don't even want to share it). And even though Guiseppe said my background was confusing, I didn't agree with him completely which is a major milestone for me. I had actually had a horrible day, but was determined not to be crushed by his critique.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Birthdays, New Beginnings....

I had a birthday this month (which was slightly emotional). It's only a number though, right? I also graduated from college with a BA in Studio Art/Graphic Design. And my daughter graduated high school to put things into perspective. I had always wanted my degree and it seemed like it would take forever to complete it, but I started back 2 1/2 years ago with the intention of getting an Associates in graphic design at the community college and then discovered one more year at the university would get me the BA so I kept going. One major thing I learned about myself as I finished this process was that I really want to be an Illustrator and I already knew everything I needed to know artistically to be an Illustrator or where to learn it without a college degree. But I'm still glad I got the degree. In my graphic design program I learned the extremely valuable skills of design layout and Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Right before graduation, I miraculously had 3 freelance illustration projects lined up. All of them are different. Today I finished the first one where I designed some scrapbook papers which was really fun. And I'm halfway through digitally illustrating a children's book which I'm excited about because it's my fourth and I'm actually getting paid this time! I will hopefully be able to share that at the end of the summer. My last commission is a set of watercolors which I can share as I complete them.

I have applied for about 14 graphic design jobs. I've had 3 interviews and gotten a bunch of "sorry, we chose someone else, letters". But maybe that's OK because I really want to illustrate anyway. I'm trying to take this as Providence telling me I'm heading in the right direction.

It's a little scary, but I may blog about my progress. I was very inspired by Holli Conger's one year diary about becoming an illustrator back in 2006....Last year I designed a postcard for a class figuring I could use it to market myself but I never did anything with them. Last week I sent 2 postcards out and applied to one magazine online. I know it's not very many considering the odds, but it was a HUGE step for me and now that I've sent the first few, it feels less daunting. I just need to do some research and add some companies to my mailing list. If any of you are in the same situation, let me know. Maybe we can encourage each other. :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I'm finished illustrating my 3rd book

I'm so excited to have finished illustrating my third book and I think it's far better than anything I've done before. I did it for my design thesis project at the University of NE at Omaha.

(I am graduating in May with a BA in Studio Art/Visual Technology. You're never too old to go back to school, she says, though it's tough being older than your instructors.)

I'm so proud of what I've accomplished. Not only did I write the story (with help from my sister) and do all the illustrations, but I also designed the whole book and my next step is to print and bind it by hand. Then I will design my display for our big show on April 7th. I'll post pictures of the show and I'm going to learn some interactive software so I can get this baby online to share. Here's the cover.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

New Stuff

I'm in the home stretch of finishing my bachelor's degree and for one of my projects, I'm illustrating and designing a book for a children's story that my sister and I wrote. I'm half way through the illustrations. Here's a peek! K

Drippy Daffodils

6 x 6 in. watercolor on Aquabord Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers and dozens of little clusters have been appearing in my yard s...