Showing posts with label process. Show all posts
Showing posts with label process. 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, November 11, 2013

Pushing a New Style: Photoshop Process GIF

When it comes to creating art for deadlines, my current weapon of choice is my Wacom Cintiq. But last week, I had a serious urge to grab a (real) pencil and put it to (real) paper beyond a simple sketch.

I decided to do a piece that will hopefully become one in a series of paintings based on classic fairy tales. 

I cracked open my sketchbook, cranked up some Henry Jackman music for some dramatic ambience, and got to sketching!

I got the drawing pretty far along and completed in my sketchbook, then scanned it into photoshop for some minimal refining. My goal was to remind myself that I can draw and that I don't have to rely on the Undo button to create my art. I'm really focusing on trying to create portfolio pieces that incorporate more traditional media.

So, a quick rundown of how I did it (it's very basic):

The cleaned up drawing was set to a multiply layer on the top of the others and the coloring was done using flat blocks of color on subsequent layers. Being that I tried to get all the darks and lights figured out in the pencil drawing itself, only minimal highlights were added to the color. After that, some glows were added on top of all the layers, and that’s it!

I had amazing fun doing this and can’t wait to sink my teeth into more!

Until later!

~christina

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On Being an Illustrator with Kids or, OMG what did I get myself into??? Part 2


In my last post, I discussed how being an illustrator with kids is hectic. Heck, being anyone with kids is hectic. But we illustrators come with our own set of issues such as looming deadlines, no "real" weekend and being alone in our studios with just Facebook to keep us company.

In my previous post I promised some methods for how I try to keep it together and make the most out of my sometimes short working periods. So, here are a few tips and tricks I've employed:

1. Warm up drawings
We all learned in art school that warm-up sketching is important. I learned that too. But somewhere along the line, I totally forgot about how important it really is. Up until very recently, my mindset was, "I don't have much time, I just have to sit down and dig into this deadline." So I would just sit and start working on my assignment. Sometimes though, my lines just felt wonky and the drawing didn't turn out right. Then it would be time to pick up my son from school and I would leave, frustrated and waiting for the next chunk of work time so I could fix what I previously attempted to draw.

But recently, I decided that every single time I sat down to work, I would spend at least 15 minutes warming up. Doodling, sketching and hopefully, getting the "uglies" out up front.  It has actually really been helping. Fifteen minutes of getting my muscle memory going and my hand-eye coordination ready really has saved me time in the long run because I'm not wasting time futzing on bad drawings.  My post warm-up drawings are more relaxed and flow much easier. See?

Before warming up...

A warm up...


After warming up...

2. Neatly organize working files
90% of the time these days, I work digitally using many layers (oh how I miss my oil paint though). A habit which I've really found super helpful is to make sure I clearly label my Photoshop layers AS I CREATE THEM. Also, I make sure I create and label groups of files as I go. It saves a lot of time both as I'm working and when it's time to send the files off to the client.  Clicking through 20 unnamed layers to find that little thing I need to adjust the color of is a total waste of time. Now, with my specifically-named layers, I can go straight to the item I need without much fuss.

Also, when a client comes back and tells me they need a revision, having  labeled layers and groups of layers makes it quicker for me when I have to revisit a file days later to make corrections.

Another thing that correctly labeling your layers does for me is shorten the time it takes to get my files ready for delivery to the client.  In the past, I have spent hours the night before a project is due labeling and grouping layers so it was clear for the client. I finally figured out I could save so much more time if I do the labeling as I go.

3. Tune out
We all know that social media is the like the office water cooler for us illustrators. Because illustration is often a very solitary activity, things like Facebook and Twitter keeps us looped in with fellow illustrating friends. However, when it's time to get down to the nitty gritty, to really hit that deadline, social media can really provide too much of a distraction. It can become a means to procrastination and really get in the way of getting work done. DUH! We all know this, it's nothing new. 

But, did you know there are apps that exist which will keep you off the internet for a predetermined amount of time? I mean they REALLY keep you off the internet? Like in a kind of scary (but good way)? I've used one of these apps before, called Self Control and it's pretty amazing. Obviously, it's not going to keep you off your iPad or phone, but it does it' job for keeping you from trolling around on your computer when you're supposed to be WORKING. There's another one you can try called Freedom that is pretty popular too.

Another way I tune out and keep the distractions away from my workspace is to either shut down my email application or change the settings so new email only comes in every hour or so. Also--turn off the distracting "you've got mail" sound in your email preferences so you're not tempted to check to see if that three-book deal came through.

So, these are a few things I've employed which really help me to streamline work and get it done in those small chunks of time I have. I know it sounds like doing simple things such as layering your files aren't important, but time spent doing these things as you go really shave off wasted time down the road. 

I'd love to hear what your time-saving tips and tricks are! What do you do to make the most of your precious work time?


Friday, August 30, 2013

Creating a Photoshop Brush Using Scanned Textures (Video)

I originally began painting with Photoshop about seven years ago. Back then, I really tried to mimic the look of painting with oils (my true art love), but lately I feel my work has gotten away from that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as I have a newer style I really love, but I do miss creating work that looks and feels more traditional.

I recently discovered an artist named Paolo Domeniconi while scrolling through Pinterest. I was blown away to discover that his work is created in Photoshop! His textures are beautiful and painterly and it’s hard to believe they are painted digitally.

After seeing Paolo’s work, I was inspired to take another stab at making my own texture brushes.  When I first began figuring out how to paint using Photoshop (back in 2006), I found this tutorial by Scott E. Franson. The artwork resulting from his custom brushes is gorgeous. I've kept his blog post bookmarked and his method has always stuck with me. As I went back to experiment with my own texture brushes a few weeks ago, I referred back to his post for help. I’m happy that after lots of experimentation, I finally figured out a great method for painting in Photoshop with results I really love.

At the bottom of this post, I’ve included links to download the gesso texture file and the chalk brush for you to get started creating your own gesso texture brushes! Feel free to download and experiment!



Download:
Gesso Texture

Monday, June 17, 2013

Drawing Movement



 When I first start a drawing, I'm not thinking about how things look or where each element is placed. I think about how everything in the space moves and where they are going so I can tell the story.

A lot of times my initial drawings are unrecognizable squiggles and blobs. I'm trying to capture the motion and energy of the entire illustration.  I want to keep the initial sketch as loose and exaggerated as possible so a lot of the liveliness will carry through to the final painting.

To me, this messy stage is the most important. The temptation to just skip it and dive right into the fun details like the character's face is so tempting to me.  Experience has taught me that most of the time if I skip this stage, I pay for it later. It's too easy to end up with a painting that is just pretty but lifeless and stiff. Trying to get the life and energy back after this point is like wading through mud and just never happens most of the time.

Another reason why I want to keep the very start of the process looking like a mess is so I won't treat it like a precious thing. As long as it's just scribbles, I can make the marks quickly and throw them away if it's not working.
I try to keep on improving drawing motion by sketching from life whenever I can. I do quick gesture drawings of people to capture their movement and personality. A lot of time these gesture drawings are quick marks made in 15 seconds to a minute.

Doing a lot of these quick sketches make my sketchbook look like a mess. I keep on reminding myself that it's ok. As an illustrator, it's not good enough for my images to only be pretty -- they need to be alive.


Here are some resources for practicing gesture drawings: