Showing posts with label children's illustration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children's illustration. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book Birthday: Pipsie, Nature Detective

Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar by Rick DeDonato and illustrated by me is out in the world now! Pipsie is published by the amazing team at Two Lions Publishing.

I'm really excited since Pipsie is the result of years of hard work by many people behind the scenes. If you see Pipsie in the wild I hope you enjoy it just as much I loved illustrating her.

PipsieCover

Here are some fun behind the scenes stuff for Pipsie.
The character design went through MANY iterations.
Pipsie character1
First character design ideas for Pipsie. I really liked the lab coat but it didn't really convey nature detective.



Pipsie Hair
Exploring Pipsie's hairstyles.
Pipsie Outfit4 1
Accessorizing Pipsie's outfit.
Pipsie2
Getting closer to the final Pipsie look.
TracyBishop PipsieCharacterFinal
The final Pipsie!


This is what my work space looked like while I was finishing up Pipsie.
TracyWorkspace2 2TracyBishopWorkSpace

To find out more about Pipsie, visit her website. There are a lot of activity sheets for you to enjoy.
www.pipsienaturedetective.com.

You can also see Pipsie information on her Facebook page.


Places to buy the book.
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound

Monday, March 16, 2015

What I'm working on…

Lots going on behind the scenes that I can't show, so here are some babies for your entertainment. I just love drawing babies!

Rub a dub, dub. Three men in a tub.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I'm working on...

Here's a little peek into my process for some small commissions I recently finished! 
First, I gathered information on my subjects (I asked about favorite colors and animals). I took this information and started with really loose sketches in my sketchbook:
I tried to mimic those sketches as best I could on watercolor paper using very light pencil. I went over that with ink line and when that dried, I erased the pencil and began painting and coloring. 


The results look a little bit like this! The colors ended up looking great together:



These pieces for Kickstarter backers were all inspired by Peter H. Reynold's International Dot Day. In fact, the alligator piece on the bottom left is for him! It's his son, Henry Rocket reading a book about rockets, of course! 


Cheers!
~Renee

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Experimenting with Gouache, a not quite tutorial

I've recently started using gouache. I'm still calling it experimental even though I've used it for client work. No matter what I do, I always end up using a variety of media. It's usually some combination of paint, acrylic inks, Caran d'ache Supracolor pencils, and Photoshop or Manga Studio, with a side of collage of some sort. In other words, I use whatever works to get the job done.

In this first photo I first printed out a colorized sketch onto my Fabriano hot press watercolor paper (reddish sketch). Then I painted in the shadows with a mix of blue gouache and purple acrylic ink.

Underpainting of acrylic ink mixed with gouache.

Here I've laid in the basic colors in gouache on the figures. There's not much detail, yet.

Basic colors laid in.

Now I'm starting to define details and add more modeling to the figures with color pencil. I use Caran d'ache Supracolor pencils.

Adding details with color pencil.

I decided the yellow background wasn't working so I took this old watercolor and salt painting into Photoshop to colorize and lighten it.

Watercolor with salt painting.

Colorizing the background.


I added a vignette border to the background for the final piece. At Renee's suggestion, I also painted some glare on the ice in Photoshop.
The final piece.


I hope you find this helpful. I'm still learning to use the gouache, but I'm loving it so far.

This piece came from my sketching while watching the Olympics. If you're following me on Instagram, you'll recognize them.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Simply Messing About with Mediums

Over here in my head, there is always a debate over traditional vs. digital. Which is more appealing? Which is more fun to make? Which can get me more work? I switch back and forth all the time because my tastes change. My skills, however, differ in both methods. Sometimes I need them to influence each other.

Recently, I was approached to do a color sample in my sketch style and it turned my world around. It makes me ecstatic that this style may eventually be ready for publishing, but I still have a little ways to go. I wanted to show you a little bit of what my process looks like as I try to figure this out.

This sketch is what started me thinking about all of this again.

I've been drawing like crazy in sketchbooks for a little over a year now, and most often my drawings turn out looking like the one above. Recently, I started incorporating Prismacolor colored pencil and Copic marker into my usual pencil and ink brush doodles. My eyes needed to see more color and finish in the sketches I had grown to love making.

But that Alligator and Armadillo tea party got me excited, so I took it to Photoshop to color it as fast as possible. Why? Because my skills in Photoshop currently surmount my Paper skills...it's a crutch.

I liked this color, but it didn't have the same energy, so I left it as is...

In this particular case I was happy with the colors I chose, but it still wasn't working for me. I went back to the drawing board...quite literally.

That's better, but still not quite right.

But, I was missing the vibrancy and saturation. I know that it's possible to attain this with watercolor, but I haven't figured out how to get there yet. Then, I remembered the gouache set I got for Christmas and started to play again with yet, another new medium.

I started with a gouache warm up.

And this is where I landed.

My goal for what I post on the Simply Messing About blog was always to document my journey back into traditional painting...that's it. But with this particular project, I hit on an important fact, that it's ok to jump back and forth always letting digital influence traditional and vice versa. And sometimes, they work really well – together.

I added a background color to this gouache painting...digitally.

Until next time!
~Renee



Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Prickly Postcard Process

A lot of time is spent looking at what we call "final art," but so much work goes into a piece before we can call it that! The following is the process I went through to with my fall postcard mailer, starting from sketch...to final!

