Black and White Art!

I’m working on my B&W art style…

First, I have to say how sorry I am that I have neglected this¬†blog for way too long.¬† I am going to change up the format a little so that it is a easier for me to make regular posts.¬† I will be posting my work in progress, my “Illustration Friday” entries, and news and updates as far as my work and publication efforts go.

This week’s IF image is for the subject “Brigade”. Click on image to view it at a larger size.

I may add interesting things that I have learned in this industry and helpful tips for other illustrators from time to time, but I will be turning my efforts over to my drawing table.¬† I will also be posting sketches that are in progress, letting you in on current projects, and upcoming new projects. I hope you will keep coming back, and please feel free to comment!! ūüėČ Happy Holidays!

Lorraine Dey – author/illustrator

www.deystudio.com

Inside the illustrator’s Studio

Inside the Artist/Illustrator’s Studio

I always find it interesting as an illustrator to see the various work spaces of fellow artists.  We are very similar in that most of our work is done in solitude, we enjoy the work we do, and we are inspired by each other.

However our¬†differences show in our work spaces and how we actually do the work… the tools we use, the reference, and the decor… of course the decor! ūüėČ Just kidding… most of us work amoung stacks of art boards, supplies, paper and books.¬† I know for myself, I work much better if my space is organized somewhat and if things are getting out of hand, I have to take time to get it straightened out before I can really dive into that next project I need to illustrate.

I decided to take you on a mini-tour of a few artist’s studio spaces.¬† I will share some of my own studio images as well as several other artist’s.¬† We will start with mine…

Lorraine Dey’s Studio

Since I do the majority of my finished work on the computer as digital paintings in Adobe Photoshop or vector art in Adobe Illustrator, my studio is predominantly based around my computer set up.  I also have a small art table for my initial sketching and pencil roughs, (although I usually sketch while sitting in my recliner or in a beach chair if possible!)

Fine artists like Todd White paint at their easels while digital artists sit at a computer for hours.

Above photo¬†is Susan Sorell Hill’s studio

Above photo is Mike Weber’s Studio

The studio space is one that truly reflects the style and personality of the artist. They range¬†from the¬†eclectic and fun, to the sophisticated and organized. Check out some of the photo links below for more artist’s studios…

Thanks for visiting.¬† I hope you enjoyed the tours. ūüėČ

Lorraine Dey

illustrator – Deystudio, LLC (www.deystudio.com)
(click on the “about” tab above to see more about Deystudio, LLC)
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This month’s featured blog… “Building a Studio Space”

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Featured image for this month…(from my RF stock portfolio)

Illustration – Portfolio Basics

Illustration –¬†Portfolio Basics

One of the most important “must-have’s” for an illustrator is a professional-looking portfolio. Wether you are a student with no experience or a seasoned professional, your portfolio needs to show your best foot forward. It is the first impression given of you and your work, talent and style,¬†and you only get one chance to make that first impression!

I’ve compiled a few links to articles discussing the basics of setting up your best portfolio impression, and I will add some of my own tid-bits based on my experience over the years in past positions as an Art Director, designer¬†and freelance illustrator.

Here is some valuable reading on art portfolios from Computerarts.

Portfolio “How-To’s”.

Portfolio tips from children’s book editor Cheryl Klein.

Preparing a Student College Portfolio.

You will definitely want to be specific in directing your portfolio to the specific area you would like to focus on.

As a children’s book illustrator and a graphic designer/technical illustrator, I have several different portfolios.¬† If I am showing my work to an art rep who promotes to children’s publishing, I will obviously show the specific portfolio for my children’s illustration.¬† Trust me, they do not want to see highly technical renderings of machine parts, or the latest and greatest ad you just completed for that fortune 500 company.¬† I have seen artists lump everything together into one portfolio and show that one portfolio to everyone.¬† All it does is dilute your work and the viewer will have a difficult time sorting out and remembering exactly what it is you do that can be of use to them.

Start out with a great looking case, even if it doesn’t cost a bundle of money make sure it is in good, clean condition.

With a “screwpost” portfolio you can control the amount of page inserts in the book.¬† For illustrators, try to keep it at 10 to 12 of your absolute best work.

Try to get a professional’s, (or 2) opinion on what your “best” work is.¬† Sometimes we have a hard time choosing for ourselves.¬† I was lucky enough to sit down for a portfolio review with award winning children’s illustrator E.B. Lewis.

His feedback and pointers were very helpful and the images that he was choosing as my strong pieces were¬†different than¬†the one’s I had thought were.¬† He also suggested that I follow a “post and Rail” theme to the book, meaning that you intermingle strong “Post” pieces with the weaker “Rail” pieces.¬† That’s not to say that the “rail” pieces shouldn’t be just as high quality.

I hope this information has helped you in setting up your illustration portfolio.  Feel free to add a comment.  Thanks for visiting!

Lorraine Dey

illustrator – Deystudio, LLC (www.deystudio.com)
(click on the “about” tab above to see more about Deystudio, LLC)
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FREE Vector of the month from Deystudio, LLC:

click on image above to get a PDF file.

