Showing posts with label picture book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label picture book. 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.


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.
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.

You can also see Pipsie information on her Facebook page.

Places to buy the book.
Barnes & Noble

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'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!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reworking Old Illustrations

Today, we have a combined post dedicated to the art of reworking older portfolio pieces! Laura and Renee have been hard at work trying to give a little love to some of their favorite personal illustrations and are here to share some of the thought process behind their decisions!



I'm constantly working on improving my skills and revamping my portfolio. It always has to be fresh and show improvement if I want to reach my goals. Mostly that involves creating lots of new art, but sometimes all I really need to do is to apply my current skills to illustrations I've already created.

Here's an illustration I first created in March of this year. I was happy with it at the time, but it always had a bit of a starkness to it.

I needed an illustration for the local Illustrators Day's First Look Panel later this month. I didn't have time to created something from scratch, so I decided to see if I could improve one of my existing pieces. I chose this one which I always liked, but felt was still missing something. I wanted to add more depth and drama to it, so I added snow and more trees to the background. I started with a blizzard, then ran it through some of my toughest critique friends, my SMA blog group of Tracy Bishop, Christina Forshay, and Renee Kurilla, and my friend Gina Perry. Their advice was to have fewer and larger snowflakes, to darken and redden the trees, change the border, and make the white border a softer color. (Almost all of the changes were done in Photoshop. The snow and border were ink paintings that I scanned in and manipulated in Photoshop.)

Here's what I have now. It has the drama I had hoped for and I think it's a much stronger piece. It'll be interesting to see what the panel has to say. Maybe I'll be able to improve it more.

It's so good to have people with a good eye and the ability to speak 'art' in your circle. It can be difficult, sometimes, to see one's own work clearly. It's can be hard to hear that your work's not perfect, but it gets easier with time. If you know that your critiquer wants to help you, it's easier to hear what they're saying. Trust me, it gets easier with time. I am a better artist because of their help.



This particular piece was an experiment from 2008 or so. My original goal was to paint this on canvas, so my first color study was very sloppy with globs of color and sketchy lines. The painting never came into fruition, and the color study sat in my "unfinished art" folder for years. It looked like this:

One day, I decided to revisit the piece and this is where I ended up:

Throughout the years, my style has changed quite a bit. I used to work in a vector style, as I was doing a lot of animation in Flash...but when I transitioned to Photoshop, I found that I love texture and transparency. 

That being said, for some reason, this particular image stuck with me as a piece I did not want to give up for my new portfolio. I recognized it's faults (one being no clear definition of story) and added a few tweaks. It's funny, similar to Laura's, my final piece ended up with snow as well!

I don't know how to explain why some ideas are just worth not letting go, but it's why people revisit old notebooks. A sketch you drew 10 years ago might not have even made clear sense to you then, but now it may spark your best idea ever. You don't need to give up on your older art because it's "out of date"!