First, I had to decide on which image to use. I had my soggy, prickly, porcupine character, but should I show him arriving at the fox hole, or walking past a squirrel family collecting acorns for winter? 

Option 1

Option 2

I almost immediately decided on the following image for the black and white postcard back.


After choosing my story (Option 1), it was all about working out the composition:

1. Adding color to my original sketch.

2. Playing with cropping and zooming.

3. Figuring out my light source and finishing the quill detail.

4. And finally adding an indoor shadow for drama! 

These are my final postcards, printed fabulously by Moo.com. I highly recommend them, but do pay attention for sales because they can run a bit more pricey. I decided to pay a little bit more for quality after my last postcard batch from Overnightprints.com got ruined in a rainstorm. It's really embarrassing to think that all my artwork arrived smudged with torn edges to an Editor or Art Director's desk. Never again!



Cheers and happy self promoting!
~Renee



*For those of you using Overnight Prints, here's a handy Coupon Link:  http://verified.codes/Overnight-Prints

Friday, October 18, 2013

Picture Book Crush: Jane, the Fox & Me

Jane, the Fox & Me / written by Fanny Britt; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault 

They say not to judge a book by it's cover, but there was just something about this one that warranted me picking it up. As soon as I flipped it open, my heart pounded: Isabelle Arsenault's illustrations are so thoughtful, sweet, and lively that they made my eyes pop open. 

And then, when I sat down to read the story, I discovered that, in marriage with the text they are even better. 

Without spoiling too much, the story is about a young girl, who you very quickly learn has had a recent falling out with some friends. She's sort of lost in her own world and seeks solace in stories. One of the stories she is obsessed with is Jane Austen.

I remember being a kid and feeling the sting of awkward social situations. . .friends who one day just–weren't. I have to imagine that lots of kids go through emotional stress and really struggle to figure out what will make them feel whole. Many of them choose to get lost in books. I remember that, in those moments, the story you're reading becomes your own just for a little while. 

That's why the moments when Hélène lets go of her internal stress voice are my favorite in this book. 

Hélène's mom stays up all night making her a dress...
(Insert Page Flip Here) ...and she's lost in it.

As an adult, I don't have that feeling as often as I used to. Time is short and all the worries of bills, work, maintaining relationships, remembering birthdays, etc. . . . they catch up with you. In this particular case, though, it's easy to get lost in Isabelle's artwork. Here are some close up shots of her scratchy textures and trees:




Full of life, confident. . . vibrant.


I won't describe who the fox is, because I believe he will be something different to everyone who reads this book. It's quite genius.

You'll find me carrying this book around under my arm for the next few weeks as I refuse to put it down. :)



I'd love to hear what your book crushes are, I know you've got one! Leave a comment below!

Cheers!
~Renee



Friday, October 4, 2013

San Francisco Illustrator's Day 2013

Tracy's Report

Cool venue for the day, just steps from the bay.
Last weekend Laura ZarrinJoy Steuerwald, and I made our annual trek to San Francisco to attend SCBWI SF South’s Illustrators’ Day. This year’s main speaker was the fabulous Melissa Sweet.

Melissa Sweet was the first person we saw as we all signed in for the day. I’m afraid to say that all of us lost all sense of dignity and squealed as we introduced ourselves to her. (Joy Stewy even exclaimed, “You’re so TINY!”)




Our view during breaks.

All of the presentations focused on the theme of how creating a picture book is the result of teamwork between everyone involved. It’s so easy to forget this simple fact when we’re all so focused on our slice of the work (in my case, illustration). I loved the format of having Melissa Sweet presenting with the art director and editor of two of her books. You can see how an exceptional picture book was created because everyone trusted each other’s expertise.

Another part of Illustrators’ Day that is always fantastic is to connect with other local illustrators that I don’t get to see regularly. I loved seeing old friends (Hi! Brian Bowes and Shirley Ng-Benitez!) and making new ones (Nidhi Chanani, Susan Rankin-Pollard, Alina Chau, and Alison Farrell).


As much as I love the conference itself, my favorite part of the day is always the drive home with Joy and Laura. Every single year we’ve always hit awful traffic while trying to get out of San Francisco to head south but we don’t mind. We all talk about what went on during the day and share what we learned and what we need to do next. I always come away so inspired to take on new challenges.



Laura's Report


Kristine Brogno, Design Director at Chronicle




Melissa Manlove, editor at Chronicle talking about the making of Little Red Writing by Joan Holub & Melissa Sweet.

Melissa Sweet reading a note from Melissa regarding a spread in Little Red.

My favorite part was meeting Melissa Sweet. She's always been a favorite of mine. I seem to have a section of my personal library dedicated to her books. (Shhh…don't tell my husband!) She spoke about her Sweet Squares project which she started as a way to observe nature. There were a lot of ooo's and aaaah's when she showed her gardens and studio. John Clapp, Associate professor at San Jose State, spoke about our work needing 'obsessiveness' like Melissa's has.

Isabel Warren-Lynch spoke about emotional connections in illustrations. Tracy and I were both lucky enough to have a portfolio review with her. She gave us both lots of ideas for improving our work.

I especially enjoyed getting to talk children's books with Kristine Brogno and Melissa Manlove. Their passion and dedication is contagious. I also enjoyed Melissa Greenberg's presentation with Isabel and Melissa Sweet. It was a day of Melissa's. I learned so much and left inspired.