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This month’s featured site…”Brewer-Cantelmo Presentation Cases”

Quality Presentation Cases for illustrators and Photographers.

 
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Featured image for this month…(from my RF stock portfolio)

Vector vs Raster digital Art

Vector vs Raster digital Art

This month I thought I’d talk a little about the differences of digital vector art and digital raster art and why I choose one style over the other when illustrating a project.¬† Most of my children’s book art is done in Adobe Photoshop as raster digital files.¬† I choose this style for a more painted look to the finished art.¬† Using a Wacom tablet and stylus pen, I literally paint the image in a style of brush strokes similar to my traditional painting style in hopes of not looking too digitally produced.¬†

Pages 6 and 7¬†from¬†a picture book,¬†“The Rain Forest Party” written and illustrated by Lorraine Dey and available in the Fall of 2011 from Raven Tree Press.

I almost always create a pencil sketch first.  Then I scan the sketch to a digital JPG file on the computer and use the sketch as a basis for painting in the color and details in layers over the sketch.  Most of the work I create for istockphoto as royalty-free licensed art is done as a vector digital file.  I create a large amount of work in vector style with Adobe Illustrator CS for freelance clients as well.  Here is a vector chef that was commissioned by T.Marzetti Company for use on their website as well as large display signs.  A vector file is scalable to any size without losing clarity therefore it was a perfect choice for this project.  The style was requested by the client.

Both styles will begin as a sketch that is scanned into the computer before beginning final work on the illustration.  Vector art is perfect for technical and educational work such as instructional illustrations and charts.  The clean, sharp edges and ability to scale to any size make it ideal for everything from web icons to full size bill boards or vehicle graphics.

Here is a tutorial on using the Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator… The basics of vector illustration.

Here is a quick and simple vector tutorial video…Light Ribs.

Here is a high-speed video of a raster digital painting being produced… Spider Man.

For more instruction on creating digital illustration images in various programs try a visit to Lynda.com   Enjoy!

Lorraine Dey

illustrator – Deystudio, LLC (www.deystudio.com)
(click on the “about” tab above to see more about Deystudio, LLC)
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FREE Vector of the month from Deystudio, LLC:

click on image above to get a PDF file.

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This month’s featured site…”The Association of Illustrators”

A resource for illustrators.

 
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Featured image for this month…(from my RF stock portfolio)

“Creating More Natural Digital Colors”

“Creating More Natural Digital Colors”

For many, the switch to digital illustration is one that takes some getting used to.  One of the issues that often comes up is how to get the same natural colors which traditionally came from mixing paint colors.   Here are some tips on setting up your palate for a digital painting.  Also, check out this article on the differences between RGB screen color vs CMYK process print color.

 

I find that you really need to look closer at actual colors in small blocks.  If you are painting a shadow on the snow for example, take a close look at that shadow in real life first.  Remember your traditional training and get out there and do some live paint sketches. Forget for a moment what the subject is that you are looking at and look only at a small area of the object, (such as a shadow in the snow) as if you were going to match a paint swatch.  You may be surprised to find out that you will have to add an awful lot of blue in there that you never thought was there.  Our minds want to believe that a color should be what we think it is.

 

Here is a closer look at choosing colors. 

If you work from photos, you can try this experiment…¬† Grab a JPG file of any photo that you like.¬† In Photoshop, use your eye-dropper¬†tool to select from a small area on an object¬†in the photo.¬† You may have to select a few times since you may be selecting from a tiny pixel that is actually darker or lighter than the pixel next to it in the same color area.¬† Select¬†with the eye dropper¬†until the color block in your tool palate¬†shows a swatch that pretty much matches the overall look of the object.¬† Now you have a starting point for painting in your base color for that object.¬† Add this color to your set up palate that you are building.¬† Select from various objects and areas of the image, filling the color blocks in your pallet until you feel you have enough colors, (digital paint)¬†to work with.

Check out some great tips and watch illustrator Jason Seiler paint digitally in his Schoolism Class.

Below you can see the differences in color appearance between RGB and CMYK digital color especially in the greens and reds.  RGB version is on the left and the CMYK version on the right.

(Deystudio images from Getty Images and istockphoto.com)

It’s usually a good idea to set up your color palate before beginning work on a painting, (the same as in traditional painting).¬† I create a separate pallet file and fill square blocks of color with the basic color theme I will be using.¬† There are color swatch sample themes on websites such as Kuler¬† But I like to create my own.¬† Sometimes I will pick colors from a photo image that I particularly¬†like the feel or mood of.¬† I will use the eye dropper¬†tool to select from various areas of the image, creating my color palate based on the color theme of the photo.¬† Photoshop allows for you to make adjustments to your color but it will work out best if you start your painting¬†using the colors that are as close to what you are looking for.¬† You will want to keep in mind the end use for the image.¬† If it will be reproduced for printing purposes such as a children’s picture book, you will want to work in CMYK mode.¬† If you work in RGB mode on an image that will be in print, you will wind up with a completely different look to the color when you convert it later from RGB to CMYK.¬† Avoid the surprises and start out in CMYK.¬† Happy painting!

Lorraine Dey

illustrator – Deystudio, LLC (www.deystudio.com)
(click on the “about” tab above to see more about Deystudio, LLC)
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FREE Vector of the month from Deystudio, LLC:

click on image above to get a PDF file.

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This month’s featured site…”EFII”

A central hub for illustration resources.

 
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Featured image for this month…(from my RF stock portfolio)

“Transitioning from Traditional to Digital Illustration.”

“Transitioning from Traditional to Digital Illustration”

One of the first things I can tell you if you are planning on going digital with your illustration abilities is to make sure your computer can handle the amount of space needed for large graphic files. They become huge very quickly, especially if you are painting raster images, (explained later in this article).
I also recommend getting a tablet and pen such as the Wacom tablet.¬† (http://www.wacom.com) Though that is not necessary to create your art digitally, it does make the transition a bit easier especially if you are a painter.¬† It also helps to have a good scanner.¬† One that can get you scans of at least 300 dpi resolution.¬† There is a good link for setting up a Wacom tablet here… http://www.gomediazine.com/design-tip/set-wacom-awesome-results/

Wacom Tablet & Pen
 

 Wacom Tablet & Pen

¬†There are several ways to produce digital illustration. 3d modeling programs are usually the first to come to mind however if you have been painting and drawing traditionally and have no time to learn a 3d program, you may want to try painting directly in Adobe Photoshop, (http://www.adobe.com) or creating vector illustrations directly in a drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator. I mention these programs because these are the ones I use. There are many different programs to choose from and the preference is up to you, although the Adobe CS programs are the most popular in the industry.¬† The two prominent styles to work digitally in are…

Vector illustration: (Adobe Illustrator or similar drawing program)

Raster illustration:(Adobe Photoshop or similar photo/painting program)

What is the difference between vector and raster digital Illustration?

Below you will see examples of the two different styles… I begin with a pencil sketch that is scanned into the computer as a B&W jpg file, then I place it¬†on the page in¬†the program file that I am working on and begin to work over the top of the sketch adding color and layers as I go.

Scalable Vector graphics, (SVG) are created in drawing programs such as Adobe Illustrator and have a clean smooth line or curve. They are made up of solid or gradient color fills and can be scaled to any size and retain the quality of the image for reproduction purposes. It is a much smaller file size than a raster image and can easily be sent via email. These bitmap graphics are usually files with extensions such as .EPS, .AI, BMP, .PDF

Digital vector art sample

Rasterized, pixelated images are usually created in a photo-editing program such as Adobe Photoshop and can also include manipulated photographs. The digital illustration done in a raster style is made up of very tiny squares called pixels. My raster images are usually more painterly with a broader range of effects and brushes available in the Photoshop pallet, (a favorite brush of mine is #63).  This file tends to be larger than the vector art file. These are usually files with extensions such as .PSD, .TIFF, .JPG

Raster_sample

As you can see, I have started out with a scanned image of my original pencil sketch in the images shown above.  In the next sample I will show you a raster illustration that was done completely in Adobe Photoshop from start to finish without the sketch as a starting point.  I start out with basic solid shapes and then add color with the use of Photoshop brushes.  The final image shows a detailed area of the bacon strip illustration.

Digital Raster Bacon Illustration

Digital Raster Bacon Illustration

Once the illustration is complete you can save the file with a CMYK color mode for reproduction purposes.

I find that painting this way using the pen and tablet is a very satisfying transition from traditional to digital painting.  You may be frustrated with the tablet in the
beginning because you have to get used to the fact that you are staring straight ahead at your screen while you are painting with the pen in hand off to the side.¬† Don’t give up.¬†
You DO get used to it.¬† And after a while it becomes comfortable enough that you don’t even think about it.¬†
Well, I hope this sheds some light on the subject of digital painting for those of you who may be thinking of giving it a shot. 
Have fun!
 
Lorraine Dey
illustrator – Deystudio, LLC (www.deystudio.com)
(click on the “about” tab above to see more about Deystudio, LLC)

AN ADDED NOTE, (from my software engineer brother Rob):

“A BMP file is not a vector image (it’s an abbreviation for bitmap). To help clarify, a vector file is simply a text file that states where and how to draw each line (from x,y to x,y coordinates). These are easily scaled to a new size, by using a multiplier on ALL the coordinates. A raster file contains a binary value to define the color for each pixel (or bit) in the image (or map). These¬†files don’t scale at all properly, but one technique is to use the same pixel 4 times to double the image size (for upscaling, pixels are copied, so the perceived resolution doesn’t really change, it appears to us as larger pixels, even though there are more pixels). Downscaling just removes pixels, which usually makes the image look worse.¬†I don’t think a PDF file is¬†vector or raster. The PDF format is proprietary, and¬†is intended to print the same on any printer, which is not normally possible with raster and vector files”.


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FREE Vector of the month from Deystudio, LLC:

September 2009 - FREE vector from Deystudio, LLC

click on image above to get a PDF file.

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This month’s featured website or blog…”illustration for kids” ūüôā

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Featured image for this month…(from my RF stock portfolio)

Penguin and Snowman Teamwork.
Penguin and Snowman Teamwork.